the production of
FOOD AND FADWA
at the New York Theatre Workshop
Revolution Books’ reading lists for the New York Theatre Workshop plays will include books and DVD’s which illuminate the history and themes in the plays. We looked for companion novels, films and non-fiction works which reveal something about the deep-structure contradictions beneath the play’s plot/setting. The recommendations reflect RB’s purpose as a place to find the books and engagement about why the world is the way it is and how it could be radically changed. We were assisted greatly in compiling this particular reading list by Nima Shirazi and Aronno Haque.
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe (2006)
The controversial Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by the scholar Ilan Pappe is a book worth reading. He reveals how David Ben-Gurion led the Israeli military to drive out thousands of Arab inhabitants from their land and how the world watched as Israeli occupation continued. The crimes of 1948 were not collateral damage of war but the very purpose of the war itself, says Pappe.
The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood by Rashid Khalidi (2006)
Critically acclaimed, this book by the notable Middle Eastern scholar and historian, Rashid Khalidi (Columbia University), synthesizes the latest scholarship, probing deep into the political history of Palestine, back to the days of British Mandate (1920–1948), the establishment of the state of Israel and the Palestinian struggle for independence ever since.
Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa (2010)
Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the Israeli army in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the father languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son falls victim to an Israeli bullet. The story follows Amal, a granddaughter who loses almost everyone she loves in the Lebanon War 1982 and must raise her daughter in the U.S. The author was born to refugees of the 1967 war.
Arabs and Israel For Beginners by Ron and Susan David.
“A simpler book compared to other histories but smart, less ‘academic’ but funny, it offers an overall approach for people trying to ascertain an educated position on the conflict. The authors don't let anybody off the hook, but do express some judgments.” (Jake Kader)
Palestine by Joe Sacco, introduction by Edward Said
“Based on his research, interviews, and personal experiences in Palestinian Occupied Territories in 1991 and 92, “Palestine” takes you there and gives you a first-hand account of the atrocities and suffering in the conflict with Israel. He gives you a close up visual rendering of the physical and emotional conditions of the people… rendering the terrible conditions of life into a compelling artistic documentary. … detailed and realistic, very approachable and interesting.” (American in Auckland)
Revolution newspaper regularly features stories on Occupied Palestine and Israel. Two of many issues:
Special Issue 203on “The Case of Israel: Bastian of Enlightenment or Enforcer of Imperialism” “The state of Israel is projected to the world as an outpost of democracy and tolerance in a sea of hostile, intolerant Islam bent on its destruction… What is the essential nature of Israel? How does one understand what seems to some to be a paradox of a country founded to make up for a great crime itself committing great crimes? And what defines the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel…” Issue 246 “The UN Vote… The Occupation of Palestine… and the Struggle for Liberation” Free e-subscription to Revolution available at revcom.us
Behind the Wall: Life, Love, and Struggle In Palestine by Rich Wiles (2010)
In this collection of oral histories, stories and photos, Wiles allows the Palestinians to tell their own history: survivors of al-Nakba (the “catastrophe” of the war of 1948 when many were forced into exile), former children and women prisoners many of whom have suffered torture, parents raising children in a land occupied by Israeli soldiers, farmers seeing their long-cared-for olive trees bulldozed, exiles struggling for the right of return to their original villages.
Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine (2007)
Revolution newspaper asked Kovel: “What do you say to people who say that because of their own history of persecution, Jews need a state to which they can go and live in safety?” Kovel: “Well, I think it’s a terrible idea… You just have to look at the history of Israel and the sixty years of blood and fire it has brought about. It’s the only part of the earth where Jews are actually in danger now--a direct result of the necessity of conquest and ethnic cleansing and the reaction on the part of those conquered…” Kovel’s book created a censorship struggle when the University of Michigan Press temporarily banned its distribution
Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadeh (2008)
On his walks through the Palestinian countryside, the author is harassed by Israeli border patrols…and on one occasion comes under prolonged gunfire. “A work of passionate polemic, journeying, history, and autobiography, this highly original consideration of the Palestinian-Israeli issue is structured around a series of vigorous, attentive hikes through the occupied territories. Shehadeh, a lawyer and human-rights activist who lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah, gives the reader, accustomed to the point-counterpoint of daily journalism, a personal sense of one man’s attachment to his land and of a people’s feelings of loss and uncertainty as more settlements are constructed…” -- The New Yorker
Poets for Palestine edited by Remi Kanazi (2008)
A collection of poetry, spoken word, hip-hop, and art devoted to Palestine, including work by the late Mahmoud Darwish, Naomi Shihab Nye, Suheir Hammad, Nathalie Handal, Patricia Smith, E. Ethelbert Miller, Melissa Tuckey, Ghassan Zaqtan, Remi Kanazi, Dima Hilal, Sholeh Wolpe, Ibtisam Barakat, Philip Metres, Venus Khoury-Ghata, Kathy Engel, Amiri Baraka, Laila Halaby, The N.O.M.A.D.S., Hamida Begum, Tahani Salah, Deema Shehabi, Lisa Suhair Majaj , Hayan Charara, Melissa Hotchkiss, Veronica Golos, Junichi P. Semitsu , J.A. Miller, Marian Haddad, Fady Joudah, Fawzia Afzal-Khan ,
D. H. Melhem, Pierre Joris, Nizar Wattad (a.k.a. Ragtop), Marilyn Hacker, Alicia Ostriker, and Annemarie Jacir.
BAsics from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian
Revolution Books recommends this book of quotations and short essays from Bob Avakian. The book speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation. Avakian is the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Two of many quotes:
“After the holocaust, the worst thing to happen to the Jewish people was the state of Israel.”
“"What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these ‘outmodeds,’ you end up strengthening both. While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these ‘historically outmodeds’ has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the ‘historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system,’ and in particular the U.S. imperialists."
Salt of This Sea - a feature film on DVD (2011). Starring Suheir Hammad, Saleh Bakri and Riyad Ideis
Sixty years after her grandparents are driven from Jaffa to a Lebanese refugee camp in 1948, Soraya (Suheir Hammad- an acclaimed NYC poet in real life) leaves Brooklyn to live in Palestine. She finds their family bank account long-gone, their stolen seaside home inhabited by Israeli woman who prizes Soraya’s grandfather’s tilework without a thought of what became of him. Soraya goes on a harrowing adventure with two young Palestinian men, one of whom has not left Ramallah for 17 years and has never seen the sea. The humiliations, checkpoints, “little murders,” and life-threatening assaults by Israeli forces which is daily life under occupation fills the screen. But this is not a sad story of victims— most film-goers have never met a young rebel like Soraya, or Palestinians like Emad and Marwan. Directed by Annemarie Jacir.
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