An Analyisis of the Formation of a Political Consciousness in the Works of Ghassan Kanafani
Tufts University, College of Liberal Arts
Class of 2009
The beauty of literature is that when writers pass away they do not fully leave us; their works speak on their behalf. And the messages that they wish to impart upon readers resonate throughout the years to come. With brilliant writers, such as Ghassan Kanafani, we are left with timeless pieces that remain unmatched. His literature of resistance extended hope to those with none.
The Literature of Resistance: Adab al-Muqawamah Fi Filastin al-Muhtalla
The notion of a resistance has been a part of epic literature stemming from the earliest civilization—the Sumerians. These epics contain elements of the resistance to a variable extent. In the epic of Gilgamesh, the Gods are in resistance to man, and in later works of ancient civilizations, most prominently the Iliad and its depiction of the Trojan War, the youth were trained to resist the invaders. This elementary struggle between good and evil dates back to immemorial times; however, the birth of “resistance literature” only came about as a result of the political circumstances that arose during the 1950’s—namely, the German occupation of France during World War II, the succession of Biafra from Nigeria, the emergence of social unrest in Algeria and the loss of a Palestinian homeland. It was during this time that the pen was first rendered as a sword in the struggle of the international proletariat against imperialism.
Resistance literature narrates the struggle of those writers who, instead of being conquered by the upper classes, withstood their exploitative measures and enabled the oppressed to keep their head high. “When a writer’s society arrives at historical crossroads as it gropes for a viable definition of its identity and destination, the serious writer can ill afford...