StocktonAfterClass Podcast

A Palestinian Reflects on life in Ramallah and Life in Ann Arbor

Episode Description

A Palestinian Reflects on life in Ramallah and Life in Ann ArborLast year, Ramsey Hanhan published a slightly fictionalized memoir of his life.

It was called Fugitive Dreams:

A Personal Memoir. Ramsey grew up in Ramallah, nine miles north of Jerusalem.

His parents were 1948 refugees.

In those days Ramallah was predominately a Christian town.

Today it is a bustling city.

Ramsey grew up under the Israeli occupation.

His textbooks had to have an Israeli stamp certifying that they did not have any Palestinian content.

No mention of the literary heroes

Ghassan Khanafani or Mahmoud Darwish for example.

(He was delighted when he got to Ann Arbor and found all of Darwish’s poetry in the library).

One of his first memories was when he was three and his mother told him to stay away from the window.

He could get hit by a stray bullet. In 1987 the first Intifadah began.

To a kid It was exciting but it divided his classmates.

Suddenly there was fear of “Birds,” i.e., informants. In time his family moved

to Canada, and then to the U.S.

Ramsey entered the University of Michigan (and ended up with a doctorate in Engineering and became a professor).

He quickly got involved in student activism.

His insights on the complexities of trying to create a unified student movement will be of interest to anyone who has ever gotten engaged in such movements. Ramsey told me he would be in the Detroit area so I invited him to come by to let me interview him.

This is the first time I have tried such thing.

I hope you will let me know if you found this useful.