Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982

Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982

Mahmoud Darwish

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Using as setting the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the shelling of Beirut, Mahmoud Darwish re-creates in this sequence of vivid prose poems the sights and sounds of a city under siege. With fighter jets screaming overhead, the author sets out on a journey on August 6 (Hiroshima Day) through the war-ravaged streets of Beirut in search, not so much of a "right answer" as of a "right question".

Memory for Forgetfulness is an extended reflection into personal and collective memory. What is the meaning of exile? What is the role of the writer in time of war? what is the relationship of writing (memory) to history (forgetfulness)? What will become of the Palestinian people? In raising these significant questions, Darwish implicitly connects writing, homeland, meaning, and resistance in an ironic, condensed work that combines wit with rage. His masterly text testifies to the heroism of the people under siege, and to Palestinian creativity and continuity. 

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