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“Un-grievable” Lives? Contesting Illegality in Suad Amiry’s “Border Diary” Nothing to Lose but Your Life: An 18-Hour Journey with Murad

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AbstractPalestinian author Suad Amiry crafts a “border diary” in her recently published, English-language text Nothing to Lose but Your Life: An 18-Hour Journey with Murad. The diary discursively frames the lives of undocumented West Bank Palestinian laborers who are forced to cross the Green Line in search of work in Israel. As the economics of this geography emerge, these workers are shown to possess knowledge of an occupied land, a knowledge revealed by their tenuous negotiations of checkpoints, border patrols, and racial profiling. The diary charts the cartography of occupation in the West Bank by highlighting the modes of resistance used by subaltern West Bank workers to contest the “everydayness” of the occupation. It relies on humor as a disruptive strategy to make a political statement about occupation while providing a testimonial to its geography from the “other” side of the occupation, as articulated by the dispossessed. In so doing, Amiry provides a socially and politically committed narrative that humanizes the dehumanized, the underprivileged working-class and the poverty-stricken in their struggle for survival and dignity in the face of Israeli nationalism and Zionist expansionism in the West Bank.

Affiliations: 1: Mills College, URL:


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