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Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape (2007)

by Raja Shehadeh

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2208107,041 (4.04)23
"Provides a rare historical insight into the tragic changes taking place in Palestine"--Jimmy Carter (from cover).
Recently added byprivate library, little.bear, tomrintoul, Lindsay_Slavin, BobUpBooks, CaiTippett, Elizha2
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    Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries by Suad Amiry (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both these are moving personal views of life in Ramallah.

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» See also 23 mentions

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2012 (my brief review can found on the LibraryThing post linked)
  dchaikin | Sep 26, 2020 |
This is an incredible and heartbreaking book, beautifully written and devastating in its effect. I now feel totally pessimistic about the situation in the West Bank. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Mr. Shehadeh is a Palestinian attorney but more than that he is a walker. When he is frustrated by the outcome of his caseload he loves nothing more than traversing the land which surrounds his home in Ramallah. Every hill, every cave, each artifact he discovers holds a special place in his heart. He see's the landscape begin to transform with each of the six walks he describes in this book. Shehedah describes how roads are being cut into the hills he once walked with friends, solo or with his wife. Bulldozers eat away at caves and new homes are being built where Bedouin once tended their sheep. In what he considered his own land, he now walks in fear of being arrested, shot at or simply denied entrance. His final walk described in this book brings him face to face with a settler. There is no doubt, they each love the land, each wants it for their people, each want to enjoy it without fear yet each will do anything to hold on to what each believe is rightfully theirs. Yet, towards the conclusion of the book Shehadeh and a settler share an intimate moment along side a babbling brook enjoying the landscape.........together.
Maps and photos of his walks would have been a helpful addition to this book.
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  Carmenere | May 16, 2016 |
A superb reflection by a Palestinian on the meanings his land holds for him, and the changes wrought on it by 60 years of Israeli occupation. He recounts a series of half a dozen different walks around his home town, Ramallah, with different walking companions, and tells how one of life's simple pleasures, taken for granted by most us, has become more and more difficult, almost impossible. Land is grabbed by settlers, roads drive across ancient rights of way, walls spring up, olive groves are uprooted, soldiers bar the way, he can no longer walk the paths his grandfather trod. He and his wife are even fired at on one walk, not as they first suspect by Israelis, but by Palestinians who can't - or won't - understand what they are doing. Walking? Why are you walking? All the issues raised by the Israel-Palestine conflict are discussed as he takes us through the walks, and all shades of Palestinian opinion get an airing as he argues the way forward with various friends and relatives. And through it all, there's an obstinate determination to keep on walking. ( )
1 vote michaelshade | May 11, 2012 |
Raja Shehadeh is a Palestinian lawyer, who has spent much of his career challenging the reclamation of West Bank land for settlements. He is also a walker, who sees beauty in the hills where many others have only seen barren hostility - indeed, one of his aims is to make the land seem real and vivid, rather than a biblical wilderness or site of political struggle.

This beautifully written book is somewhere between a memoir and a collection of essays, framed as six walks in the hills around Ramallah. Lyrical descriptions of the landscape are combined with distress at its destruction (by settlements, growing Palestinian towns, vandalism and carelessness) and anger and despondency at the situation of the Palestinians. One of the many sad things in the book is the way that simply walking in the hills is treated with great suspicion - Shehadeh is shot at by both sides in the course of these walks.

Sample: The further down I went the deeper the silence became. As always the distance and quiet made me attentive to those troublesome thoughts that had been buried deep in my mind. As I walked, many of them were surfacing. I sifted through them. The mind only admits what it can handle and here on these hills the threshold was higher. ( )
2 vote wandering_star | Aug 9, 2010 |
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"Provides a rare historical insight into the tragic changes taking place in Palestine"--Jimmy Carter (from cover).

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