السكاكيني المفصول من الكنيسة
النص الكامل: 

Khalil Sakakini and his inner circle, most of whom belonged to what became known as theVagabond Party - Hizb al-Sa’aleek - Jerusalem 1916. © Institute for Palestine Studies, Beirut.

Khalil al-Sakakini was a fascinating man. His diary survives him and bespeaks an individual of countless thoughts, sentiments, and ambitions. Writing with tremendous detail for nearly half a century (1907-1952), Sakakini and his diary have been unsurprisingly valuable for investigations of twentieth-century Palestinian intellectual thought, especially in Jerusalem, the city where he spent most of his life. His charismatic and erudite persona, his involvement in the reform of the Greek Orthodox Church, his numerous publications and centers for learning, as well as his public role as an educator and political activist, explain why this man has appeared repeatedly as a devoted nationalist in literature on this period. Yet Sakakini was also a troubled man. Indeed, his diary reveals that he was often burdened with distressful cognitions that problematize efforts to describe him as a Greek Orthodox or a nationalist. While several historians have examined Sakakini’s diary and have noted peculiarities in his behavior, there has thus far been no attempt to explicate his curious and often mercurial disposition. In this paper, therefore, I reassess the existing scholarship on Sakakini by analyzing these components of his character. I argue that these complexities reflect the highly subjective and involved processes of self-reflection that took place within his diary. As a work in micro-history, this investigation thus has broader implications for an evaluation of historians’ tendency to construct dominant narratives on this period in Palestinian history.


The trend in typifying Sakakini as a Greek Orthodox nationalist has simplified his complex character. In 1958, Elie Kedourie wrote that Sakakini’s diary “affords striking evidence of the state of mind of the educated class of his community and generation.” He continued:


These Orthodox Christians, living for centuries under the dominance and at the margin of Muslim society, are suddenly found asserting that they are no mere apolitical minority, but part and parcel of the Arab nation, equally entitled with the Muslims, should this nation achieve sovereignty, to the exercise of political power. 1


For Kedourie, the diary provided a window through which to locate the development of nationalist identity during Mandatory Palestine, at least among the Orthodox Christian community. Yet in his diary, Sakakini reiterated that during this period, he did not consider himself to be part of any political or confessional community, and certainly not the Greek Orthodox one. On 26 March 1915, for example, he expressed: “I am not Christian and not Buddhist, not Muslim and not Jewish, just as I am not Arab, or British, not German and not Turkish. I am just one among humankind.”2 But Kedourie is one of many scholars who have taken Sakakini’s voluminous diary and fit him categorically under an identifiable label. These claims must be reassessed.


This study will demonstrate that the national and confessional identities with which Sakakini has often been associated are less transparent than much of the secondary literature has presented. Rather, I argue that Sakakini’s entangled and often dissonant thoughts and behavior indicate that compounded processes of self-identification were occurring throughout the diary, processes identifiable through rigorous micro-historical examination of the interplay between this individual and his environment. In order to uncover these processes, I support my alternative interpretations of Sakakini’s character using theories from psychology and sociology, namely, Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance and Pierre Bourdieu’s habitus. Consequently, the narrative of Sakakini contributes to the growing body of micro-histories that provide necessary nuance to investigations of nationalism and colonial identity – macro-historical trends – as they appeared in Palestinian history.


Many scholars have debated the notion that Arab nationalism emerged and developed monolithically in the early twentieth-century Arab East, a key point for understanding Sakakini’s diary. Lisa Anderson, Rashid Khalidi, et al. have produced a substantial volume titled The Origins of Arab Nationalism in which they combined several essays that address the rise and development of a sentiment of Arab nationalism in the early twentieth century.3 The general argument of this volume is that a group of local elites, goaded by a threat to their power-base, united under a common ideology: Arab nationalism. The volume therefore revises the dominant narrative that Arab nationalism emerged naturally in this historical context and that it was an ideology to which all Arabs felt an intrinsic and unanimous attachment.


James Gelvin critiqued the authors of The Origins of Arab Nationalism for foregoing a more in-depth investigation of nationalism itself. “The overwhelming problem with this book,” he argued, “is that the contributors write as though Arab nationalism were a phenomenon sui generis.4 Instead, Gelvin contended that a historical investigation of the rise and development of Arab nationalist ideology could not be undertaken without addressing further issues, chief among them an appreciation for the complex “web of factors (class, ethnicity, status) which define identity within a given culture or sub-culture.”5 Gelvin also explained that the transition of Arab nationalism, as it were, from a “‘cultural reawakening’ to a mass movement” was not simply attributable to an increase in the number of its supporters. Rather, he asserted: “each phase of what historians project backwards as a coherent national movement differs from other phases in terms of the structure according to which the movement is organized, its targeted constituency, and the core leadership.” 6 These debates demonstrate the trouble with the existing literature on Sakakini and his nationalism; there has been a tendency to project contemporary meanings of the term “nationalist” onto an individual whose diary must be read in its historical context. Approaching the diary, therefore, I build on Gelvin’s argument that understanding nationalist movements and ideologies requires more nuanced analyses of the complex web of factors that constitute a given ideology.


In order to comprehend Sakakini’s behavior more deeply, I propose a crucial angle for understanding his character: his enthusiasm for modernity. The diary reveals that Sakakini was an admirer of things western, specifically, education, science, philosophy, and even a western brand of national consciousness. The different instances in the diary where Sakakini would praise America or Britain for their cultural superiority while denigrating Arabs for their backwardness obfuscate efforts to brand him as an Arab nationalist. Indeed, by working for the Mandate authorities, instructing his children in the ways of sophisticated modernity, and by sending them to colonial schools and abroad for higher education, Sakakini would automatically accept the epistemological ascendancy of western modernity over local methods. I argue that Sakakini’s penchant for the West and for institutionalizing modernity in Palestine influenced his interaction with his Palestinian cohorts and contributed to his distressful cognitions, thus creating a bewildering sense of national and social identity.


Contextualizing the diary, it is evident that the introduction of a logic of modernity, reflected in the structures and institutions of the British Mandate, defines this period and forms the backdrop of much of Sakakini’s writing. Salim Tamari argued that during the immediate post-WWI period, Jerusalem developed into a space for social, economic, and political modernity, both through the Mandate and through remnants of Ottoman modernity. He examined British officials’ memoirs from this period, as well as those of several notable Jerusalemites’ and observed that the British Mandate instituted modern forms of government, “rudimentary features of citizenship,” as well as “a modern secular educational system.”7 Tamari emphasized that this modernity emerged within Jerusalem, as an urban space. As a resident of Jerusalem, these changes impacted Sakakini’s conception of himself, and delimited the boundaries of his social placement.


Besides infrastructural transformations, Tamari highlighted the less tangible changes that came about as a result of the War and the ensuing power shift. He showed how café culture in Jerusalem became essential for the propagation of ideologies of modernity, such as science, intellectual freedom, secularism, bourgeoisement, and increasingly, individualism:


Secular education, cafes, social clubs and recreational centers catered to the growth of new bourgeois tastes and sensibilities. The private writings of this period ushered a sense of individualism and escape from familial and communitarian bonds. 8


Sakakini’s diary emerges against this backdrop of social flux and negotiation. Replete as it is with detail and self-expression, it is small wonder that the diary has provided fodder for many historians of Palestinian history. Yet many of these historians, in an effort to construct master narratives of Palestinian nationalist thought, have effectively diminished our understanding of this individual and of his reaction to elements of social change. It is undeniable that Sakakini experienced many changes in his life as a result of these volatile periods during which he lived and wrote. But for all of the changes which accompanied Ottoman and British modernities, perhaps the greatest change rendered to Sakakini has occurred postmortem, as authors have simplified his life to fit within their histories.


Reading the Diary and its Author


Sakakini’s diaries and letters were written over the course of 45 years. The diary, moreover, first appearing in 1955 in Kadha ana ya dunya, was edited for publication by Sakakini’s daughter, Hala Sakakini. Later editions of his diary, organized into eight volumes, were published starting in 2003 by different houses and editors; various ideologies, political and otherwise, have certainly colored the editing process. Akram Musallam, editor of the series, described Sakakini in the third volume as a true nationalist and educator dedicated to the cause of Arab nationalism and to the future of Palestine. Consequently, for Musallam, the diary during that period highlighted Sakakini’s distinct awareness of the threat of Zionism, and therefore, his struggle (nidal) for freedom. 9 Tanya Nasir, who introduced the fourth volume in 2005, hailed Sakakini as the father-humanist par excellence of his time, devoted not only to the promotion of human dignity, science, and morality, but also to the well-being of his only son, Sari. “After all,” she said, “these are part and parcel of Sakakini’s makeup, his ambitions, and his dreams.” Moreover, for Nasir, and as a result of her personal relationship with the Sakakini family, Sakakini led an extraordinary life: “These letters are testimony to […] a unique life that joined normal simplicity and high culture, […] portraying Sakakini’s grandeur and his distinction as one of the most important Palestinian and Arab figures in the twentieth century.”10


On the other side of the Atlantic, scholars have been approaching the diary with their own agendas as well. In a footnote to his 1977 article on Arab officials working for the British Mandate, Bernard Wasserstein described Sakakini as “a Greek Orthodox Christian from Jerusalem, a teacher, and an Arab nationalist.”11 As previously mentioned, Sakakini’s zealous denial of his confessional identity was overlooked in Wasserstein’s account. Similarly, in an article on pre-1948 Palestinian literature, M. Peled argued that locating a uniquely Palestinian literature does not require the existence of a geopolitical Palestinian state. To corroborate this, he mentioned the letters that Sakakini sent from New York City where he sojourned for nine months in 1907:


The letters of Khalil al-Sakakini […] should be considered part of the heritage of Palestinian literature expressing, as they do, his longing for Jerusalem, his city of birth, and its surrounding area.


[This example is] no less part of Palestinian literature for having been written by [a writer] who [was] not conscious of being Palestinians in the modern sense.12


While Sakakini’s diary should not necessarily be excluded from “Palestinian literature,” Peled’s cursory handling of Sakakini’s short stay in America should be critiqued. Sakakini was indeed homesick, writing to his beloved Sultana, struggling with his decision to have left home. Yet the details of his struggle may reveal more than a “special attachment to the land of birth.”13 On 7 June 1908, Sakakini shared:


I still spend all day thinking about returning, but how will I pay for my return and what will they think of me? Will they accept my excuse or accuse me of weakness, cowardice, laziness, and immaturity? What will Sultana say? Will she keep her faith in me and will she still accept me, or will she feel disappointment and regret? And I swear to you, Sultana, if there were gain in my stay here, I would not return this fast. But what do I do if I am not given any hope?14


Sakakini’s confession of his fears of humiliation and rejection upon return suggest that for him, succeeding in America would have meant more at that moment than his return to Jerusalem. For Peled, however, arguing for the existence of a Palestinian literature that expresses longing for an identifiable homeland in the early twentieth century trumps alternative conclusions that can emerge from a more nuanced reading of the diary.


In order to better understand why Sakakini and his diary have been appealing for historians, we must locate more precisely the diary and its writer historically. Khalil al-Sakakini was born in Jerusalem in 1878. In late 1907, Sakakini arrived in New York to pursue employment. During his nine-month stay in America, Sakakini worked as a translator for a Columbia University professor, but soon after, he sought greater profit as a factory worker in Rumford Falls, Maine. Appalled and ashamed at the working conditions in the factory, Sakakini decided to return home empty-handed.


In the historiography, Sakakini’s story gains momentum as soon as he returned to Jerusalem. Being close to Sultana once again, Sakakini felt at home, despite his meager earnings from writing and teaching. But the following years were to prove formative for Sakakini. His establishment of and involvement in the Orthodox nahda movement was to impact his politics and personal life during this period and for years to come. 15 Sakakini’s decision to renounce his faith, the Orthodox Church, and eventually, the Orthodox nahda in 1914 was not easy. On January 11, Sakakini wrote:


I cannot imagine that I will work with the priests without feeling disgusted with myself. My self tells me to resign and sever all relations with priests and the community [al-milla], and it tells me even to withdraw from the Orthodox Church and to rid myself of the nahda, certainly since the nahda has become one of meeting individual needs and of effectuating prestige.16


The next day, Sakakini convinced himself that withdrawing from the Church was “a sign of honor and a title of pride. Indeed, withdrawing today while I am still active and determined would be more beneficial for my future and more in-line with my principles.”17 For years thereafter, Sakakini devoted his time to teaching, and to his students in the Dusturiyyah School, which he established in 1909.18 Truly an avant-garde institution, this school and its mission provided later historians with the necessary evidence to label Sakakini as a nationalist.


Yet his diary would obfuscate the notion that his nationalism, understood anachronistically as organized Arab separatism, was so evident. In 1917, the Ottoman authorities imprisoned Sakakini for sheltering a Polish-American Jew, Alter Levine, in his home.19 The two of them were sent to Damascus for a short period of incarceration. Prior to their exile, Sakakini justified the aid he offered Levine as follows:


I do not know why the Ottoman government wishes to distance me from Jerusalem […] It does not bother me at all that the British have arrived to this country, for I have decided that if I survive this war, I will leave this country for America where I will put my son inAmerican schools, and wherever I am, I am but a human […] And what is nationalism? If nationalism means that the human must be healthy in the body, strong, energetic, straight-minded, of noble values, affable, and kind, then I am a nationalist. But if nationalism means favoring one ideology over another, or contradicting one’s brother if he is not from one’s country or ideology, then I am not a nationalist.20


Sakakini’s conviction that nationalism was the pursuit of knowledge and humanity, while harboring his own dreams of leaving Jerusalem one day for America, signals a perplexing psychological dissonance that merits investigation. Consequently, stamping the label of “nationalist” on this character, with its modern and anachronistic implications, as several historians have done, is reductionist.


During the British Mandate, the next phase of the diary, Sakakini’s thoughts and behavior strike further intrigue and reveal the superficial treatment of his diary in the literature. In the preface to the third volume, Akram Mussalam argued that during the 1919-1922 period: “Khalil al-Sakakini waged the national battle against the enemies of his people in different arenas.”21 Musallam then inserted an excerpt from Sakakini’s diary that proved this description, namely, when Sakakini commented on the presence of the British: “I prefer that we lead ourselves, even if we commit hundreds of mistakes in a day.”22 But in the preface, Musallam did not include the sentence immediately preceding this declaration in the diary: “Some who observe me with the British may think that I take their rule over us lightly. No matter how much I love the English, or how much I admire their values, I prefer that we lead ourselves […].” As another example that counters Musallam’s assertion, Sakakini and Colonel Waters-Tyler, one of Sakakini’s pupils and a Mandate official, sat down to chat over a cup of tea in lieu of their Arabic lesson. On 6 March 1919, Sakakini recounted that Waters-Tyler told him that he would soon be relocated to Nazareth. Sakakini continued:


I received this news with regret, so I said: ‘In the days of the Turks, if we loved a ruler, and the government wished to relocate him, we would hold on tightly to him and send telegraph after telegraph requesting he stay with us. If the British authorities permitted this, Jerusalem would rise in its entirety and ask that you stay, because it loves and respects you.’23


Musallam’s disregard for excerpts that reflect peculiarities in Sakakini’s nationalism indicates his personal reading of the diary and his understanding of its author. It also demonstrates the problematic way in which Sakakini has been portrayed in the literature.


For many of these authors, the story and character of Khalil al-Sakakini has proven a helpful source for historical inquiry, yet their conclusions often raise concerns. Elie Kedourie, in 1958, wrote the first article that tackled the Sakakini diaries. For Kedourie, Sakakini was a symbol of the Christian Orthodox fervor that became “an appendix to the panarab [sic] campaign against Zionism.”24 Sakakini and his diaries were summarized in one paragraph: In 1919 he becomes a leading advocate of panarabism [sic], agitation for which was then being directed by the Sharifians in Damascus. In 1920 he resigns from the Education Department because the High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, is a Jew. In 1935 he builds a house in Jerusalem, and gives each room the name of an Arab capital.25


The perfunctory summation of these complex and multidimensional diary entries into three sentences spanning 16 years does more of a disservice to our understanding of Sakakini’s thoughts and behavior. Sakakini’s reservations about the Pan-Arab movement were no less important than his support of the Sharifian movement, and his renunciation of the Greek Orthodox Church and nahda cannot be underappreciated in an article purporting to examine the involvement of Christian Palestinians in politics during the British Mandate. Indeed, the extent to which Kedourie recognized Sakakini’s struggle with the Church was as follows:


But in Sakakini’s case […] the rebellion [against the Church] itself was a poor affair, fervent no doubt, but disoriented and undiscriminating. These men of principles who claimed the leadership of their community, clutched now at this, now at that principle, and ended by involving themselves in a style of politics as devoid of charity as of principle.26


Rather than explore the implications of the disorganized rebellion, for Kedourie Sakakini’s behavior revealed not the inner workings of a man torn by contending loyalties, but his alarming fluctuation and capriciousness.27 While Kedourie was correct to observe fluctuations in Sakakini’s behavior, by not explicating them, he simultaneously reduced our understanding of the different dimensions of Sakakini’s character, and of the volatile period in which he lived, in order to demonstrate the extent to which “anti-Zionist” sentiment was disorganized at the time.28


Whether accurate or misleading, several historians who have dealt with the diary of Sakakini have produced perspectives on his ideologies, his community, and his writing. A historical certainty that emerges unequivocally from the diary, however, is that the period during which Sakakini wrote was one of dramatic change. Khalil al-Sakakini, a former Ottoman subject who chose to record a diary, can therefore provide us with a lens through which to examine the ways in which these changes and these ideological confrontations played out in the mind of an individual.


Alternative “Truths” about Sakakini


Writing a diary requires a certain level of narcissism. On 21 April 1918, while in exile in Damascus, Sakakini explained why he decided to record a journal:


Firstly, to make use of my time. To sit at my desk and to write what comes to me is more enjoyable than to walk the streets or sit at a coffee shop or visit people who do not understand me and whom I do not understand; secondly, to record my experiences and impressions as they occur in order to comprehend the lessons and morals by which I pass; thirdly, and this is the most important reason, to keep this diary as a family book in which I describe to them my days while in exile day by day. […] Fourthly, perhaps one day I will be inclined to write an autobiography for which I will have much material with these diaries, God-willing.29


These reasons might explain the impression the reader would come away with from Sakakini’s diaries: the unfailing thoroughness and detail with which he wrote. Thoughts and expressions were consistently explained and warranted with principles and anecdotes. The last reason may also lead the reader to conclude Sakakini’s selfaggrandisement and moreover, his adherence to a set of beliefs and opinions that he would naturally find absent in those around him.


Sakakini would use his definition of himself and his values [akhlaq] to set himself apart from his Palestinian cohorts and consequently, to justify his own ambitions. Intermittently in the diary, Sakakini’s feeling that he was ethically at odds with his counterparts would lead him to express a condition most akin to a sense of out-ofplaceness. On 1 May 1912, while in Jerusalem, Sakakini confessed:


Since the first day I joined the working world, I have been working with the motivation of the courageous, unfamiliar with laziness or boredom, but this was to no avail. I am still concerned for my future, not because I am deprived of success, as they say, but because success in this country requires morals that are not mine. I should have lived in a different country, or been one of those people who lives off his father and grandfather’s inheritance.30


Withdrawing from the Greek Orthodox Church and distancing himself from “people who did not understand [him] nor whom [he understood]” thus functioned as assertions of self-worth.31 These sentiments of isolation from his community might explain his hope to one day compile these thoughts and feelings into an autobiography for the world to read. But what are these morals and principles that so starkly differentiate Sakakini from his native Jerusalem and why did he feel so alienated because of them?


Sakakini’s obsession with things western, indeed, his conviction that another space existed in which he could fulfill his imaginings of sophisticated nationality, would warrant his desire to seclude himself, intellectually and culturally, from other Palestinians. On 17 February 1914, Sakakini confessed his disapproval of the fervor for al-umma al-‘arabiyya, implying its futility. After expressing his concern for the course of the cause, he admitted: “But if I were of a more sophisticated nationality, like the British or French or American nationality, then I would devote my life to the service of al-umma al-‘arabiyya and do all I could to revive it and strengthen it to catch up to other nationalities.”32 This backhanded support for the nationalist movement is intriguing; it demonstrates Sakakini’s dissonant thoughts and desires, and obfuscates his nationalism. Indeed, while in prison in Damascus, Sakakini confessed his dreams of reaching that western place. On 4 April 1918, he intimated:


Bring me back my family, or bring me to them, then condemn me to exile from my country forever. Rather, if I survive, I will condemn myself to exile from Jerusalem to America where I would put my son in the best schools to acquire their morals and learn their virtues. […]. Oh how happy I would be sitting with my family for tea in a small, elegant house in New York or Brooklyn or one of those neighboring towns. How happy I would be if we were to rise from dinner, enter our salon, and watch Sari at the piano, watch him sing, or watch him play the flute or violin […]. These are my dreams and the source of my joy.33


While an intellectual hermit of sorts, Sakakini loved to host friends and entertain; yet hosting and entertaining would fulfill more than Arab hospitality. Indeed, by greeting his friends and, as Hala Sakakini said, sometimes strangers, Sakakini would satisfy his desire for attention.34 Hala explained that when close friends visited, her father would perform the traditional Turkish salutation of reaching down to the floor with his hand then touching his heart, lips, and forehead “with exaggerated mock courtesy.” While excited, she continued, he would often break into French: “‘Comment ça va? Comment allez-vous? […] Comment va la santé?’ and for good measure he would add ‘accent circonflex’ [sic] (just for the sound of it!).”35 During these visits, she said, Sakakini would entertain his friends with philosophical ideas followed by “an animated and interesting discussion”36 into the night. Perhaps it was due to his love for teaching that Sakakini seemed to enjoy having an audience. Yet he would consistently convince himself that this audience could never fully comprehend him. While this behavior suggests that Sakakini may have been taken by his thoughts and oratory and that he was an individual who adored attention, it also signals a certain level of anguish within Sakakini.37 It would therefore not be surprising that Sakakini, constantly sharing his thoughts and feeling troubled in an uncomfortable reality, would often appear dissonant.


This dissonance was most pronounced during the first years of the British Mandate over Palestine. In March 1919, Sakakini was assigned to the Educational Authority of Palestine in Jerusalem as head of the Jerusalem Teachers’ College. Shortly after, he was appointed inspector for education by the British authorities. Joining the contingent of Palestinians who worked for the Mandate authorities, Sakakini’s position was precarious: he was to simultaneously defend the rights of Palestinians to self-determination while working for the very Mandate that would preclude its occurrence. On 26 March 1919, Ragheb Bek Nashashibi visited Sakakini and Sakakini recounted that they “pondered whether the country could rule itself. Do we have among our men he who could qualify as a public leader, a financial, educational, or mail and telegraph inspector, or police director?”38 They then acknowledged the shortage of such men, and wondered: “We may accomplish independence if we were mandated, but which of the two would guarantee better success: if we were the leaders and they the advisors, or vice versa?” In conclusion, said Sakakini:


We recognize, for example, that the country is to have its independence, so we study the form that independence will take and the form its government will take […] Then we recognize, for example, that perhaps occupation is necessary, so we study the conditions that we must impose on the occupying country and what our necessary plan would look like with that country.39


Sakakini’s vision for Palestinian independence was indeed curious. Although he was determined to never divide Palestine, Sakakini criticized other nationalists for their divided loyalties while holding on to his own pursuit of western-influenced modernity. On 26 January 1919, Sakakini shared his critical impressions of Palestinian Muslims:


Muslims in this country or in Jerusalem still live by their old ways [taqalid] […] Ask [a Muslim] who has the most honest nationalism, the most sophisticated values, the widest knowledge, or the most respectable opinions, he would mention his father, brother, or cousin […] Each one of them [Muslims] represents his family and not his country […].40


Three days later, on 29 January, Sakakini returned from a tutoring lesson to find several guests awaiting him at his home: Hajj Amin al-Husseini, Is’af al-Nashashibi, Aziz al-Khalidi, and several other notable Muslim Jerusalemites.41 Sakakini recounted that he expressed to them with urgency the need to “shake the ummah violently”42 in order to wake it from its slumber that has lasted for generations. As part of that awakening, Sakakini said that he championed “remedying the nationalist sentiment, […] working towards unanimity in opinion, doing away with old ways and removing old rivalries.”43 At the end of this entry, Sakakini confessed that he had had the desire to isolate himself from the movement, but “circumstances try to remove me from my isolation […]. In short, I joined the chaos and was swept by the current.”44 The following day, 30 January, Sakakini proclaimed his superiority, highlighting his moral rectitude and honesty, his attachment to the moral new, and his refusal of the outdated: “for I am the son of my self [ibn nafsi], and he who is the son of his self is able to value his destiny.” 45


Collectively, these episodes suggest inconsistencies in Sakakini’s behavior. He privately denigrated Muslim notables whom he then adjured to action in the name of new nationalism while holding on to the belief that he alone was capable of achieving his own standards of morality and modernity. The appeal of attracting his British superiors’ approval, beacons of sophisticated nationality and superior education, was certainly a powerful one for Sakakini; yet simultaneously, his loyalty to his Palestinian colleagues and his determination to bring Palestine to the ranks of the sophisticated also preoccupied him. The result, which took the form of diary entries proclaiming self-importance, was an attempt to reduce this tension: “I only say what I believe and I do not believe anything unless it is with sincerity and integrity.”46


Championing a revived and modern independence for Palestine with fellow Palestinians while simultaneously acknowledging the need for superior foreign direction created a mental perturbation in Sakakini that manifested itself in instances of defensiveness. On 9 May 1919, Arab Independence Day, Sakakini confessed trouble with his loyalties:


Independence! Independence! Every human and every nation must have its own existence. I love the English ummah and I admire its morals, principles, power, and greatness […] but I am not English. […] I love America, that free, energetic, and noble country, but I am not American. […]. I may get sick of my life as an Easterner; I may grow sad for my condition and feel humiliated by my shame and despair over not accomplishing my dreams and goals; I may even want to be freed of my Easternness, but I cannot but be an Easterner.47


This excerpt indicates the extent of Sakakini’s confrontation with contending loyalties. Moreover, his rationalization can be understood as an attempt to relieve the tension that emerges from these conflicting thoughts. What may therefore appear to Kedourie as capriciousness and disorganization can be interpreted as reduction of cognitive dissonance, a psychological phenomenon that underscores the complexity of the internal dilemmas afflicting Sakakini.


Explaining Sakakini


Different psychosocial theories might elucidate the complexities of Sakakini’s diary. The first theory, cognitive dissonance, is a psychological one. In 1957, Leon Festinger postulated that an “individual strives toward consistency within himself. His opinions and attitudes […] tend to exist in clusters that are internally consistent.”48 Festinger argued that the pursuit of consistency also exists between an individual’s thoughts and beliefs (cognitions) and his or her actions. When an inconsistency arises here, “there is a psychological discomfort” that Festinger termed dissonance. 49 Festinger’s basic argument is that when a psychologically uncomfortable dissonance occurs, the person “will try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance.”50 One of the ways of achieving this reduction of dissonance, as we have seen with Sakakini, is through rationalization, a process that may not always be successful. In the event of unsuccessful rationalization, and/or, as Festinger explained, in the event that the environment within which and due to which the dissonance occurs is not avoided(able) or controlled(able), the discomfort will continue.51


Though Sakakini rationalized his dissonant cognitions by declaring his “Easternness” or his withdrawal from divisive confessional and national politics, his psychological discomfort persisted. The most salient example of Sakakini’s ongoing and uncomfortable dissonance is evident in the letters he sent to his son, Sari, while Sari was in America starting in 1931. Sakakini sent Sari to America for five years at the age of 18 in order to pursue a college degree. For Sakakini, however, there were other reasons: he sent Sari to America “to receive a wide and sophisticated culture; to acquire a free skill; to practice independence; to see the world.”52 The decision to send him to America, therefore, would serve a dual function: while Sari would benefit from education and experience, it would also serve to alleviate some of Sakakini’s own trouble accepting himself and his life choices. In a letter dated 29 November 1931, Sakakini confessed: “to this day, I remain living on what I gained in America in activity, joy, and hope, and so thanks be to God first, and to America second.”53


This cognition where America held a special place in Sakakini’s mind was maintained by a reality that Sakakini refused to accept: Palestine. Sakakini would often express to his son his disapproval and frustration with what had become of Palestine, a cognition that led him to repeatedly impel his son to forget his roots and embrace America. In a letter dated 13 September 1931, for example, Sakakini mentioned other Palestinian fathers who had sent their sons abroad and concluded:


It pains me that many ask for knowledge in Europe and America, so they study medicine and law, not for knowledge itself, not for the service of humanity, but so that the doctor can perform a surgery and earn from it 100 or 200 pounds. […] I hope that your pursuit of knowledge, Sari, will be for the sake of knowledge, for the service of humanity.54


In the same letter, and as a consequence of his disappointment with other Palestinian fathers, Sakakini told Sari to become an American:


I do not deny that it is a great sacrifice!! [i.e.] Renouncing one’s Arab nationalism and adopting anAmerican nationality. Which sacrifice is greater than this, to become an American after you have been an Arab? This is a serious issue, but how often does a human, in life, meet with seriousness? So let your renunciation be the serious issue in your life […]. Be American, Sari […].55


This excerpt presents Sakakini rationalizing his personal desire to renounce his own nationality by deeming it a great sacrifice for his son. The reduction of dissonance in this instance would be only partially fulfilled, however, since Sakakini’s reality (Palestine) and his reaction to it would not have changed.


Festinger explained that when a dissonance arises between a cognition pertaining to the external environment and an internal behavioral element, the easiest way to reduce the dissonance is to “change the action or feeling which the behavioral element represents.”56 We thus find Sakakini taking control of his behavioral cognitive element by sending his daughters, Dumia and Hala57 to colonial schools and his son to America, and by subjecting them all to cultural sophistication, from music and foreign language lessons to debates in philosophy and science. This behavior of adjusting his reaction to the unavoidable external environment would serve to increase consonance with the external cognitive element and therefore reduce internal dissonance.


Festinger elaborated, however, that this condition might not permanently relieve the dissonance: “The difficulty of changing the behavior may be too great, or the change, while eliminating some dissonances, may create a whole host of new ones.58 A second method, therefore, is to introduce a new cognitive element that, “in a sense, ‘reconciles’ two elements that are dissonant.”59 By sending his son to America, Sakakini sought dissonance reduction by changing his behavior in response to his uncontrollable environment. Yet this decision created new dissonance, evident when Sakakini urged his son to embrace American nationality. In turn, this behavior created further dissonance, since Sakakini’s environment in Palestine was still further from the reality that he wished it to be. As a result, we observe him introducing a new cognition (when he justified his choice to send Sari to America by denouncing other Palestinian fathers’ decisions to send their sons abroad for material gain) in order to reconcile the dissonant cognitions.


But Festinger stresses that, “the presence of pressures to reduce dissonance, or even activity directed toward such reduction, does not guarantee that the dissonance will be reduced.”60 Other variables enter the equation, namely, the question of the source of the dissonance. Festinger explicated the conditions in which an individual is forced to “behave in a manner counter to their convictions.”61 The different instances where we observe Sakakini behaving sycophantically with different British officials while remaining active in the nationalist scene may be explained by Festinger’s theory of forced compliance. Festinger postulated that, “dissonance is to some degree an inevitable consequence of forced compliance” since, after all, “the overt expression or behavior [in a situation of forced compliance] would certainly not follow from the private opinion considered alone.”62 Therefore, and in order to reduce the consonance, we observe the individual complying publicly with an accompanying change in personal belief to prevent further dissonance. This form of compliance, explained Festinger, will occur when:


1. The compliance is brought about mainly through the exertion of a threat of punishment for noncompliance […] Under such circumstances the person is faced with the alternatives of complying or of suffering the threatened punishment. […]


2. The compliance is brought about mainly through the offer of a special reward for complying. Under these circumstances, if the reward is sufficiently attractive to overcome the existing resistance, the individual may comply in order to obtain the promised reward.63


Sakakini’s behavior around his British superiors may therefore be explained as an underlying fear of punishment for noncompliance. Moreover, – the material reward for compliance being obvious – the immaterial reward (the approval of these culturally sophisticated Englishmen) was arguably of equal appeal. Consequently, we observe Sakakini fluctuating in his beliefs about his loyalties and ideals. But in order to better comprehend the extent to which Sakakini’s behavior was being performed in an environment where relational instances were causing dissonance, we must investigate the impact of the broader ideological and epistemological structures within which this behavior unfolded.


Partha Chatterjee’s treatise on nationalism is helpful for understanding Sakakini’s nationalism and his contending loyalties. Chatterjee argued that while the eastern nationalist faces “a choice between imitation and identity,”64 this condition is less tense than it appears; the intellectual may appear to be conflicted beteen westernizing and remaining true to his national identity at the surface, but “ultimately the [nationalist] movements invariably contain both elements, a genuine modernism and a more or less spurious concern for local culture.”65 In a concrete way, then,The problem of nationalist thought becomes the particular manifestation of a much more general problem, namely, the problem of the bourgeois-rationalist conception of knowledge, established in the post-Enlightenment period of European intellectual history, as the moral and epistemic foundation for a supposedly universal framework of thought which perpetuates, in a real and not merely a metaphorical sense, a colonial domination.66


The individual facing this problem, then, and by agreeing to become “modern,” accepts the claim that modern thought is universally true, and accepts, ipso facto, “the dominance, both epistemic and moral, of an alien culture.”67 Sakakini’s admiration for the modern and the scientific, for the liberal and the progressive, therefore, may be understood as a function of his bourgeois-rationalist conception of nationalism. In other words, his nationalism – being a product of a discourse that would determine the parameters of his nationalism – would inevitably serve to propel that discourse and in turn create a disturbing situation manifested in instances of cognitive dissonance.


In the diary, the instances where Sakakini proclaimed his nationalism while simultaneously criticizing the backwardness of his society may thus be explained by the very nature of the discourse within which he operated. Chatterjee explained:


Nationalism denied the alleged inferiority of the colonized people; it also asserted that a backward nation could ‘modernize’ itself while retaining its cultural identity. It thus produced a discourse in which, even as it challenged the colonial claim to political domination, it also accepted the very intellectual premises of ‘modernity’ on which colonial domination was based.68


As a result, Chatterjee explained: “There is […] an inherent contradictoriness in nationalist thinking, because it reasons within a framework of knowledge whose representational structure corresponds to the very structure of power nationalist thought seeks to repudiate.69 In many ways, then, Sakakini’s peculiarities were natural products of a discourse – nationalism – that would not have it any other way. Chatterjee’s propositions thus inaugurate a new line of thinking: Sakakini, as an individual inhabiting a relational space, operated through an internalized and structured reality that would both determine and limit his ability to achieve consonance, a phenomenon best described by Bourdieu in his theory of habitus.


In the diary, the reality surrounding Sakakini was consistently structured. Whether during the Ottoman Empire, the Arab revolt, or the British Mandate, Sakakini was perpetually writing within a condition that determined the set of acquired dispositions, schemata, and sensibilities that constituted his persona. These acquired components of the individual (the habitus) are thus the result of the individual’s objectifications of his structured social reality: the habitus is thus isomorphic with the structural conditions in which it emerged, and consequently, it operates in a predetermined (structured) logic. If we were to take the Mandate as the socially structured reality in the case of Sakakini’s habitus, the tools and institutions put in place to ensure the Mandate’s viability would elicit cognitions and behaviors from Sakakini’s habitus whose ends are already realized. These cognitions and behaviors would ultimately complement the social structure in place, a condition similar to Chatterjee’s discussion of nationalism ultimately propelling the discourse of the foreign presence.


Bourdieu explained that this takes place because the “regularities inherent in an arbitrary condition,” such as the Mandate, “tend to appear as necessary, even natural, since they are the basis of the schemes of perception and appreciation through which they are apprehended,”70 the habitus. For Sakakini, therefore, his conviction that science, education, and modernity were necessary and natural ends in an urban space of increasingly disenfranchised traditional ways was produced and reinforced by a social structure that had already established them as schemes of regular operation and perception; indeed, the British Mandate implemented norms of perception and of thought (a logic defined by cultural sophistication, science, education, etc.) without which the Mandate could not be apprehended. This helps explain why Sakakini appeared as a champion of Arab nationalism, a norm whose perception and apprehension were contingent upon the existence of the cultural and political logic of the Mandate.


While the habitus generates “all the ‘reasonable’, ‘common-sense’ behaviours (and only these) which are possible within the limits of these regularities, and which are likely to be positively sanctioned because they are objectively adjusted to the logic characteristic of a particular field,”71 it is compelling to observe how the individual subjectively internalizes and projects these behaviors in private and public spaces. In the case of Sakakini, the hope for a modern, culturally sophisticated life westward was a positively sanctioned motivating cognition that would receive the “common-sense” stamp from the social structures and institutions reflected in his habitus. His behavior would therefore serve to complement his habitus’s desire to be incorporated into the social structure. Indeed, the capacity to exploit the individual’s body and mind in such a way that he or she ends up seeking positively sanctioned motivating cognitions that will be consonant with the social structure is characteristic of habitus. As Bourdieu explained: “An institution […] is complete and fully viable only if it is durably objectified not only in things, […] but also in bodies, in durable dispositions to recognize and comply with the demands immanent in the field.”72 In essence, then, individuals with unique and “modern” thoughts in the colonial space exist as a function of their habitus’s ability to exploit their individual bodies’ desires to be incorporated into a social reality that defined the uniqueness and modernity to begin with.


In a letter to Sari dated 17 January 1932, Sakakini reminded Sari of their dual heritage, Arab and Greek: “For my paternal grandmother was Greek of the Greeks of Constantinople.”73 In what appears as a justification for his desire to adopt his Greek heritage and consequently, establish his biological link to a West that he has thus far been unable to attain, Sakakini told his son:


I have lived to this day as an Arab serving al-ummah al’arabiyyah, working with others for its revival and toward its satisfaction, and I have done justice by it. That is why I have decided to spend the remainder of my life living by my other heritage, for this heritage has just as much of a right over me as the other one.74


For the remainder of the letter, Sakakini justified his connection to his Greek heritage with his love of Greek song and his fascination with Greek thought, poetry, and art. The letter demonstrates the extent to which the social structure in which Sakakini operated afforded him the possibility to perceive of what could be (and could not be) his. While he did not express a desire to move to Greece, the potential to adopt his Greek heritage and reconnect with his philosopher-poet ancestry within a social structure (the Mandate) that valued Western civilization would simultaneously justify his disaffection with a nationalist movement that was culturally unfulfilling, as Chatterjee explained. Concomitantly, Palestine and Palestinians would become the repository of Sakakini’s dissatisfaction with his reality. On 11 March 1933, Sakakini intimated:


I would love, Sari, for [my children] to live in a better place, a more sophisticated space, in a more beautiful country, and with people with whom we share a culture […] It is no small matter, Sari, that I would like to leave this place […] for we are not from it and it is not from us. Briefly, it has its culture and we have ours, and we cannot embrace a life here unless we sacrifice our minds and our culture.75


Sakakini’s operation within a social system that delimited the realm of the socially possible was a result of that system’s power structure. The irony, however, is Sakakini’s possession of a habitus that would guarantee that limitation. As Bourdieu explained, the agent functioning with his habitus is not conscious of the structures of his social reality because his viable existence within that reality precludes his perception outside of it. In other words, the individual habitus is not cognizant of its isomorphism with the structural conditions in which it emerged. Yet by being incorporated within this structure, and by perceiving it through the schemes it established, the agents “‘cut their coats according to their cloth’, and so to become the accomplices of the processes that tend to make the probable [and improbable] a reality.”76 In a way, then, Sakakini’s internalization of a discriminatory Mandate that also afforded the possibility of satisfying his desire for a different reality (that was also made possible with the Mandate) paradoxically moved him farther from attaining that desire. In effect, Sakakini becomes an accomplice in the perpetual dissatisfaction and caprice with which he wrote.




While several historians have tackled them, the ways in which Khalil al-Sakakini and his diary and letters have been approached in the historiography has left a lacuna in our understanding of this personage and of his interaction with his environment. In this paper, I have used the diary to investigate and contextualize the character of the man behind the words. Theories of psychology and sociology, as well as treatises on nationalist discourse, have proven to be effective tools with which to unpack some of Sakakini’s subjectivities.


Contextualizing Sakakini’s diary, several conclusions may be inferred about the nature of the environment to which he was reacting with his pen. The diary demonstrates that the very ideologies of nationalism and modern selfhood with which Sakakini is often associated in the literature are products of a historical environment that was in flux and consequently, often unstable. Therefore, while Nasir and Musallam recognize Sakakini’s individual genius as the cause of his uniqueness, it is evident with a more nuanced reading that his distinctiveness was permissible because he existed in a precarious reality that implicated him in a state of dissonance and changeability apparent throughout his cathartic diary. Likewise, – and unlike Kedourie or Peled’s reduction of Sakakini’s subjectivities to communal or confessional syndromes emerging during formative moments in history – Sakakini’s peculiarities should signal to the reader his conflicting and convoluted ambitions during a time period where allegiances were in flux.


This micro-historical investigation thus offers an appreciation for the role of the individual narrative in the larger narrative on modern Palestinian history. Peter Burke has explained that in order for a historian to produce contributive micro-narratives, he or she must be prepared to demonstrate the links between small communities or individuals, and “macro-historical trends.”77 The trends I point to in this conclusion are limited to those that appear consistently in the literature, namely, nationalism and modernity, in the case of Palestine. For a social history of Palestine, this excavation of Sakakini’s thoughts demonstrates that a complex network of associations, cognitions, relations, and sentiments emerges from his diary. While Sakakini was a member of Jerusalem’s intellectual elite, the transparent individualism with which he wrote problematizes the notion that Palestinian nationalist, Christian, or modern sentiments are historically locatable and immutable actualities in the diary. Indeed, the story of Sakakini shows that an individual constituent of one or several ideologies, consistently and subjectively thinking, feeling, and writing cannot be appropriated to symbolize the uniformity with which historians later define those ideologies, often anachronistically. Sakakini and his diary thus demonstrate that the experience of a political, confessional, or cultural identity is invariably complex and invariably linked to subjectivities that are unaccounted for in telescopic histories.


Nadim Bawalsa completed his MA in Arab Studies at Georgetown University and is currently undertaking a PhD in Middle East History and Islamic Studies at New York University.




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Gelvin, James L. Review of The Origins of Arab Nationalism, edited by Lisa Anderson et al. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 20, 1 (1993): 100-102.


Jacobson, Abigail. “Negotiating Ottomanism in Times of War: Jerusalem during World War I through the eyes of a local Muslim resident.” IJMES 40 (2008): 69-88.


Katz, Kimberly. A Young Palestinian’s Diary, 1941-1945; The life of Sami ‘Amr. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2009.


Kedourie, Elie. “Religion and Politics; The Diaries of Khalil Sakakini.” St. Antony’s Papers, vol. 4 (1958): 77-94.


Khalidi, Rashid. Palestinian Identity: The construction of modern national consciousness. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.


Langford, Rachel and Russell West, eds. Marginal Voices, Marginal Forms: Diaries in European Literature and History. Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1999.


Musallam, Akram. Editor’s note to Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini; al-intidab wa as’ilat alhawiyya, 1919-1922. Ramallah, Palestine: The Institute for Jerusalem Studies, 2004.


Nasir, Tanya. Introduction to Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini, al-kitab al-rabi’. Ramallah: The Khalil al-Sakakini Cultural Center, 2005.


Peled, M. “Annals of Doom: ‘Palestinian Literature – 1917-1948’.” Arabica, T. 29, Fasc. 2 (June 1982): 143-183.


Sakakini, Hala. Jerusalem and I. Amman, Jordan: Economic Press Co., 1990.


Sakakini, Khalil. Kadha ana ya dunya. Edited by Hala Sakakini. Beirut: al-ittihad al-‘amm lilkuttab w-l-sahafiyyin al-filastiniyyin, al-amana al-‘amma, 1982.


----------. Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini; al-intidab wa as’ilat al-hawiyya, 1919-1922. Edited by Akram Musallam. Ramallah, Palestine: The Institute for Jerusalem Studies, 2004.




1 Elie Kedourie, “Religion and Politics; The Diaries of Khalil Sakakini,” St. Antony’s Papers vol. 4 (1958): 77-94, 79.


2 Khalil Sakakini (a), Kadha ana ya dunya, ed. Hala Sakakini (Beirut: al-ittihad al-‘amm lilkuttab w-l-sahafiyyin al-filastiniyyin, al-amana al-‘amma, 1982), 89.


3 Lisa Anderson, Rashid Khalidi, et al. The Origins of Arab Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).


4 James L. Gelvin, review of The Origins of Arab Nationalism ed. Lisa Anderson et al. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 20, 1, 1993, 100-102: 101.


5 Gelvin, 101.


6 Ibid, 101.


7 Salim Tamari, “City of Riffraff: Crowds, Public Space, and New Urban Sensibilities in War-Time Jerusalem, 1917-1921” in Comparing Cities: The Middle East and South Asia, eds. Kamran Asdar Ali and Martina Rieker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 23-48.


8 Ibid, 43.


9 Khalil Sakakini (b), Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini; al-intidab wa as’ilat al-hawiyya, 1919-1922, ed. Akram Musallam (Ramallah, Palestine: The Institute for Jerusalem Studies, 2004), 12.


10 Khalil al-Sakakini (c), Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini, al-kitab al-rabi’; bayna-l-ab wal-ibn, rasa’il Khalil ila Sari fi Amrika, 1931----------. Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini, al-kitab al-rabi’; bayna-l-ab wa-l-ibn, rasa’il Khalil ila Sari fi Amrika, 1931-1932. Edited by Akram Musallam. Ramallah: The Khalil al-Sakakini Cultural Center, 2005. Segev, Tom. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, 1999. Tamari, Salim. “City of Riffraff: Crowds, Public Space, and New Urban Sensibilities in War-Time Jerusalem, 1917-1921.” Comparing Cities: The Middle East and South Asia. Edited by Kamran Asdar Ali and Martina Rieker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Toubbeh, Jamil. Day of the Long Night. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1998. Wasserstein, Bernard. “‘Clipping the Claws of the Colonisers’: Arab Officials in the Government of Palestine, 1917-48.” Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 13, 2 (May 1977): 171-194. 1932, ed. Akram Musallam (Ramallah: The Khalil al-Sakakini Cultural Center, 2005), 20.


11 Bernard Wasserstein, “‘Clipping the Claws of the Colonisers’: Arab Officials in the Government of Palestine, 1917-48,” Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 13, 2 (May 1977): 171194, 194.


12 M. Peled, “Annals of Doom: ‘Palestinian Literature – 1917-1948’” Arabica, T. 29, Fasc. 2 (June 1982): 143-183, 145-6.


13 Peled, 146.


14 Sakakini (a), 27.


15 The Orthodox nahda (Renaissance), spearheaded by Sakakini, aimed to reform the corrupt Greek Orthodox Church. In 1913, Sakakini published a pamphlet titled “The Orthodox Renaissance in Palestine” which led to his subsequent clashes with the Church hierarchy. In a telling diary entry dated 11 January 1914, Sakakini wrote of his disgust with the Greek Orthodox patriarchy and its followers: “I cannot be under the leadership of these corrupt, base priests, nor be numbered among this hateful denomination […] I am not Orthodox! I am not Orthodox!” (Sakakini (a), 57).


16 Sakakini (a), 56.


17 Ibid, 58.


18 As part of its mission, the Dusturiyyah School did not believe in a rewards-based system. Students were not given grades, prizes, or punishments; rather, teachers were instructed to foment nationalist sentiment and equality with an emphasis on physical education and music, among other things. The language of instruction was in Arabic, not Turkish, and emphasis was placed on music education and athletics.


19 Tom Segev offers an interesting interpretation of the relationship between Sakakini and Levine. Taking theirs as a micro-narrative of the broader changes sweeping through Palestine at the time, he presents an image of two men locked in an uneasy and tense state. Issues of modernity, tradition, faith, ideology, and politics intersect in their meeting. Segev rightly acknowledges that, “Both were extremely complex men, full of contradictions and with many doubts and questions about their cultures and their identities.” See Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate (New York, NY: Metropolitan Books, 1999), 27.


20 Sakakini (a), 96. 2 December 1917.


21 Sakakini (b), 10.


22 Sakakini (a), 175. 4 April 1919.


23 Sakakini (b), 93.


24 Kedourie, 93.


25 Ibid, 93.


26 Ibid, 88.


27 Ibid, 89.


28 Ibid, 89-94.


29 Sakakini (a), 145.


30 Sakakini (a), 53.


31 Ibid, 58.


32 Ibid, 63.


33 Ibid, 124-5.


34 Others have noted Sakakini’s arrogance. In his memoir, Day of the Long Night, Jamil Toubbeh, son of Issa Toubbeh, Sakakini’s friend, described Sakakini as follows: “I was never fond of [Khalil] Sakakini; arrogant and often pompous, he was, however, a model for many Palestinian youths, and I relished his biting humor and double entendres.” See Jamil Toubbeh, Day of the Long Night (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1998), 68.


35 Hala Sakakini, Jerusalem and I (Amman, JO: Economic Press Co., 1990), 29-30. [Emphases in original].


36 Hala Sakakini, 30.


37 This resonates with Philippe Lejeune’s argument that the decision to record a diary is “marked by distress” and therefore requires a degree of struggle on the part of the diarist. Philippe Lejeune, “The Practice of the Private Journal” in Marginal Voices, Marginal Forms, eds. Rachel Langford and Russell West (Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1999), 185.


38 Sakakini (a), 173.


39 Ibid, 173.


40 Ibid, 166.


41 The other visitors were Jawdat al-Qandus, Muhammad Yousef al-Khatib, Omar al-Zo’ni, and Abd al-Samad al-‘Alami.


42 Sakakini (a), 167.


43 Ibid, 167.


44 Ibid, 167.


45 Ibid, 167.


46 Ibid, 167. 30 January 1919.


47 Ibid, 182.


48 Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1957), 1. For further research conducted by different psychologists on Cognitive Dissonance Theory, see Conflict, Decision, and Dissonance, ed. Leon Festinger (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1964).


49 Festinger, 2.


50 Ibid, 3.


51 Ibid, 4-6.


52 Sakakini (c), 29.


53 Ibid, 106.


54 Ibid, 35.


55 Ibid, 34.


56 Festinger, 19.


57 Dumia was born in 1923 and Hala in 1924.


58 Festinger, 19.


59 Ibid, 22.


60 Ibid, 23.


61 Ibid, 84.


62 Ibid, 89.


63 Ibid, 89.


64 Partha Chatterjee, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World – A Derivative Discourse? (London: United Nations University, 1986), 3.


65 Chatterjee, 3.


66 Ibid, 11.


67 Ibid, 11.


68 Ibid, 30.


69 Ibid, 38.


70 Pierre Bourdieu, “Structures, Habitus, Practices” in The Blackwell Reader in Contemporary Social Theory, ed. Anthony Elliott (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999), 108.


71 Bourdieu, 110.


72 Ibid, 112.


73 Sakakini (a), 243.


74 Ibid, 243.


75 Ibid, 245.


76 Bourdieu, 118.


77 Peter Burke, History and Social Theory (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), 43.