Return To Haifa
(Written by Ghassan Kanafani, 1969)
Few have done more to communicate the Palestinian experience than writer Ghassan Kanafani, a writer who’s life was tragically cut short by the terrorist organization known as Mossod when he was assassinated on July 8th, 1972 at the age of 36. Seen as one of the most affective wordsmiths in being able to poetically channel & communicate the struggle of the people in Gaza, few works are more challenging & crucial to the cause than his novella Return To Haifa. A drifter that fell deep into the teachings of Marx at the University of Damascus, Kanafani went underground in Beirut, without identification or paperwork, later popping up occasionally to run short-lived magazines that gave an up-close look at the struggle of his people, before penning the works that would make him a household name across the literary world. Before Kanafani’s success, rew libraries or universities had archived or attained works that spoke to the people of Gaza facing discrimination, occupation, & apartheid by the violent regime of colonizers that seized the land of Israel in the aftermath of World War II. The novella acts as window into the Palestine-Israel conflict, following Said S., a Palestinian returning to the city Heifa when the gates open in 1968. Through a flood of painful memories, Said S. is confronted with the period 20 years before, when his family was torn apart by the onslaught on violence from the Israeli occupiers. After losing their son Khuldun to brutality, their relationship was changed forever. Despite Kanafani’s death, this novella lives on as a timeless reflection on the senseless violence and oppression Palestinians still face.