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Man in the sun

July 8, 2009

‘I found Gaza just as I had known it, closed like the introverted lining of a rusted snail-shell thrown up by the waves on the sticky, sandy shore by the slaughter-house. This Gaza was more cramped than the mind of a sleeper in the throes of a fearful nightmare, with its narrow streets which had their bulging balconies…this Gaza! But what are the obscure causes that draw a man to his family, his house, his memories, as a spring draws a small flock of mountain goats?’
Letter from Gaza by Ghassan Kanafani, assassinated by an Israeli car bomb in Lebanon, 8 July 1972.

In 2007 I visited his old street and residence near Dar as-Sayyad building in Marta’ala, Beirut. An elderly man who had witnessed the explosions of the bombing took me there.

The current apartment residents had never heard of Kanafani. They asked me if he was a pop star.

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