Ghassan Kanafani in: “ The Land of the Sad Orange”
Ghassan Kanafani was born in Akka Palestine in 1936 and died, as a result of an Israeli bomb planted to his car on 8th July 1972. His Danish wife Annie, described the event saying: “…We used to go shopping together every Saturday morning, on that day he accompanied his niece Lamees. A few minutes after they left, I heard the sound of a huge explosion. I ran but only saw remanence of our exploded small car. Lamees was a few meters away from the spot, but I could not find Ghassan. I hoped to find him injured, but I only found his left leg. I was devastated, and our son Fayez, started knocking his head against the wall. Little layla was crying: Baba…Baba…I gathered his remains, the Beiruti escorted him to his last resting place at the Shuhada Cemetery where he was buried next to Lamees who loved him and died with him“ 1 Kanafani is a prominent literary figure in the Arabic Literature and worldwide. His works were translated to many different languages. During his short life he enriched the Arabic library by with valuable collection of publications, varying from novel to short story to literary researches and political essays. “The Land of the Sad Orange” is one of his early stories that depicts the influence of the deportation on the Palestinians when the Israeli troops took over their country in 1948. In this story Kanafani mixes the artistic reality with the historical one. Though the story tells the suffering of a middle class family, it stands as an example of thousands of displaced families who had to suffer the humiliation of leaving their country and living in poverty, following the 1948 calamity that befell the Palestinians after the defeat of the Arab armies and the creation of the state of Israel N. Habib
The Land of the Sad Orange When we left Java to Akka, I felt no agony, it was like going from a city to another for a holiday. For several days, nothing painful happened, I was happy because this move gave me a nice break from school…things started to look different when Akka was attacked (by the Israeli troops). That night was hard on you and me. The women were praying, men were bitter and silent. You and me and all the kids of our age didn’t understand what was going on…But that night we started to gather the threads of the story. When the Israeli soldiers left, after threatening and swearing, a big van stopped in front of our home, and few things (mainly beds and blankets) were thrown from here and there. I was standing with my back against the wall of the old house, when I saw your mother rise up to the van, then your aunt, then all the other little ones. Your father picked you up and threw you over the furniture, in the same way, he lifted me over his head and threw me in the iron box at the top of the van. There was your brother Riad sitting in silence. Before having myself settled properly, the car started moving and Akka started to fade little by little beyond the zigzag escalating road that led to a place called “Ra’ss-Ennakoura 2 The weather was somehow cloudy, a touch of cold chilled my body, Riad was sitting calmly placing his legs up, over the top of the box, holding his back to the furniture and staring toward the sky. I was sitting silent, holding my knees by my arms and putting my chin between mylegs…All along the way there were orange groves. A sense of fear and anxiety were spreading over everyone …The car was mounting with
difficulty over the wet soil, and from a distance, we heard the sound of gun shots as if greeting us farewell, When “Ra’ss-Ennkoura” appeared, the car stopped…the women came down from among the belongings and went to a farmer who was squatting in front of a basket of oranges …They carried the oranges, we heard them lamenting. At that moment I realised that orange is something precious…and these lovely big oranges are something dear to our hearts. The women bought the oranges and went back to the car and then your father...
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