Against Erasure: A Photographic Memory of Palestine Before the Nakba

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    Teresa Aranguren & Sandra Barrilaro (eds.)

    Publisher: Haymarket Books

    Year: 2024

    Format: Hardcover

    Size: 240 pages

    ISBN: 9781642599800

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A unique, stunning collection of images of Palestine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and a testament to the vibrancy of Palestinian society prior to occupation.

This book tells the story, in both English and Arabic, of a land full of people—people with families, hopes, dreams, and a deep connection to their home—before Israel’s establishment in 1948, known to Palestinians as the Nakba, or “catastrophe.” Denying Palestinian existence has been a fundamental premise of Zionism, which has sought not only to hide this existence but also to erase its memory. But existence leaves traces, and the imprint of the Palestine that was remains, even in the absence of those expelled from their lands. It appears in the ruins of a village whose name no longer appears in the maps, in the drawing of a lost landscape, in the lyrics of a song, or in the photographs from a family album.

Co-edited by Teresa Aranguren and Sandra Barrilaro and featuring a foreword by Mohammed El-Kurd, the photographs in this book are traces of that existence that have not been erased. They are testament not to nostalgia, but to the power of resistance.

What People Are Saying

"Against Erasure: A Photographic Memory of Palestine Before the Nakba sets out as a reminder of not only the history of the people of Palestine, but also about the undying struggle against its very erasure. It is a tribute to the emotional power of memory, taking us back to the past of the Palestinians before the Nakba, rendering the whole period as an expression of their vibrant culture, traditions, principles and lifestyle, unravelled through spectacular images of their land demonstrating a life of joy and beauty, of perseverance and resistance. The images will haunt many who have yet to grasp the pain and the fear of a living people who once had a fulfilling life." The Tribune

"At a time of an unfolding Israeli genocide against 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, enabled as much by racist, dehumanizing propaganda as by Western arms, funds and colonial complicity, it is more important than ever to always remember to see the human behind the number, the oppression behind the violence, and the complicity behind the genocide. This precious book shares a glimpse of Palestinian lives prior to the Nakba, the initial destruction of our beautiful homeland to project an image of a "desert" that needs a white colonial settler to make it bloom. In the face of this excruciatingly painful phase of our ongoing Nakba of ruthless, inherently supremacist settler-colonial conquest, celebrating our heritage, our cultural roots, our love for life, for freedom, for justice becomes more necessary than ever. This book helps us do so.“ Omar Barghouti, Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights

"Against Erasure is a stunning demonstration of Palestinian resistance, joy, and the beautiful persistence of our people. As argument, it documents the thriving existence of families, children, and whole communities before Nakba, illustrating our powerful connection to the homeland, which persists and resists until full liberation. This book is a testament to the schools we once occupied and the orange groves our great-grandfather's planted. Through this book, we look into the past as a means of creating and charging towards a future of return." Noor Hindi

”This book is a precious record of Palestinian life before the catastrophe. Every photograph - in its innocent, casual, permanent testimony to the fact of Palestinian existence - speaks to the enormity of the crime of having not only attacked but tried to erase this history, this place, this people. Reading through it in early 2024, as that crime widens dramatically in Gaza with full European and American support, it confirms the iron necessity of the defeat of Zionism and its patrons.” Clare Daly, Member of the European Parliament

"We live in a moment when Palestinian life is being ruthlessly dehumanized in the service of a looming genocide. A critical defense of humanity amidst this atrocity is the constant assertion that these are a people who had a culture and a land before it was violently stolen. Against Erasure: A Photographic Memory of Palestine Before the Nakba, is not only beautiful and heart wrenching; it is a political reminder that we are fighting not only with Palestinian life but against an erasure of their entire history." Dave Zirin, Sports Editor, The Nation Magazine

“If you are curious about what Palestinians were like before the Nakba, before the 2014 Gaza massacres, and before the current Israeli genocide or, more importantly, if for some peculiar reason, you need further affirmation of Palestinian humanity get Against Erasure and humanize yourself.” CounterCurrents

"Such a stunning collection of images spanning this significant period of time can only broaden people's understanding of the history leading up to the current situation, horrendous as our current situation is. The book reveals many kinder moments in the lives of many Palestinians. I would hope that publications such as this do a great deal to further the cause. It is a treasure." Jeremy Corbyn

Tags: anti-zionism ....... art ....... history ....... Middle East and North Africa ....... Mohammed El-Kurd ....... Palestine ....... Sandra Barrilaro ....... settler colonialism ....... Teresa Aranguren .......