Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hiking Palestine

Raja Shehadeh's new book, Palestinian Walks: Forays Into a Vanishing Landscape, was recently published in the US. I bought it, but haven't yet read it (toooo much summer school teaching). But I'm amazed to see how much good publicity it is getting, and I'm glad. I found Shehadeh's previous books to be very incisive. I used to go on some hikes with Raja (and others) when I lived near him, in Ramallah, in summer and fall of 1985. And I saw him again, recently, when I was in the West Bank. (But we didn't get to take a hike.)

Check out this wonderful slide show, from today's New York Times, with photos taken by members of Shehadeh's walking group; this video which features Shehadeh talking about his walks; and the article about Shehadeh and his book, from the Books section.

The land of Palestine is beautiful but endangered, by checkpoints, settlements, the apartheid wall, tunnels, and bypass roads/highways, built by the Israeli occupiers. Hiking the land, as the original Zionist settlers knew, is a way of taking control. Will Palestinian walks become mass activities? One can hope.

Postscript on Mahmoud Darwish: His death was covered by the US media, at least by the Times, which published this quite decent obit. (Somehow I missed it on Sunday--see previous post.)

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