Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chickpeas! Iraqi Style

Baghdadis gather around a hot mound of fresh chickpeas flavored with chili peppers and either oranges or lemons. A favorite street snack across Iraq.


Sarah said...

hey man,
I've been looking for a History of modern Palestine and was wondering if you have a recommendation. I've been asking all of my friends and they haven't really thought of one clear favorite. It's a very tricky subject and subject to wild bias so if I have to choose a side of course I would prefer something with a leftist pro-palestine bent. Do you know of any classics? I'm moving to Jenin in February and want to start reading up.
Hope you're well.

Sarah said...

sorry, I'm using someone else account, but this Matthew Lundin. ha ha

"علي " said...

Hey Matthew,

A couple of titles come to mind given your parameters:

Ilan Pappe's A HISTORY OF MODERN PALESTINE. His other books, THE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF PALESTINE and THE MAKING OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT, 1947-1951, are also good, though more narrowly focused and not survey histories as you can tell.

Baruch Kimmerling and Joel Migdal, THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE: A HISTORY (*This is particularly good with regard to political and social history as the late Kimmerling was a sociologist and Migdal is in Poli Sci/IR)

Rashid Khalidi, PALESTINIAN IDENTITY (not a survey, but a classic debunking of the tired arguments that Palestinians aren't "real"...Khalidi shows how modern Palestinian identity, as a people, came to be)

Eugene Rogan & Avi Shlaim's edited volume, THE WAR FOR PALESTINE: REWRITING THE HISTORY OF 1948, has some excellent, if narrowly focused, essays, including ones by Said and Khalidi

A classic study of the Palestinian national movement is Yezid Sayigh's ARMED STRUGGLE AND THE SEARCH FOR A STATE, 1949-1992. (I have a bootleg copy I got copied in Amman...Unfortunately, it looks like it may be out of print.)

Read carefully, Benny Morris' RIGHTEOUS VICTIMS yields useful information. However, as you may know, Morris has either become or decided no longer to hide his shockingly racist, bigoted inner being.

Former Israeli left diplomat Itamar Rabinovich, who is also a scholar of Ba'thist Syria, wrote a pretty good but more first-person account: WAGING PEACE: ISRAEL AND THE ARABS, 1948-2003, as did Shlomo Ben Ami, SCARS OF WAR, WOUNDS OF PEACE: THE ISRAELI-ARAB TRAGEDY.

Another Israeli academic, left leaning and Iraqi by birth, Avi Shlaim wrote the now-classic history of Israel's relations with its Arab neighbors and particularly the Palestinians, THE IRON WALL: ISRAEL AND THE ARABS.

Sorry to reply with a list.

I'd say Khalidi and Kimmerling & Migdal's books are the "best" for your purposes. I'd also recommend Shlaim's IRON WALL. If you are interested in books about the Muslim groups in Palestine, I can give you some recommendations. An interesting new book about HAMAS has just been published.

Let me know if you need any more help. I've asked a friend/colleague of mine here at IUB NELC, who is a Palestinian, to see if he has any recommendations of titles in Arabic.

I am well, and hope you are too. Let me know what's up and what it's like in Jenin when you go.