The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) and Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) collaborated in organising a launch event for Dr. Salman Abu Sitta's latest book, Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir.
During the event, the audience were given an introduction to the life of the author, commemorating his contribution to the Palestinian academic and literary schools of thought. The book was then reviewed by a panel of speakers including Professor Ilan Pappe, Dr. Dina Matar, novelist Selma Dabbagh and ex-PLO Ambassador Afif Safieh.
Dr. Abu Sitta was the first to speak and he chose to describe the purpose behind writing his latest book, which is his personal memoir on experiencing the Nakba. He not only reminded us of the importance of recording these details but also highlighted that the Nakba is not just a past experience buried in the history books of Palestine. Dr. Abu Sitta said the fact that Palestinians are still victim to "Israel's expulsion, racism and apartheid" means that the Nakba he witnessed is still ongoing.
The speakers not only gave their take on the book, but also spoke about the author's achievements as a scholar of Palestine. As Ilan Pappe said, this memoir is what completes the decades of Dr. Abu Sitta's research. Pappe said the author has dedicated his life to searching for facts and that this personal account adds an emotive yet factual dimension to his work.
The book functions as a perfect tool to not only make the intellectual case for the rights of Palestinians, but also the humanitarian. It is a reminder that what happened during the Nakba is not something that can be dismissed. All the speakers agreed that the author's writing style conveyed his nostalgia for his homeland. He not only recorded facts, but he managed to bring his youth back to life.
The event was not only informative, with the panellists providing comprehensive analysis, but the plight of Palestinians was contextualised through the drawing of parallels and personal stories. The book highlighted the great value of intertwining academic literature on Palestine with personal memoirs to create original forms of literature.