Motherhood Celebrated in Irish, Palestinian War Literature

By Yousef M. Aljamal – Gaza

Gaza Center for Political and Development Studies (CPDS) held Tuesday, March 13 a lecture on Palestinian and Irish Women in War Literature, delivered by Dima T. Tahboub, comparative literature professor, with the presence of Palestinian activists and students.

The lecture began with an opening speech by Dr. Mahmoud Alhirthani, CPDS chairman, in which he welcomed the guest and stressed the importance of the topic being discussed.

The lecture quoted Chinua Achebe’s saying "Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter", in reference to the history of the occupied people being defamed by their oppressors.

She continued, "If we have stories, people know us. We are what we say.  We are the story we tell".

Palestine is always connected to Ireland in terms of struggle, defiance and steadfastness. "Within the academic world, the associations between Ireland and Palestine often take the form of specialized …discourses on terrorism", she quoted Joe Cleary.

A school of writers named the committed writers emerged in Ireland and the Arab World. Some said,Tahboub continued, "the worst artists are the most committed".

The notion of nationalism has been associated with men. "Nationalism has sprung from masculinised memory, masculinised humiliation, and masculinised hope", she quoted Bananas Cynthia.

"War literature falls into three categories: War literature, which tells the story of wars, Warring literature, in which writers are fighters, and finally, literature under war", she emphasized. "We have pro and anti-war literature", she stated.

Anti-war writers, like Fiedler used to say: "The worst thing of all is to die, no cause is worth dying for… no cause is worth the death of all humanity, or a whole nation, or simply many lives…no cause is worth the death of a man, no cause is worth the death of me".

A movement of young writers emerged in Gaza lately. Hundreds of people use social media to get their story heard. "It’s important to tell your story", she clarified. "For the survivor, writing is not a profession, but an occupation, a duty to wrench those victims from oblivion; to help the dead vanquish death.", Tahboub quoted Miriam Cooke.

One of the most important things celebrated in Palestine and Ireland is the notion of motherhood. Mothers are perceived as a valuable thing to be admired. Culture of Ireland in relation to woman is very close to Palestine.

An Irish writer, once said "The proper place for a woman apart from the convent is the home, preferably rearing sons for Ireland", she noted.

Tahboub concluded, "The Palestinian woman is a fighter, a housewife, a doctor, a prisoner and a martyr".

This lecture is the 11th CPDS has held since the beginning of this year aiming at shedding light on issues connected to Palestine. The Irish struggle is being focused on for its richness and significance to Palestine. 

-Yousef M. Aljamal works with the Center for Political Development Studies (CPDS) – a Gaza based non-profit organization that aims at having Palestine represented "in the tongues of its own people". CPDS also works to enhance Palestine’s presence in world forums and international organizations.

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