Asmaa al-Ghoul: a Gazan War Reporter in Exile
Ben Ehrenreich interviews Asmaa al-Ghoul for Verso Books’ blog, describing the restlessness she feels living abroad during this conflict, for she previously worked as a journalist on the ground during heightened periods of violence in 2008–2009, 2012, and 2014 (photo above). These years are depicted in her memoir, published by DoppelHouse Press, A Rebel in Gaza. To protest the ongoing violence, Al-Ghoul is braving a hunger strike, “with around 20 others scattered across the globe…with just one goal and one demand—to stop the war.” Alongside Ehrenreich’s interview, which was also recently featured on LitHub, we recommend reading Al-Ghoul’s full statement on her hunger strike here.
Additionally, Al-Ghoul has been publishing French opinion pieces. Writing for L’Orient Le Jour, a Lebanese newspaper, Al-Ghoul laments on the current siege of Gaza as she struggles to communicate with her sister Fadwa and extended family who are trapped in the Strip. She does not try to make sense of the unimaginable tragedy, instead focusing on her day-to-day experiences as a Palestinian in France, with family stuck in the crossfire. She describes the implicit feeling of safety she had covering the 2014 war in Gaza juxtaposed to her current life in France. Although she is technically safe from Israeli bombings where she lives abroad, Al-Ghoul writes: “I was never afraid in Gaza, but I am afraid here, in this land which is foreign to me and whose government supports the massacres perpetrated against my people,” emphasizing the disconnect diasporic Palestinians may feel living abroad.
She ends the article in present tense: “Anyway, for now, I’m breathing. Fadwa and her daughter are alive this evening. Tomorrow will be another long day in hell,” succinctly expressing the harrowing exhaustion she feels after a month of remotely watching the bombardment.