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Kanafani Ghassan Men in the Sun Lynne Rienner Publishers Boulder CO 1999 Ghassan Kanafanis 1962 work Men in the Sun features three Palestinian refugees of different generations en route to what they believe will amount to relative freedom and prosperity in Kuwait Many Palestinians have sought lives beyond the refugee camps some attaining prominence as advocates in Europe and the Americas but Kanafanis protagonists lack such lofty ambitions The aging Abu Qais frustrated Assad and young Marwan are Everyman characters seeking only jobs food and perhaps better lives for their children A deeply textured moving literary work emerges as the men smuggle themselves across borders towards a common fate Though Kanafanis story is one of political disenfranchisement and suffering imposed by political powers he avoids alienating readers through ideological rhetoric The context to Men in the Sun is a widely understood or at least fairly easily referenced one and educated readers would likely find any gratuitous background information contained in the story to be redundant As the issues surrounding the conflict remain contentious and often divisive the assumption of a didactic tone would turn off readers not already sympathetic to Kanafanis outspoken pan-Arabism and socialist viewpoint Kanafani realizes that there are many windows into an individuals experience Through this personal rather than political approach any reader hurt by betrayal falsehood loneliness or despair will find themselves identifying with a story created by and about Palestinians Though no ideology frames the story there is an unmistakable political undercurrent In his lifetime Kanafani criticized Arab divisions and the petty vices that traditionally precluded an united and effective defense of the Palestinians Men in the Sun presents the various factors within the Arab world that enable Palestinian marginalization Primarily the refusal of neighboring Arab states to accept Palestinian refugees abandons them to the squalor and poverty of refugee camps Kanafani who wrote the story while underground in Lebanon does not comment on the strategic motivations for
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