Mornings in Jenin

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Refugees
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mornings in Jenin, a novel by Susan Abulhawa, is a fictionalized account of a Palestinian family living through the reality of the forming of the state of Israel in 1948, the Occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the massacres in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982, and the massacre in Jenin in 2002. The story line covers four generations as they are displaced from their ancestral land, live as refugees in a camp in Jenin, fight against the Occupation, study abroad, and return to Palestine. Love and friendship connect the family members to their changing community. A devastating loss for one family brings hope to another and links the Palestinian and Jewish experiences of persecution and fight for survival.

This was a difficult book to read. It brought home the devastation of a family and a culture in ways that reading the historical facts cannot. At times I put it down and thought I could not pick it up again. Finally, I started over and the story line led me through. I wanted to know what happened to this family.

The stewardess on a flight from Cincinnati to Denver kept asking if I wanted something as I read the final chapters, tears running down my face. I cried for this fictional family. I cried for the Palestinian people. I cried for the Jews who died in the Holocaust and for those who survived with crippling physical and emotional wounds. I cried because I don’t understand how such inhumanity and injustice can go unchallenged in our world. I cried because I hurt for all these people. I cried because I have it so easy and I feel so helpless.     * * *

This tiny building in the Deheshi refugee camp (established in Bethlehem in 1949) is what entire Palestinian families first lived in when their tents were replaced by permanent structures (late 1950s). The one-room structure measures 10 square meters. Over 13,000 refugees still live in this camp which was built by the UN in 1949 to care for families from 45 villages.

This tiny building in the Deheshi refugee camp (established in Bethlehem in 1949) is what entire Palestinian families first lived in when their tents were replaced by permanent structures (late 1950s). The one-room structure measures 10 square meters. Over 13,000 refugees still live in this camp which was built by the UN in 1949 to care for families from 45 villages.

Comments
  1. Joyce Hofer says:

    Hi, Jeni,

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I have it on hold at the library.

    Joyce Hofer

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