Twilight Nationalism: Politics of Existence at Life's End
The city of Jaffa presents a paradox: intimate neighbors who are political foes. The official Jewish national tale proceeds from exile to redemption and nation-building, while the Palestinians' is one of a golden age cut short, followed by dispossession, diaspora and resistance. The experiences of Jaffa's Jewish and Arab residents, however, reveal lives and nationalist sentiments far more ambivalent. Twilight Nationalism invokes the stories of ten of the city's elders—women and men, rich and poor, Muslims, Jews, and Christians—to radically deconstruct these national myths and challenge common understandings of belonging and alienation.
Can nationalism be eclipsed by the interpreting subject? In this provocative, and at times iconoclastic book, Daniel Monterescu and Haim Hazan turn nationalism on its head. Through the stories told at life's end, the authors demonstrate how national identification ultimately gives way to existential exigencies. Similarities in lives prove to be molded far more by socioeconomic class, age, and gender than through national allegiance, and intersections between stories usher in a politics of existence in place of politics of identity. In offering the real stories individuals tell about themselves, this book uncovers shared perspectives too long silenced and new understandings of local community previously lost in nationalist narratives.