In Mapping Exile and Return: Palestinian Dispossession and a Political Theology for a Shared Future, American Mennonite theologian and aid worker Alain Epp Weaver explores a legacy of Palestinian Christian exile, and struggle for return. The book‚Äôs terrain ranges from the ethnically-cleansed villages of the Galilee to the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Weaver focuses particularly on contending geographies: how ‚ÄúPalestinians have been ‚Äėabolished from the map,‚Äô in the words of Palestinian cartographer Salman Abu-Sitta,‚ÄĚ and the prospect of ‚Äúcounter-cartographies that subvert colonialism‚Äôs map-making.‚ÄĚ
His book encompasses the work of specialists, like Abu-Sitta‚Äôs maps, the writings of Edward Said, the Institute for Palestine Studies‚Äô encyclopedic volume All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, as well as ‚Äúmemory production‚ÄĚ by thousands of Palestinians through collaborations like the web archive Palestine Remembered.
‚ÄúIn the face of Zionist rejection of Palestinian refugee return, international indifference, and an ineffectual and compromising Palestinian leadership for whom the refugee question is a source of irritation, Palestinian refugees pin their hopes on memory,‚ÄĚ Weaver writes.
Significantly, he also includes extended histories of two key initiatives: the struggles for return by the ethnically-cleansed Christian villagers of Kufr Birim and Iqrit in the Galilee, and Zochrot, an Israeli organization dedicated to ‚Äúremembering the Nakba in Hebrew.‚ÄĚ
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