July 08


Palestinian Reading List #2: The Drone Eats With Me

The Drone Eats With Me COVER IMAGE-Atef Abu Saif

This week marks the second anniversary of beginning of the 2014 war on Gaza. In his incredible memoir of that war, titled The Drone Eats With Me: Diaries From a City Under Fire, author Atef Abu Saif writes about how the media reduced the victims into mere statistics. As a writer tasked with writing about Palestinians, I appreciate how this particular passage reminds us that everyone is a story:

When a human being is made into a number, his or her story disappears. Every number is a tale; every martyr is a tale, a life lost. Or rather, part of that life is lost; the rest tells another tale. The tale after. When a father is killed, or a mother, there are children left behind you are not heroes or supermen, but humans with little but sadness and sorrow to steer them through life; they are children who have lost a father or a mother. There is a tale that is lost and a tale that has yet to begin…. The Kawareh family – from Khan Younis, whom the drone decided to prevent from enjoying a meal on the roof of their small building under the moonlight – they were not just ‘SIX.’ They were six infinitely rich, infinitely unknowable stories that came to a stop when a dumb missile fell from a drone and tore their bodies apart. Six novels that Mahfouz, Dickens or Marquez could not have written satisfactorily. Novels that would have needed a miracle, a genius, to find the structure and poetry they deserved. Instead, they are tales that have cascaded into the news as numbers: moments of lust; onslaughts of pain; days of happiness; dreams that were postponed; looks, glances, feelings, secrets… Every number is a world in itself.