Speaking Palestinian: An Interview with Rosemary Sayigh

This interview is part of a longer conversation that independent researcher Mayssun Soukarieh conducted with Rosemary Sayigh in Beirut during the summer of 2008. Sayigh, an anthropologist, oral historian, and researcher, was born in Birmingham in the United Kingdom and moved to Beirut in 1953, where she married the Palestinian economist Yusif Sayigh. She earned her master’s degree from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1970 and was awarded a PhD from Hull University in Yorkshire in 1994. Since coming to Beirut fifty-six years ago, Sayigh has dedicated her life to writing and advocating for the Palestinians in Lebanon and elsewhere. She is the author of two groundbreaking books: Palestinians: From Peasants to Revolutionaries; A People’s History (Zed Books, 1979) and Too Many Enemies: The Palestinian Experience in Lebanon (Zed Books, 1993). Although these conversations focused on Sayigh’s scholarly work rather than her personal history, it became clear that the two are inextricably linked.