I finished today a book for Hussein Jamil Barghouthi , a Palestinian writer who died at the age of 48 after a deadly struggle with cancer 2002.
I was introduced several years ago to this legacy of a man through many of my friends who were his friends. As being conceited with the few authors and poets I thought owned the literary world along history, I grew to feel idiotic each time I discovered my limitations. Somehow in my category of authors that continue to grow and make me feel smaller to a diminishing level each and every time. Meeting Hussein Barghouthi was a slap to my ego. First I was looking down to the idea of a Palestinian modern author who could really compete with my list. I actually never thought that there are Palestinian writers who are worth reading; I practically stopped at Edward Said and Mahmoud Darwish. Confessing-ly, I was never really fascinated with Darwish, and to confess again, it was a result of this too much of exploitation that was done to the man by us.
Anyway, I read Hussein Barghouthi a few years back and I was humbled and until this moment, I proudly say, that I practically disappeared not just minimized with my existence knowing him.
Hussein Barghouthi is a Marquez like kind of writer, but yet, his authenticity to me, might be related to his Palestinian identity. As much as Marquez knocks on that hallucinating side of me and makes it a good space to wonder unwatched and unjudged. Hussein had this too close to what resembles me in his hallucinating style.
In his “I will be between the Almonds”, a personal account on his last year in life battling cancer inside an amazing attempt to reflect into his past in his village “Kobar” on the outskirts of Birzeit \ Ramallah. An amazing journey that carries the reader within the pain of a cancer patience, and a man attempting to regain his life, fully accepting an end he cannot beat, but yet, a closure he can paint within his imagination onto his lines and words.
The quite fascinating emergence of a past that starts beyond the history we actually know, to a past that he designs from the stones and the old stories of the grandfathers that remain in this seam of the myth and reality. A reality that his existence confirms despite his actual submission to his end.
A beautiful picturesque of nature that is suddenly disturbed despite the rhythm that remains in his writing that has a continuous flow of a prose, with the sound of the surrounding Israeli settlements. Even though he consciously keeps them distant from his final journey home, their sudden existence is disruptive to his trance of flow of that mixture of imagination and reality. But yet, he remains, not just among the almonds, but also as that blossoming white flower of an almond, that is spread with a beautiful scent and scenery. That is flying like a white dust on a soft breeze of a wind among and in between the hills and the valleys of a homeland that lived him in a far-reaching sense of belonging that outreached a current place or space.