A Young Palestinian Responds to “Return to Haifa”

from Jehad Kader Hyer:

I was very impressed by the play and Goan’s adaptation, especially the scene that ended the play. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict stirs a lot of emotion in many and leaves one in a world that is more gray, than black and white. As someone of Palestinian decent I am sensitive to Israeli adoption of Palestinian customs and culture. You often hear, “first the land, now our food.” I can see how many people would receive Return to Haifa with the same attitude. But I disagree with this perspective.

It is very courageous of Boaz Goan, as well as the many others involved, to bring this story to an Israeli stage. Kanafani is also courageous for not only speaking about the Palestinian narrative, but for addressing the suffering of Israeli Jews during Holocaust. I think this pattern of courage should be carried on by a Palestinian adaptation of an Israeli play about the Holocaust and premiered in a Palestinian theater.

Having said that, I’d like to pose a question: Why are we scared and indifferent to stories of the “other’s” suffering? Are we afraid of humanizing them in our mind? Are we afraid that talking about it and recognizing it will lessen how tragic our own suffering is and make us the lesser victim?

One thought on “A Young Palestinian Responds to “Return to Haifa”

  1. What an insightful response not only to the play but to the situation and into the human psyche. The question posed and the possible explanations for our behavior get to the heart of the matter I think. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Jehad.

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