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Jo'Burg Days: Let It Be Morning

Barbara Durlacher tells of a novel which puts a different perspective on the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

Let It Be Morning by Sayed Kashua
translated by Miriam Shlesinger
Pub. Atlantic Books – 2006

The conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is brought into focus in this vividly written story about an Arab journalist’s attempts at reintegration in his village after living and working in Tel Aviv during the uneasy armed truce between Israel and Palestine in the years up to 2006.

The action takes place over a few days prior to the agreement on the handing over of parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem to Palestine. Sayed Kashua draws a picture of life in a small Arab Israeli village where tensions and conflict affect the life of every citizen, culminating in an armed stand-off before the agreement is announced.

The close family lives enjoyed by this small Middle Eastern community, the provincialism and pettiness, ignorance and compensating shrewdness are cleverly depicted, creating a picture of a village constantly under threat.

The despair and futility of the narrator, the suspicion, antagonism and lack of opportunities and his fears for the future draw the reader’s sympathy. It is a situation duplicated all over the world where foreigners and political refugees are viewed as different. The hated and mistrust show how politics and indoctrination change perceptions and how constant vigilance is necessary. It is a situation which repeats itself again and again, recently expressing itself in xenophobic attacks on Zimbabwean political refugees.

A book much to be recommended for the opportunity it gives us to put ourselves in another’s position and see life from the underdog’s point of view.


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