Last year, while looking after a class for an absent English teacher, I picked up “Things Fall Apart”, Chinua Achebe's response to "Heart of Darkness" where African culture's advanced social institutions and artistic traditions prior to exposure to the juggernaut of white colonialism are contrasted with their subsequent culturally impoverished fate. How infantilising the experience of such colonialism must have been, how it must have choked off the adulthood of generations of parents, made children of them, made the coloniser into the adult, the colonised into the children of children. The fact that he chose to write in English was a political statement, an internalised form of resistance.
The current Palestinian narrative has to some extent been shaped by fiction and parallels between, for example, African colonialism and the status of the West Bank can conveniently and totally fictitiously be drawn for political advantage, which the world under the leadership of the UN has so very successfully done. Fictitiously, because there is very little by way of historical, generational culture to overthrow. Amongst others, Ghassan Kanafani's short stories with their far-left, revolutionary themes shaped a largely fictitious Palestinian story of victimhood whose very simplicity gained it wide acceptance, portraying Israel as a colonising and consequently hateful power, seeking to extirpate all traces of Palestinian identity. Those without the pen resort to the sword, but their infantilisation is no less complete because unless the Palestinians take responsibility for solving their own political problems, made all the more severe by a blockade of religious intransigence, blaming the Jews serves only to perpetuate their own sense of powerlessness.