A new world and a new interpretation and understanding of China and its own heritage and how it went through the cultural revolution, civil war, and post-Mao era, through the relationship of people together, and how its slogans and big titles were miss used to control and abuse other private domains. No comment can compensate for reading the novel that is full of fantasy, fun, cruelty, black humor, and passion through the two brothers of the novel.
I invited him to our refugee camp, al-Jaleel camp, half a century ago, to read a few of his poems. Met him again twice in Copenhagen: once when he was invited by the Danish writer’s association to comment his book: “I saw Ramallah”, and another to read a poem about Mahmoud Darweesh’s departure. Uprooting from his own town near Ramallah in “East Palestine” and not “West Bank” as he wrote, and roaming between three continents and living in 44 different places, was the bedrock of his vision towards himself and his Palestine. A friend of Naji al-Ali, Gassan Kanafani, Mahmoud Darweesh & Edward Saeed; the husband of the writer and critic Radwa Ashour, and the father of the poet Tameem left us only physically. A man who lived fully the dreams of his past as permanent facts, who tried to revolutionize the words of the language as a necessary step to reach the real revolution, the revolutionary who stood against the “System” & and the illusionary achievements of freedom, left the agonies of Exile & its burden to rest in peace, away from his beloved town. We were lucky among the Refugees to visit our demolished homes and reflect on our visits, whether Lubya (for me) or Deir Ghassana (for Marwaan), or Jerusalem ( for Edward Saeed); Palestine the idea will survive and flourish, although the whole land is still occupied. Poets, writers, musicians and artists are the soul of the people’s collective & personal identity and heritage that would never disappear.
“When I stop and think about what it’s all about I do come up with some answers, but they don’t help very much. I think it is safe to say that life is pretty mysterious. And hard.
Life is short. I know that much. That life is short. And that it’s important to keep reminding oneself of it. That life is short. Just because it is. I suspect that each of us is going to wake up some morning to suddenly find ourselves old men (or women) without knowing how we got that way. Wondering where it all went. Regretting all the things we didn’t do. So I think that the sooner we realize that life is short the better off we are”.
The above citation is a resume’ of a wonderful 1500 paragraphs & sentences that start with the clause “I remember”-“Jeg kan Huske”. A brave and daring attempt to look inward and backward to memories, fantasies, and daily experiences that every one of us faces- whether we dare to confront or not, that is another question. But Joe defied us, challenged us, and mostly he was himself. Alas: too early to die as with all young poets and artists.