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Power Born of Dreams: My Story is Palestine

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Power Born of Dreams: My Story is Palestine

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Power Born of Dreams: My Story is Palestine

By Mohammad Sabaaneh

“An artistic triumph that will stand as an enduring testament to the spirit of the Palestinian people. Mohammad Sabaaneh is a master.”
- -Joe Sacco, winner of the American Book Award for Palestine

What does freedom look like from inside an Israeli prison? A bird perches on the cell window and offers a deal: “You bring the pencil, and I will bring the stories,” stories of family, of community, of Gaza, of the West Bank, of Jerusalem, of Palestine. The two collect threads of memory and intergenerational trauma from ongoing settler-colonialism.

Helping us to see that the prison is much larger than a building, far wider than a cell; it stretches through towns and villages, past military checkpoints and borders. But hope and solidarity can stretch farther, deeper, once strength is drawn of stories and power is born of dreams.

Translating headlines into authentic lived experiences, these stories come to life in the striking linocut artwork of Mohammad Sabaaneh, helping us to see Palestinians not as political symbols, but as people.

Notes from the author
My story begins in prison. The occupation has held Palestinians in various prisons, some of them small and called jails; others larger and called towns and villages, which are surrounded by military check points, walls, and settlements. The political reporting seen on the news every day can sometimes feel removed and distant, and I am saddened to see our stories are being reduced to numbers and statistics.

The life of the Palestinian has become a hemorrhage between military check points, and between one prison and another. This is the reality of settler colonialism. And this is how it impacts us as individuals.

This book is an attempt to translate headlines into stories and illustrations, so that you, the reader, can see and feel the reality of Palestinian life.

From School Library Journal The stories in Sabaaneh's poignant graphic novel are an ultimately triumphant attempt to allow readers to "see and feel the reality of Palestinian lives."

The book starts with Sabaaneh making a deal with a bird who visits his prison cell (in real life Sabaaneh spent several months in prison for an alleged association with the terrorist group Hamas). They agree that he will draw the stories the bird tells him about his flights around Palestine. Day after day the bird comes back to recount what he's seen and heard: a woman forced to give birth at a checkpoint to Jerusalem, Gazans with one eye always to the sky to watch out for Zanana (the name they gave Israeli drones), and tales from a Palestinian teacher who still hopes for justice and a free Palestine.

These accounts may seem bleak, but the closing line from the bird makes clear that this isn't the case: "The purpose of these stories is to give [­Palestinians] strength and keep them from leaving."

Sabaaneh's often abstract black-and-white linocut illustrations pulse with emotion, making the tales feel even more immediate. Readers unfamiliar with the Israeli occupation of Palestine will appreciate the brief but thorough essays, with cited sources, that close out the book.

 Product details

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Street Noise Books, 2021
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 128 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1951491147


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