Manual The Palestinians: From Peasants to Revolutionaries

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That the bitter experience of refugeedom was a central component of the Resistance identity is supported by the flow of camp refugees to early military training centres Cobban , p.

Palestinians: from peasants to revolutionaries : a people's history on eHRAF World Cultures

Where the Palestinian Resistance movement was concerned it underwrote the reproduction of the Palestinian class structure in exile, masking the real dominance of the Resistance by the urban middle class, and the subordination of camp-based refugees. It also recalled a glorious moment in Palestinian history, the Great Revolt of , of which rural mujahidin were the backbone. But doing fieldwork in Shateela camp after the evacuation of the PLO in , I often heard criticisms of the national movement leadership that could be interpreted as class-based, even if not phrased in terms of class.

Particular points in this defense are: Identity is needed to explain individual compliance with, or opposition to, power, as a mediating link between structure and subjectivity. The death of the subject and of the author may accurately reflect the perceived crisis of Western culture and the bottomless anxieties of its most privileged subjects — the white male authors who presumed to define it. But it remains to be demonstrated that their deaths constitute the collective or generic deaths of the subject and author Fox-Genovese , p.

Latina autobiographers do not create a monolithic self, but rather present the construction of the self as a member of multiple oppressed groups, whose political identity can never be divorced from her conditions. The subject created is at once individual and collective Torres , p.

The vulnerability of refugees to the alienating effects of labeling has been well recognized by refugee studies scholars such as Roger Zetter. I doubt that such a collection was handed down ready-made from the leadership. Also between people inside the camps and those scattered outside in predominantly Lebanese milieux? In other words, how did class, gender, age and residence inflect expressions of Palestinian identity?

There were different degrees of association with the Resistance between parents and children, between different families in the camp, and between out- and in-camp Palestinians.

When some women activists from outside the camp visited the home where I was staying, there were questions after they left about their marital status. These were indications that the identification between camp people and the Resistance was not as total as people told me it was. I regret now not having done more to find out about the social locations and debates these differences were based on.

While Fateh preached the equality of all Palestinians in loss, those in camps saw clearly the vast gap between themselves and Palestinians who had prospered in the Gulf, or Jordan, or Lebanon. Surely the Palestinianism of camp refugees was to some extent constructed against the educated, middle and upper class refugees who had partly assimilated into the host countries.

Though stateless and impoverished, Palestinians in the camps rediscovered pride in being bearers of a more authentic Arab culture than their Lebanese neighbours. The reality of such representations of the host society and culture is not the issue here: In the case of Lebanon, we have plenty of stories of oppression of camp Palestinians by the Lebanese mukhabarat , as well as social exclusion by some sectors of Lebanese society.

By constituting the refugees as unassimilable outsiders, the Lebanese state enhanced the privilege of citizenship even to those groups who, historically, had been opposed to the creation of a Lebanese entity.

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How was this reversion articulated to the modernity that most Palestinians aspired to after ? Did they all welcome a restoration of peasant customs and hierarchies, for example the authority of senior men? Did anyone question the bargain implicit in Resistance rhetoric, between the promise of return and the subordination of camp refugees within the national movement?


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To what extent did their re-found, re-created Palestinian identity itself compensate for the pains of exile? For three years Israeli forces occupied all of South Lebanon, where the majority of low-income Palestinians are located, installing a huge concentration camp, Ansar, through which most men over the age of 16 passed, and recruiting collaborators.

In the central area, the Lebanese state conducted search and arrest campaigns, restored checkpoints around the camps, and closed the PLO office. University of Chicago Press: About Contact News Giving to the Press. Agricultural Transformation in Ethiopia Atakilte Beyene.

The Palestinians

Rosemary Sayigh Distributed for Zed Books pages 5. As the Israel-Palestine conflict rages on, it is more important now than ever to understand the history of the Palestinian people.

Rosemary Sayigh's The Palestinians is a classic of radical history. Rosemary Sayigh allows the countless ordinary Palestinians she interviewed to tell us their own history: Please choose whether or not you want other users to be able to see on your profile that this library is a favorite of yours. Finding libraries that hold this item You may have already requested this item.

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From Peasants to Revolutionaries

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