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A Rift in Time: Travels of My Ottoman Uncle by Raja Shehadeh
  

A Rift in Time: Travels of My Ottoman Uncle

Biography / Autobiography   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

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Researching his family history, Raja Shehadeh discovered a great uncle, who like himself, was a writer and who through journalism, like Shehadeh had battled to change the plight of the Palestinian people. Shehadeh’s uncle lived at a time that we know through the actions and writings of T E Lawrence, here is the other side of that history, a fracturing land, the ending of the Ottoman empire and the European powers ready to carve up territory between them. Alongside the retelling of this story, the author is walking his land trying to follow the path taken by his great uncle as he tried to evade the authorities. Now there are barriers, wire, mines and borders to overcome and if, by chance, the route can be followed, the Israelis have obliterated so many villages and small towns, it is only almond trees that can give some hint of what was once there.

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Synopsis

A Rift in Time: Travels of My Ottoman Uncle by Raja Shehadeh

Raja Shehadeh is the most celebrated Palestinian writer working today. To his surprise, when researching his family history, he discovered a great uncle who had also been a writer entangled with the authorities, and who, like Raja, had dedicated his life to the freedom of the Palestinian people. Najib was a journalist and romantic living in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. When he voiced his opposition to Ottoman participation in the First World War, a death sentence was put on his head. So he fled, living on the run and off the land for nearly three years. The quest for Najib, the details of his life, and the route of his great escape consumed Raja for two years. As he traces Najib's footsteps, he discovers that today it would be impossible to flee the cage that Palestine has become. A Rift in Time is a family memoir, but it is also a reflection on how Palestine - in particular the disputed Jordan Rift Valley - has been transformed. Most of Palestine's history and that of its people is buried deep in the ground: whole villages have disappeared and names have been erased from the map. Yet by seeing the bigger picture of the landscape and the unending struggle for freedom as Raja does, it is still possible to look towards a better future, free from Israeli or Ottoman oppression.

Reviews

Mr Shehadeh's reverence for Palestine's land and history renders it wholly anew * Economist *


About the Author

Raja Shehadeh

Raja Shehadeh is the author of the highly praised When the Bulbul Stopped Singing and Strangers in the House. A Palestinian lawyer and writer who lives in Ramallah, he is a founder of the pioneering human rights organisation, Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, and the author of several books about international law, human rights and the Middle East.

In 2008 he was awarded the prestigious Orwell Prize for Political writing for his acclaimed book Palestinian Walks. The book describes over two decades of turmoil and change in the Middle East, steered via the history-soaked landscape of Palestine. A lawyer and human rights activist of independent temper, Raja has always found much-needed peace by taking walks in the Palestinian hills – a landscape which, owing to occupation, Jewish settlements and disastrous environmental policies, is fast disappearing.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th August 2010

Author

Raja Shehadeh

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Publisher

Profile Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
256 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Biography: historical, political & military

20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000

ISBN

9781846683305

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