Diasporic Reconciliations of Politics, Love and Trauma: Susan Abulhawa’s Quest for Identity in Mornings in Jenin

Ayman M Abu-Shomar


Negotiating human conditions is an emblematic critical impetus of diaspora informed by multiple cultural possibilities practiced through the creation of multiple spaces that cross the realm of the ‘self’ to that of the ‘other’. It offers a locale to cross from the oppressed ‘self’ to an understanding of an oppressor ‘other’. Yet, diasporic negotiation is politically involved in the most responsible manner; it engages the contextual social realities in order to enable creative possibilities for overcoming the logic of the politics altogether. It invites a kind of political involvement that assures the ‘situatedness of the ethical’ in a framework of moral humanistic realisations. The realisation of diasporic negotiations is dialogically engaged in manners that will give birth to new possibilities for human togetherness. In this essay, I trace the signs of diasporic negotiations of politics, love and trauma in Susan Abulhawa’s Mornings in Jenin by focusing on the Diasporic identity of Amal (the central character). I consider the intersections between diaspora, dislocation of identity and the creation of negotiating spaces that qualify an 'epistemology of Diaspora' against essentialised and ethnocentric construction of realities. I argue that Abulhawa creates diasporic spaces and immense moral scenes to transcend a particular stance of politics via transcending love in opposition to suffering and tribulation. I contend that Abulhawa’s conceptualisation of Diasporic negotiations enables her to depict and gauge two extreme human sentiments: love and trauma, yet, without yielding or compromising the right of just resistance and dissent.

Keywords: Diaspora, humanism, Trauma, identity, negotiating difference, and 'Otherness'

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