Palestine: Sad but True even 60 Years Later

I have only read one book set in Palestine before this, and to be fair I had no expectations of what kind of books I could find. The selection was slim, but I managed to find Men in the Sun, and other Palestinian Stories by Ghassan Kanafani. Men in the Sun was first published in 1962, and it came out as a film in 1972. Sadly, it is still a relevant story in our times. The author and his car were blown up in 1972 in Lebanon.

The most memorable story is the one mentioned in the title. Three men, Abu Qais, Assad, and Marawan, want to escape the refugee camp in Iraq to go to Kuwait, where they think they will be able to find work, and send money back home to their families. They separately negotiate with The Fat Man about how to illegally get to Kuwait. After they are done with the negotiations they get on the road, hiding, when they have to, in a water tank.

Kanafani was a political activist and writer. His stories show the despair of people in the region. Poverty is a main theme in the book, and so is defeat, but the stories are still readable and enjoyable, despite the gruesomeness. Even though he had a deep attachment to politics and his cause, this not does overshadow the stories.

The desperate situation of people all around the globe has not vanished anywhere, instead it seems to be steadily growing. Finding a way to stay alive should not be a common nomination amongst so many people. It is easy to understand that many individuals try to find a better solution; escaping the current situation seems to be the fastest solutions, but it usually costs money, and it is risky business.

It is a good story for everyone to read. It gives an insight what it might be like living in poverty, fear, surrounded by diseases and desperation. Nearly 60 years after the story was written and it seems like nothing has changed. Maybe something has. I can imagine that greater risks are taken nowadays, the expenses of illegally escaping the old life have gone up, and even bigger criminals get a big cut of it all. Playing with human lives. Devastating.


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