In "States" the author, Edward Said, discloses the story of his people, the Palestinians, in an epic to express to the world the disconcerting challenges endured by the struggling Palestinian culture. The underlying claim is that of which is fair for any people to aspire, the dream to be master in your own house. Thus translated into the ideals of nationalism: blood and belonging. Said uses a combination of both photographs and writing style to tell a story that is deeper than the plain text.
It is hard to be master in your own house if there is no place to call home. Palestinians live in occupied territories where their cultural traditions are absorbed, or lost, however they, as a people, are not being accepted. Wherever they go they will be branded as Palestinian', but as to what constitutes a Palestinian is a question which brings light to the issue of a fading cultural identity. The first picture in the essay of a wedding, where the "bride and groom wear the ill-fitting, nuptial costumes of Europe"(679), is a prime example of the loss of cultural tradition and replacement with the symbolic dress of another. Where cultural traditions are absent or lost, they are imported or created.
Said has a clever use of subtle doublespeak. Although it sounds as if he is simply talking about the way a "European" photographer had "put them (the two elderly Palestinians) where they so miserably are"(680) in the photo, I believe he is subtly referring to where the Europeans, in the creation of the state of Israel in the home of the Palestinian, had "placed them where they so miserably are"(680) as a people. This was the cause of "the embarrassment of people uncertain why they were being looked at and recorded"(680) because, before the creation of the state of Israel, the Palestinian people had been left alone. However, due to the will and power of the Europeans, the Palestinians are "powerless to stop it"(680).
In the pictures proceeding, people are seen trying to...
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