We'll Talk Later

Essay Excerpt

All through my essay runs a tale, a folktale from back home. It's told by my aunt and registered by her brother. In this folktale, in how it got to me here, lies a story about who I am.

As an elderly Palestinian woman, illiterate, housewife, bearer of 20 children, mother of 11 survivors, as an asexual mature female, my aunt, like her mother and her mother's mother before her, tells tales. As she speaks, her grandchildren sit around and listen. She upholds an old tradition among Palestinian women, one of struggle to present their knowledge through oral art.

As a Palestinian man, educated, professor, head of a household of four, my uncle writes down my aunt's words and publishes them in a book. As copies of his book are sold, my uncle upholds a newer Palestinian (mostly men's) tradition of struggle to protect their culture from "moder" colonial occupation.

This story is about me because I am a woman and I am Palestinian. Like my uncle, I am concerned about a group of people, Palestinians, and our right to life, to art, to land, to speak. Like my aunt, I am female and I am concerned about a group within a group, Palestinian women, and our right to life, to art, to land, to speak. This is a concern that many uncles might not share or might see as secondary to the first concern. Unlike my aunt, I am from a younger generation. She speaks from her knowledge of coping. I speak from my knowledge that coping is not enough. So I take my aunt's tale and retell it (125). 

Kanaaneh, Rhoda. "We'll Talk Later." Cultural Anthropology 10.1(1995): 125–135.

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