Occupation Diaries by Raja Shehadeh

Posted April 8, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

Occupation Diaries by Raja ShehadehTitle: Occupation Diaries (Goodreads)
Author: Raja Shehadeh
Published: Profile, 2012
Pages: 212
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Raja Shehadeh’s Occupation Diaries gives an insight of a Palestinian who chronicles for the two years in Israel leading up to the Palestinian bid for UN statehood in September 2011. This diary shows a fierce and lyrical portrait of a life lived under siege, balancing the memories, as well as the everyday reality of living under occupation in Palestine. It is often the smallest details of daily life that tell us the most.

I have to admit I don’t know much about the tension between the Israelis and Palestinians so it was interesting to read one person’s perspective. But this is very one sided and while it was an interesting book I was left with more questions than I started with. To be honest I spent most time wondering what Raja Shehadeh wasn’t telling us and concerned that maybe he is stretching the truth. It is a diary that seems to focus on the little things and I never felt like it really explored the issue at all; just a collection of small stories.

There is no real joy in this book; sometimes you get a glimpse but then it fades fast. I know this is an occupied state but the feeling of hopelessness without any optimism really made this book difficult to connect with. This was no easy read, even though the writing was beautiful and it wasn’t overly complex, it was just the anger and one sidedness of this whole thing made it a hard read for me.

Shehadeh is very passionate within this book but the bleakness of the whole situation really didn’t work for me. I know this is a very complex issue but the simplification of the whole thing within this book makes it a difficult read. I love the writing and really want to read some of this author’s works of fiction but I just never connected with this type of non-fiction. Too one sided, too many unanswered questions and I spent too much time wondering if this was real or not.

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