Ghassan Kanafani: Resistance Literature

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Ghassan Kanafani’s life (1936-1972), when viewed through the lens of an admirer, can be seen as that of a martyr. Born into a life of sheer struggle, Kanafi was forced from his birth-home of Acre, Palestine into the nomadic life of a refugee. An acclaimed writer and founding force behind Al-Hadaf#, Ghassan Kanafani was a voice of the uprooted people of Palestine as well as a husband and a father. When attempting to grasp the notion of resistance literature, Ghassan Kanafani serves as a starting point. In Resistance Literature, Barbara Harlow introduces the topic with an introduction to Kanafani’s founding role in the history of the particular realm of literature. An understanding of the theme of resistance in literary will enable the identification of the theme in corresponding texts. However it is interesting to survey literature more broadly than just text, and accept the medium of film as a form of literature. This paper shall explore the theme of resistance, as an extrapolation of Kanafani’s ideas, in literature, as it is understood through the media of film and text.

Kanafani was the first to employ the term ‘resistance’ when describing literature and thus established a particular understanding of the idea. When describing Palestinian resistance literature, Kanafani established specific criteria regarding the role occupation plays in the literature as parameters for defining the term. However for the purpose of this paper, it will do to understand the term resistance literature to mean a piece of work “presented by [a] critic as an arena of struggle”, provided the critic be her/himself an immediately affected (on the side of the oppressed) member of that struggle (Harlow, 2). Identifying film as literature enables the employment of this understanding to film the way one would a written text. Taking a look at a documentary, two dramas and one written piece (short-story) will allow for a richer understanding of the theme of resistance, and...
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