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Vol. 1, Summer 2011
Issue Index

Mahmoud Darwish: Poetry’s State of Siege


Almog Behar

 Behar describes the cultural and literary strategy of Mahmoud Darwish, who experienced exile and migration more than once in his lifetime and who transferred the arena of the struggle to the region of memory. Denial and memory are at play in the "state of siege" and weigh on the poet's ability to write. Behar sees the state of siege as evidence of the Israelis' fear of Arab culture. Both besieger and besieged are trapped together in the same "state." As Behar writes, Darwish reminds us of the common denominator shared by the Palestinians and the Israelis—the lack of a distinct, authentic culture.

About The Blog
The Social History Workshop is a platform of public history that aims to bring to the general public current discussions that concern the past, present and future of the Middle East. The Workshop was founded in August 2013 by Dr. Liat Kozma of the Hebrew Univesity, Dr. On Barak and Dr. Avner Wishnitzer of Tel Aviv University. For us, social history is not only a history that focuses on society as its main object of study, but also history as a socio-political act. Our main venue is a blog in Haaretz website. Over the last two and a half years, the blog has published almost 150 short articles about different aspects of Middle Eastern history, from warfare to desertification, from nocturnal life to slavery, and from technology to prostitution.

In addition, we organize public events in different venues outside the campus, aiming to engage in direct conversation with our readers. In addition, we aim to intervene in the public sphere beyond the virtual world. One such project, funded by the Rashi Fund, was a report about the history of the Mikve Israel school, as part of a major preservation plan. A series of articles we published about the public dimensions of archives in Israel has generated interest among archivists across the country, and lead to the organization of several panels of historians and archivists about issues of accessibility of data in Israeli archives, preservation and digitization.

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