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v6n3_4_mansour - The Confiscated Dreams: Occupation and the...

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60 The Confiscated Dreams: Occupation and the City in Khalifeh’s Writings Wisam Mansour * Abstract Sahar Khalifeh, a Palestinian academician and novelist, explores in her narratives, among other things, the impact of occupation on the day-to-day life of Palestinians in their cities and villages. In her 1980 Sunflower, Khalifeh vividly portrays the city of Nablus from the perspectives of several male and female characters who view the city and themselves under occupation from the perspectives of class, gender, ethnicity and situatedness. Cut off from the outside by military occupation, cordoned by hostile settlements, and impaired sexually and emotionally, the city and its inhabitants in Khalifeh’s narrative suffer from excessive atrophy. As a result of its devastating effect on the growth of the city, Khalifeh perceives in occupation vicious machinery that consumes up the land and the people creating a wasteland, a system of physical debris and human dereliction. Urban entropy is at work in Nablus where chaos threatens order and urban forms of death intrude upon the social in the form of sexual impotence, and upon the commercial and economic processes in the form of obfuscation, confiscation and destruction of the city’s resources and green belts. Introduction Sahar Khalifeh, a Palestinian academician and novelist, explores in her narratives, among other things, the impact of occupation on the day-to-day life of Palestinians in their cities and villages. In her 1980 Sunflower , Khalifeh vividly portrays the city of Nablus from the perspectives of several male and female characters among them Adel, Rafeef, Sa’diye, and
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61 Khadra. Each of these characters belongs to a social class and each sees the city under occupation from his/her situatedness. In The Sunflower , the city features very prominently in the discourses of the narrative. Nablus, occupied in June 1967 is innocent of any form of progress under occupation. The occupation machinery demonizes the city and its population. In a paragraph reminiscent of Eliot’s “Waste Land”, Khalifeh poetically depicts the wasteland of occupation and its impact on the city: “June 1 brought us Bulldozers with infernal jaws, swallowing the land and the rock and the trees and the people” (20). 2 Ironically, under occupation technology and its manifestations, when available, are used to demonize the populace and oppress the city. As a result we observe Rafeef’s adamant refusal to stop at the red traffic lights as a symbolic rejection of both technology and the imposed order.
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v6n3_4_mansour - The Confiscated Dreams: Occupation and the...

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