By Raja Shehadeh

The search for his great-uncle Najib Nassar, an Ottoman journalist – the main points of his lifestyles, and the direction of his nice get away from occupied Palestine – fed on award-winning author Raja Shehadeh for 2 years. As he strains Najib’s footsteps, he discovers that this day it might be very unlikely to escape the cage that Palestine has develop into. A Rift in Time is a kinfolk memoir written in luminescent prose, however it is usually a mirrored image on how Palestine – particularly the disputed Jordan Rift Valley – has been remodeled. so much of Palestine’s historical past and that of its humans is buried deep within the floor: entire villages have disappeared and names were erased from the map. but by way of seeing the larger photograph of the panorama and the endless fight for freedom as Shehadeh does, it's nonetheless attainable to seem in the direction of a greater destiny, unfastened from Israeli or Ottoman oppression.

“A paintings of passionate polemic, visiting, heritage, and autobiography, this hugely unique attention of the Palestinian-Israeli factor is established round a sequence of full of life, attentive hikes in the course of the occupied territories.”—The New Yorker

“Raja Shehadeh’s Palestinian Walks offers an extraordinary ancient perception into the tragic alterations occurring in Palestine.” —President Jimmy Carter

“Towards any right knowing of historical past there are various small paths. This consistently miraculous booklet modestly describes jogging alongside yes paths that have touched the lived lives of 2 millennia. Its jogging advisor is an aged guy who confesses; his confessions frequently come upon a perennial knowledge, and what he's conversing approximately and strolling throughout is among the nodal issues of the world’s current drawback. I strongly recommend you stroll with him.”—John Berger , writer of how of Seeing

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Additional resources for A Rift in Time: Travels with My Ottoman Uncle

Sample text

Najib was sure he would not be able to stay long at his friend’s house. Once the Ottomans joined the war, food became scarce and the authorities began conscripting ablebodied young men. Until 1908 Christians had been spared military service, but that year the exemption was lifted. This meant that both Kamel and his elder son were eligible for the draft. The family lived in dread of the men being taken away. Both had to leave the house every time they suspected the authorities were coming for them.

When I last visited the Galilee hills where Najib hid, I found no trace of the variety of wild flowers that had once covered the slopes. It seemed that the hills were condemned to the uniformity of green. 47 A Rift in Time No longer did they revel in the splendour of the multitude of colours they wore in the old days, when the farming villages populated them. Like the diversity of human cultures that had once thrived here – the Bedouins and the villagers, the marshland farmers and shepherds coming to Palestine from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, a mix of Bahais, Christians, Jews and Muslims – this natural variety has also gone.

35 A Rift in Time To the north-west I could see the hill with two protruding mounds emerging from the ground. These were the Horns of Hittin, the arena for the decisive battle that took place in 1187 in which Salah al Din (Saladin), the renowned Kurdish-born general and founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, defeated the Crusader kingdom that ruled from Jerusalem and ended the first 100 years of their command. When I visited the hillside, all that was left of the Palestinian village that had been there was a minaret forlornly shooting out of the thicket concealing the scattered stones that had been used to build the homes of this attractive village, destroyed along with twenty-eight others in the sub-district of Tiberias in 1948 in the course of the Israeli army’s operations Hiram and Palm Tree.

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