Sunday, April 15, 2007

We need new words for and worlds of imagination

[Herbert] later attributed his reluctance to fall on his knees before the mighty not as an act of bravery or strength of character, but to his sense of taste: an inability to bear the regime's execrable rhetoric, its torturer's dialectic and reasoning without grace. In other words, aesthetics saved his soul: beauty played a subversive role in his refusal to become one of the corrupted.
-- Charles Simic on Zbigniew Herbert in The Philosophy of 3 am, a review of The Collected Poems 1956-1998.
When he first started to think about his book [Sari Nusseibeh] happened to be reading Amos Oz's description of a parallel city on the other side of the conflict, only a "hundred feet", as he put it, away, there were hardly any Arabs and no hint of the world he had known as a child. This made Nusseibeh ask what his parents had known of the people in Oz'sworld and of the holocaust that determined their outlook on life: "Weren't both sides of the conflict totally immersed in their own tragedis, each one oblivious to, or even antagnostic toward, the narrative of the other." Isn't this inability to imagie the lives of the 'other' at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
--Amos Elon on Sari Nusseibeh in Hard Truth About Palestine, a review of Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life.

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