Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis

Red book cover with text reading: Angela Y Davis, Freedom Is A Constant Struggle

a nutshell: across 10 chapters ranging from interviews to essays to speeches, Davis incisively analyses the need to end state violence & oppression both within the US and around the world, and explores the importance of intersectional mass movements in working towards this

a line: “When one looks at the civil rights era, it was those mass movements—anchored by women, incidentally—that pushed the government to bring about change. I don’t see why things would be any different today.”

an image: it is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope & optimism

a thought: Davis discusses how the Black liberation movement was not only about formal rights to participate fully in society, but also substantive rights – jobs, free education & healthcare, affordable housing, an end to racist policing – and urges everyone to look up the Ten-Point Program of the Black Panther Party

a fact: citing Michelle Alexander, Davis notes there are more Black people incarcerated & directly under the control of correctional agencies in the second decade of the 21st century than there were enslaved in 1850

want to read Freedom Is a Constant Struggle? visit here

Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights Under Siege by Amira Hass (tr. Maxine Nunn)

drinking the sea at gaza book on blue blanket

a nutshell: an Israeli reporter reflects on what she saw and heard while living in Gaza, from moments of abject grief to resilient humour

a line: at one point Hass describes leaving her friends’ house in Khan Yunis, a city in the southern Gaza Strip, where her friends had no running water during the day and only a limited supply of salty water at other times; she reaches the Israeli settlement of Neve Dekalim and drinks from a restroom tap – “Sweet and refreshing, the free-flowing water still had an aftertaste, the bitter flavor – I couldn’t help but imagine – of apartheid”

an image: Hass describes mangled heaps of rubble (homes demolished as a ‘deterrent’) as bearing witness to the ravaged lives of Gaza’s people like the rings of a tree trunk marking the passage of time

a thought: the chapter about the agony of obtaining exit permits for families suffering with ill-health is harrowing to read, particularly the sections on injured/unwell children in need of treatment

a fact: Hass’s desire to live in Gaza stemmed from the dread of being a bystander – a legacy of her mother’s memory of some German women looking with indifferent curiosity as she was herded from a cattle car to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in 1944; to Hass, Gaza embodies the central contradiction of the State of Israel, that is, democracy for some, dispossession for others

want to read Drinking the Sea at Gaza? visit here

The Sea Cloak by Nayrouz Qarmout (tr. Charis Bredin)

I read this short story in The Book of Gaza (ed. Atef Abu Saif)

a nutshell: a sensory snapshot of relationships in Gaza – under the strain of society’s prying eyes

a line: “The noise of the past would grant her no respite”

an image: a littered beach is beautified by an allusion to dreaming souls sheltering within the scattered tents; Nayrouz describes Gaza as a young girl yet to learn the art of elegance

a thought: even when thrown into a crisis, a woman’s fear of shame controls her actions

a fact: the challenge of copying & transporting a story from Gaza to Jerusalem’s publishing houses led to the short story form blossoming, so much so that Gaza became known in Palestinian circles abroad as ‘the exporter of oranges and short stories’ 

*bonus fact*: unfamiliar with the term ‘nargila’, I looked it up to find it was the Hebrew word for hookah, rooted in the Sanskrit for ‘coconut’ – which suggests early hookahs were hewn from coconut shells

 

want to read The Book of Gaza? visit here