What Rosemary Saw: Reflections on Palestinian Women as Tellers of the Palestinian Present



Referencing the “stereotypes of self” identified by Rosemary Sayigh in the life stories of Palestinian camp women in Lebanon who had lived through the Palestinian “revolution” of the 1970s, the author focuses on the narratives of two women in Ramallah’s Am`ari refugee camp since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada to reflect on the Palestinian present. Though the women—and their goals and struggles—could not be more different, their narratives reveal significant shifts in self-representation that reflect both the impact of post-Oslo political realities and the new (unattainable) aspirations fueled by satellite television images and Ramallah café culture. The narratives also reflect, in very different ways, the national crisis, the impotence of Palestinian political groups and institutions, and the erosion of solidarities.