Matar on Kanafani
My friend Hisham Matar has a very moving piece in Granta about Ghassan Kanafani. Here is a tiny excerpt:
For the twenty-three days that the Israeli bombardment of Gaza persisted, I would wake up at four a.m. and sit with yesterday’s paper, then read the news online, then walk to the local newsagent and get the day’s paper. Suddenly it would be lunchtime. I could not respond when asked what I thought, or ‘Isn’t it terrible?’ I spent too long online looking at photographs and watching videos, reading articles, listening to interviews. On the fourth of January, a week after the bombardment started, a friend sent me a piece he had written on the assault. I read it and wrote a long email that every other day I would edit and revise. In the end I never sent it.
I called my mother and whenever she said something about Gaza I changed the subject. It was during one such conversation that my eye fell on a name on my shelf: Ghassan Kanafani. I had not read him since boyhood. I flicked through the collection of short stories until I came upon one called ‘Letter From Gaza’. I read it, photocopied it and took it with me to a reading I was giving at the University of Cambridge. I did not read it but seemed to need it there in my pocket.
Please read it all here.