Palestinian Reading List #2: The Drone Eats With Me
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.