Sunday, February 12, 2012

Palestinian Intellectuals Series (pt. 1): Faisal Hawrani

This will be the first post in a series of posts on Palestinians intellectuals, past and present, with a focus on bringing to light personalities that are less well known to Western audiences and discussing the landscape of Palestinian intellectual life.

Today's post will be about Faisal Hawrani, born in Masmiyya, a village in the north of the Gaza district. He was displaced by the 1948, making his way to Syria in 1948.  There he received his education and help found the Association of Palestinian Studies, becoming its President in 1964.  He subsequently worked as journalist, and then as the head of the research center of Palestine studies, associated with the PLO.

He has published a number of novels, including Muhasirun (Trapped), Bir al-Shum (A smell?) and others, as well as a number of works of non-fiction and history, including al-Judhur al-Rafd al-Filastini 1918-1948 (The Roots of Palestinian Rejection 1918-1948) and many others.

The following is a nice summary of his ideas on Palestinian 'rejection' before 1948.  He argues that the foundation of the Palestinian political lanscape before 1948 lied on these hinges: (1) the reliability of the broader Arab and Muslim worlds (and there exaggerated) unfulfilled hopes; (2) the contradiction on rejecting Zionism on the one hand, yet trying to reconciliate with the Mandatory authorities (who were facilitating the Zionist project); (3) the failure to consider Britain an enemy from the beginning; (4) the failure to realize the importance of the complete representation of the citizens, including the Jews; (5) a failure to forge significant alliances; (6) The Palestinians' exaggerated imagination on the Arab and Islamic world's support for Palestine. (7) A lack of willingness to use violence as a means to achieve their national demands; (8) the failure of the Palestinian leadership to look after the needs of the Palestinians; among other things.

He published a "Dialogue with Khaled al-Hassan," an early advisor to Yasar Arafat, in the July 1980 edition of Shu'un Filastiniyya, probably the most serious Arabic-language journal of Palestinian Studies that exists.

He is also a contributor to journals such as Kitab al-Sanawi, a new publication of the Yassar Arafat Foundation in Ramallah.         

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