Saree Makdisi

Saree Makdisi teaches English at UCLA. He is the author of William Blake and the Impossible History of the 1790s, and is working on a book to be called Palestine without a Road Map.

Palestinians celebrated as Israel began to withdraw its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip (and from a handful of small and isolated colonies in the northern West Bank). The withdrawal will, it’s true, offer some immediate relief after 38 years of military occupation. At the same time, however, it’s clear that it is designed to serve Israel’s interests, not those of...

Diary: Living with the Wall

Saree Makdisi, 3 March 2005

“In October 2003, soon after the erection of the barrier began, the army declared the land between the barrier in the east and the Green Line in the west a ‘closed military area’. The declaration states explicitly that no one can enter the closed area other than Israeli citizens and anyone to whom Israel’s Basic Law of Return applies (that is, anyone of Jewish extraction from anywhere in the world). ‘No one, in other words, means those Palestinians whose land has been – or is about to be – taken from them. The inhabitants of the villages in the ‘closed area’ have to apply for a ‘permanent resident permit’ from the army. As its name suggests, this is something like a US Green Card, except that in this case the person applying for the permit wants only to be allowed to stay where he has lived all his life.”

Travelling Text: ‘The Arabian Nights’

Marina Warner, 18 December 2008

In the countries of the book’s origin, the stories were considered popular trash, and excluded from the canon. In Europe, a similar sense that they had negligible status as literature came about because...

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