The Drone Eats With Me: Diaries from a City Under Fire

Atef Abu Saif

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Diaries from a City Under Fire

Foreword by Noam Chomsky. Illustrations by Janice Hickman.

On 7 July 2014, Israel launched a major offensive against the Gaza Strip, lasting 51 days, killing 2145 Palestinians (578 of them children), injuring over 11,000, and demolishing 17,200 homes.

The global outcry at this collective punishment of an already persecuted people was followed by widespread astonishment at the pro-Israeli bias of Western media coverage. The usual news machine rolled up, and the same distressing images and entrenched political rhetoric were broadcast, yet almost nothing was reported of the on-going lives of ordinary Gazans the real victims of the war.

One of the few voices to make it out was that of Atef Abu Saif, a writer and teacher from Jabalia Refugee Camp, whose eye-witness accounts (published in The Guardian, The New York Times, and elsewhere) offered a rare window into the conflict for Western readers. Here, Atef s complete diaries of the war allow us to witness the full extent of last summer s atrocities from the most humble of perspectives: that of a young father, fearing for his family s safety, trying to stay sane in an insanely one-sided war.


'Witnessed, lived, and recorded page by page. A searing account of living through the 2014 bombardment of Gaza. We who report it can never capture the true scale of individual and collective suffering. As a Gaza resident, Atef Abu Saif's diary provides an insight no outsider could ever have achieved.' --Jon Snow, Channel 4 News

'The Drone Eats with Me is a devastating contemporary war journal. This is what war is like in the 21st century the voice of a civilian in the onslaught of drone warfare, a voice we have never heard before.' --Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient and Divisadero.

'His cool, spare prose only highlights the extreme stress and horror of living under constant bombardment.' --The New Statesman

The Author

Atef Abu Saif was born in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in 1973. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Birzeit and a Master s degree from the University of Bradford. Recently, he received his PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence. He is the author of four novels: Shadows in the Memory (1997), The Tale of the Harvest Night (1999), Snowball (2000), and The Salty Grape of Paradise (2003 & 2006). He has also published a collection of short stories entitled Everything is Normal and edited the short story anthology, The Book of Gaza for Comma Press (2014). Abu Saif is also the author of Civil Society and the State: Theoretical Perspectives with Particular Reference to Palestine, published in Amman in 2005. He is a regular contributor to several Palestinian and Arabic newspapers and journals.
Noam Chomsky (foreword) is a US political theorist and activist, and institute Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Besides his work in linguistics, Chomsky is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today. Chomsky continues to be an unapologetic critic of both American foreign policy and its ambitions for geopolitical hegemony and the neoliberal turn of global capitalism, which he identifies in terms of class warfare waged from above against the needs and interests of the great majority. Chomsky is also an incisive critic of the ideological role of the mainstream corporate mass media, which, he maintains, "manufactures consent" toward the desirability of capitalism and the political powers supportive of it.

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