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Looking for Palestine ➥ [Ebook] ➠ Looking for Palestine By Najla Said ➯ – Thomashillier.co.uk A frank and entertaining memoir from the daughter of Edward Said about growing up second generation Arab American and struggling with that identityThe daughter of a prominent Palestinian father and a A frank and entertaining memoir from the daughter of Edward Said about growing up second generation Arab American and struggling with that identityThe daughter of a prominent Palestinian father and a sophisticated Lebanese mother Najla Said grew up in New York City confused and conflicted about her cultural background and identity Said knew that her parents identified deeply with their homelands but Looking for Epub / growing up in a Manhattan world that was defined largely by class and conformity she felt unsure about who she was supposed to be and was often in denial of the differences she sensed between her family and those around her The fact that her father was the famous intellectual and outspoken Palestinian advocate Edward Said only made things complicated She may have been born a Palestinian Lebanese American but in Said’s mind she grew up first as a WASP having been baptized Episcopalian in Boston and attending the wealthy Upper East Side girls’ school Chapin then as a teenage Jew essentially denying her true roots even to herself—until ultimately the psychological toll of all this self hatred began to threaten her healthAs she grew older making increased visits to Palestine and Beirut Said’s worldview shifted The attacks on the World Trade Center and some of the ways in which Americans responded finally made it impossible for Said to continue to pick and choose her identity forcing her to see herself and her passions clearly Today she has become an important voice for second generation Arab Americans nationwide.


10 thoughts on “Looking for Palestine

  1. Pam Pam says:

    This is a very uick easy readand I have mixed feelings about it because I expected one thing and got another Since Najla is Edward Said's daughter and since the book is titled Looking for Palestine I was expecting to read aboutwell Palestine And her development as an activistdaughter of an intellectual activist What I got instead is a memoir about a very mixed up kid who spent most of her life denying her heritage and starving herself to be accepted as normal in a white largely Jewish neighborhoodschool It's also about her growing affinity with Lebanon than Palestine which she only visited once and couldn't relate to In the end though I did like it because it gave me insights into Edward Said as a person and how hard it is to be an immigrant or child of an immigrant in this country even when you're as wealthyprivileged as the Saids were the latter being a fact that often tempered my sympathy for Najla as I read the bookwhich was perhaps unfair of me Actually in retrospect Najla's angst growing up including anorexia nervosa was likely due just as much to living in the shadow of a famous father who didn't pay as much attention to his daughter as his son That's my opinion at least One other note I think one reason why I found myself being impatient in the first part of the book when Najla spent uite a bit of time dwelling on her young desire to wall off or even ignore her cultural heritage is that I always LONGED to belong to somethinga culture an ethnicity etc I am as white bread as they come American very far back with no particular affinity for a religion That's probably why I have adopted the Palestinian cause so passionately SoI was the opposite of Najla


  2. Louise Louise says:

    As smart as he was Edward Said did not understand his daughter I believe the key to all that went on before was on p 158 girls like me didn't need to know serious things The Said's sent their son off to school with the tools to understand the rules and like many before of almost any ethnic background sent their daughter off vulnerableFully vulnerable she was she was the only Arab in a school with Christians and Jews; a school that had a holocaust survivor's memoirs and visit as part of its curriculum In this school her dark hair her name her height and her unacceptable address were issues with the other girls A psychiatrist was the Said's answer to their daughter's confusion and low self esteem While the book is not about gender issues I believe gender informs the wrenching part of this memoir The outsider nature of her life had disastrous conseuences for her health and her parents seen very slow to recognize the obviousIn her famous father's memoir Out of Place he writes of his abusive father and manipulative mother His four sisters were hardly noted in his book Edward Said's outsider experiences should have helped him understand his daughter Perhaps because the schools he attended meted out physical discipline and Najla's didn't he didn't look into the appropriateness of Chapin Perhaps he never emotionally overcame his isolation from his sisters Perhaps he was just too busy Najla's brother seems to have known and reconciled his family history and identity early on; I would guess he had a very different experience of family life than his sisterOnce at Princeton University where her brother and both cousins also attend she comes in to her own As she matures and travels the work her parents did becomes meaningful to her As she puts together the pieces of her heritage she becomes wholeShe writes about Lebanon her mother's heritages and ¼ of her father's than about Palestine as the title suggests In one sense Palestine is for her a metaphor for the outsider those set apart discriminated against and forgotten; descriptions which relate to her at different places in her lifeNajla through her art is finding a way to interpret the outsider hence the Palestinian experience in a way people can understand I have not seen her performances but she has an authentic voice that comes through clearly in this book


  3. Jane Jane says:

    I loved reading this book It was as if Najla Said was sitting at my kitchen table sharing coffee and her story with me Her struggle to find her true ethnicity can be compared to everyones struggle to just fit into the human race For me it was a real page turner I read it in one day


  4. Pearl Pearl says:

    If I had been younger much younger say in my teens or early twenties I probably would have liked this book It's the memoir of a child's and then later a young woman's struggle to find herself I don't mean to belittle her struggle or the insights she came to; but although the particulars of her situation are rather uniue the search for herself and the insights she came to seemed mundane than insightful Perhaps I expected too much considering whose daughter she is And that is part of her problem living in the shadow of a famous father So I unintentionally reinforce her difficultyNajla Said is the daughter of the renown intellectual Edward Said founder of post colonial thought Professor of English Literature at Columbia University author of several scholarly books outspoken advocate for the Palestinian people and on and on He passes away near the end of her book I knew of Edward Said mostly by seeing him on guest appearances on TV talk shows When a host needed someone to talk authoritatively on Palestinian issues Edward Said was often called upon When she was a child Najla writes that she was unaware of her father's famous reputation She didn't think it unusual for such notables as Noam Chomsky Susan Sontag Jacues Derrida Daniel Barenboim to show up at their home As a freshman at Princeton Cornell West spotted her in his large classroomauditorium and beckoned her to the stage in order to greet her Her classmates were in aweSuch were her difficulties Najla describes her heritage as Palestinian Lebanese American Christian and somewhat tongue in cheek Jewish Her father was 34 Palestinian and 14 Lebanese; her mother fully Lebanese; Najla was born and raised in the United States and baptized as an Episcopalian She grew up in Upper West Side NYC a Jewish neighborhood; but for her early schooling was bused to the Upper East Side's Chapin an exclusive very WASPish private school which claims Jacueline Kennedy as one of its famous alumni She didn't feel that she fit in anywhere Although she loved her family and her warm and loving extended family and the many times they vacationed in Lebanon she didn't want to be recognized or identified as an Arab She was six when the American hostages who had been held captive in Iran were released She was thrilled as was her first grade class as they watched the release on television When she got home she ran to tell her mother how happy she was Her mother listened smiled and then told her that Algeria an Arab country stepped in to help the Americans talk to Iran Najla argued she was happy because they all were Americans Her mother told her that she should be happy but she should also be aware that Arabs also helped and she should be happy about that too because she was an Arab Najla's response was to run to her room yelling Mommy you spoil everythingHer struggle to find herself continued into her high school and university years when she became severely anorexic and struggled with insecurity even though she was doing well in school As she grew older she never knew if her friends liked her for herself or for her famous father I admit getting a little tired of all of this during the first half of her memoir The second half was interesting The events of 911 woke her up when blanket condemnations of all Arabs became the norm She began to accept and then embrace her identity all of it Palestine is really a metaphor for Najla herself That's what she was looking for She seems to have found herself I wish her well


  5. وعد وعد says:

    Ok I know it's my fault that I'm not rating this book with 5 stars I just couldn't relate to what she's going through and I tried to understand but I couldn't And another huge problem was that I expected too much of it The title said Looking for Palestine and as I was reading I was also looking for her Palestine with her but neither I or she could find it And I believe that Palestine wasn't what she was looking for she ended up finding her identity as an Arab American not even Palestinian American who loves the United States and Lebanon not Palestine So I expected I know I shouldn't have but I did Also I was disappointed with Edward Said a little The problem is with having idols is that they're perfect to us and anything that ruins this image of perfection we have about them makes me hate the cause and the model and this is exactly what happened while reading this I know he and his wife wanted their kids to create their own identities and personalities but maybe when it came to their history and legacy they should've had impact and effect I know I shouldn't interfere with anybody's parenting but that made me think that he's like all these successful dads out there who spend decades educating other people and helping other people and spend little time doing the same for their own I was trying to read this as a fellow Palestinian in order to understand her better but I don't think she's much related to the cause It's as if Najla sees the Palestinian struggle for freedom as any other struggle that she can't be part of She was invested in what's happening in Lebanon because she lived it and maybe that's why she's not too connected with what's happening in Palestine It felt to me that Lebanon was part of her while Palestine was only part of her father and had nothing to do with her other than just that that it was only precious a little to her because it was precious to her dad And I know this book was about Najla but I was really disappointed in Edward Said as well because he too fell for the trap most of us fell for UN Resolutions that serve a certain agenda International Law that only serves the powerful and having faith in a so called leader Arrafat because he's all we have right now I really wanted him to be different because he had insight he always saw what was to come of the Palestinian struggle and for him to only settle and not demand justice harder was a bit disappointing to me I wanted him to storm through the door when he went back to his house in Jerusalem I wanted him to not wait for permissions or think about it twice because it was his right his legitimate right to do so and even he backed down I don't know I thought this book will bring me closer to my heroes but it only pushed me further away And I know it's not because there's something wrong with them but because I wanted of people I couldn't ask anything of But Najla having this identity struggle and ending up where she did makes total sense Her parents did raise her to not judge people based on their nationalities or ethnicity or religion and that's exactly what she did Maybe that's why she's an Arab American and not a Palestinian Lebanese American because all these are just invented labels that only push us apart and she didn't want to be pushed away from her culture she wanted to be brought closer


  6. Patricia Douglas Patricia Douglas says:

    Fabulous Said's book is so honest and to me fascinating First of all it has sparked in me an interest in the Arab world I want to educate myself about Israel and Palestine and the struggle I also loved Said's personal story and the way she describes her identity conflict her insecurities and her troubled mind She writes really well and her self deprecating style and candid soul searching captivated me I related to her story as well because I struggled in middle and high school with being Cuban Growing up in Miami you would think I could embrace being Cuban but I hated it Among many WASP friends Cubans were island people and I was made to feel inferior I told people my surname was Italian or French Other times I would insist that my family was from Spain never Cuba I loved this book and recommend it highly I want to go get some of Said's dad's books as well Happy reading


  7. Kat Kat says:

    Let me first specify that I received uncorrected copy of this book before publication for review That being said my thoughts and opinions are mine alone I was not reimbursed by the publisher or asked to post a certain kind of reviewThis memoir is particularly notable for having been written by the daughter of acclaimed thinker and professor Edward Said She describes the difficulties she encountered in being raised as a self proclaimed Upper West Side princess while also growing up in a family strongly rooted in their Arab heritageSpeaking as a child of split nationalities myself my father was born in the US to thoroughly American parents; my mother was Mexican I could relate to her struggles to figure out a place to belong It's rare to see that struggle put to paper how there is always a part of you that seems to tug in an opposite geographical direction That's what the heart of the story is about; figuring out how to gracefully reconcile one's current identity with their familial past and how the past and present entwine I thought that was one of the strongest points of the bookA good portion of the story takes place during her visits to the Middle East which is the other part that interested me If you don't have a great idea of what the struggle in that area of the world is about she gives a good basic overview from what some may consider a slanted viewpoint of course It's also horrifying to get even the glimpses only glimpses that she provides of the warfare in the regionIn the end though I felt kind of like I didn't uite understand why this book needed to be written It's written well no uestion It's a very easy uick story to read But unless you're either a memoir junkie or a Edward Said fan I'm not sure what the audience for this book is It doesn't go into a whole lot of detail about Palestinian Israeli relations for the political science geeks and it's not about a person particularly famous in her own right She had identity crises and got over them It happens to be special because she had access to a very privileged life


  8. Danna Danna says:

    Najla Said is a Palestinian Lebanese growing up in New York City Her father is a famous Palestinian scholar and unbeknownst to me the reason we no longer use the word Oriental to describe Asian people Najla grew up confused and troubled with her identity Looking for Palestine is her memoir which describes her childhood to present day and how she has dealt with her experience of never uite fitting in I had high hopes for this memoir but was unimpressed It felt a tad whiny at times and not uite original It almost felt like reading a diary and I wanted Najla to be stronger than she was The feeling was we all feel like we don't fit in at times can you move on and mature now? Which is undoubtedly harsh but how I felt


  9. Karen Karen says:

    The daughter of a late hero of minefascinating to read her story and laugh with the similarities of our lives and cry with the tragedies of her specific life Dealing with the feeling of other something I have always struggled with albeit not as pathologically as she hasI commend her for her work with other Arab American actors after 911 This is the story of all immigrantswhich in truth is the story of all Americans at some point in their history is it not?


  10. Steven Berbec Steven Berbec says:

    What a complex and honest delivery from Said To be allowed to read of one's otherness what it makes them feel think and do or vice versa Najla Said reminds us all that it is our otherness what a society cannot assimilate if we do not let them that will open us up to spaces where we can belong together A moving memoir


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