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  • 1. Review: Gaza: Stay HumanAuthor(s): Edda MangaReviewed work(s):Gaza: Stay Human by Vittorio Arrigoni; Ilan Pappé; Daniela FilippinSource: Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Winter 2012), pp. 117-118Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Institute for Palestine StudiesStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jps.2012.XLI.2.117 .Accessed: 23/03/2012 20:42Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. University of California Press and Institute for Palestine Studies are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Palestine Studies.http://www.jstor.org
  • 2. Recent Books 117 STAYING HUMAN AMIDST that “the attacks only targeted Hamas’s INHUMANITY terrorist dens with surgical precision,” Arrigoni feels unable to use his video Gaza: Stay Human, by Vittorio Arrigoni. camera. He writes, “I can’t bring my- Preface by Ilan Pappé. Translated by self to film mangled bodies or faces Daniela Filippin. Leicestershire, UK: drenched in tears. I just can’t. I start Kube Publishing, 2010. xvii + 118 pages. crying myself” (p. 3). This inability to Timeline to p. 120. Background Notes to detach from what he witnesses gives the p. 130. $12.95, paper. short and plain dated entries a particu- lar quality. Reviewed by Edda Manga He recounts how terrified pregnant women gave birth prematurely because Vittorio Arrigoni (1975–2011) was of stress. “One of these, Samira, seven an Italian journalist and peace activ- months pregnant, gave birth to a beau- ist who lived and reported from Gaza tiful, tiny baby called Ahmed. Rushing for the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto to the Al-Auda Hospital on board the from 2008 until his death in April 2011. ambulance with her and leaving behind His book contains a day-by-day inside in our rear-view mirror the scenarios of account of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s death and destruction (the places where three-week military assault on the just a moment before we’d been pick- besieged and densely populated Strip. ing up corpses), I thought for a moment Arrigoni ends every section with that this new life, on the point of blos- “Stay Human,” an urgent request to re- soming, could be a harbinger for future main responsive to his detailed descrip- hope and peace. But the illusion melted tions of wanton violence and human away with the first rocket from the cen- suffering. He documents what he sees tre of Jabalia falling by the side of our as he volunteers to defend ambulances ambulance” (p. 27). and important buildings as a human He describes how residential neigh- shield: “more often than not in very borhoods, schools, mosques, hospitals, precarious conditions, often scribbling and ambulances were targeted. How about the inferno all around me in a people who had lost their homes gath- tattered notebook while crouched in an ered in UN buildings, only to be killed ambulance screaming down the street” there. And while the Israelis distributed (p. xv). His “Instructions for Use” de- leaflets to the Palestinians stating that mands: “store this volume somewhere “the terrorists and those who launch safe, within the reach of the young, so rockets against Israel represent a threat that they may immediately learn of a to your lives,” bombs were dropped in world not so far from them, where in- places that hardly were military targets: difference and racism tears [sic] their “the orphanages, have become a favou- peers to little bits” (p. xvi). rite nesting place for a species of Israeli Having been deported by Israel, Ar- mechanical bird. It’s there that the rigoni reentered Gaza shortly before the fighter planes go and lay their bombs” attack. His first chronicle depicts the (p. 63). Arrigone calls this “unnatural start of the attack seen from his apart- catastrophe” devastating the people of ment by the sea: “[H]ell broke loose Gaza a “massacre,” while the Israeli his- outside my window. We woke up to torian Ilan Pappé, who wrote the intro- the sound of bombs dropping, many duction to the English edition, calls it a of them falling a few hundred meters “genocidal policy” (p. ix). from my home. Some of my friends Pappé’s introduction contains a have fallen under them” (p. 1). While shocking story of a “dummy Arab city” frustrated with Western media alleging built in 2004 in the Negev Desert in the size of a normal city complete with mosques, public buildings, and cars. Pappé recalls that Israeli Chief of Gen- Edda Manga is a senior full-time reseracher at the Department for History of Ideas and eral Staff Dan Halutz visited the site in Science at Uppsala University. She is cur- 2006 after the Lebanon war, informing rently working on the history of racism and the press that soldiers “were prepar- territorial borders in Colombia. ing for the scenario that will unfold inJPS4102_08_Recent Books.indd 117 27/02/12 12:02 PM
  • 3. 118 Journal of Palestine Studies the dense neighbourhood of Gaza city” (p. vii). The soldiers were trained to see Gaza City as a military target, not a place of civilian and human habitation. Pappé contends that both the phantom and the real Gaza city became places for the soldiers to experiment with the most advanced weapons. Arrigoni’s slogan “Stay Human” ad- dresses in a direct and simple manner the civilized barbarity of this kind of dehu- manizing surgical warfare. It has inspired the solidarity movement across Europe and was endorsed by the Freedom Flo- tilla, which renamed its second voyage “Freedom Flotilla 2—Stay Human.” Arri- goni was among the forty-four “citizens without citizenship”—belonging to what he calls “a sole community of living be- ings: the human family”—that in the summer of 2008 succeeded in break- ing the siege of Gaza from the sea and would have sailed with the Freedom Flotilla had he not been murdered. Despite the horror it describes, Gaza: Stay Human is a profoundly loving and inspirational book.JPS4102_08_Recent Books.indd 118 27/02/12 12:02 PM