Why “Palestine”?

Naji Al-Ali‘s cartoon

Hot topic, we know. Since we didn’t want to give resentments a chance to fester as you perused the exposition of our opinions while looking to us to confirm your own convictions, we have chosen not to defer the announcement of our disappointing news. The Arabian Stories team won’t be taking a stance on the political situation concerning the area. However, since one cannot avoid making decisions in life, and given that the situation starts to get ugly sooner rather than later if the choices one makes are not founded on criteria one can lay out in syntactically coherent pieces, the Arabian Stories team will try to explain why we have admitted stories involving places that, under international law, currently belong to the state of Israel, which is not considered part of the Arab World.

As this is a linguistic and literary project, we have adopted linguistic criteria. Arabic is the second official language in Israel and, for better or worse, the percentage of Arabic speakers who refer to Israel and the territories comprised within its borders with an Arabic term that semantically bears any resemblance to the word “Israel” as it is used in English for that end is rather scarce. Since this site does not want to adopt a prescriptive perspective when showcasing how Arabic speakers wield their mother tongue to structure the world they find themselves in, stories with the tag “Palestine” are related, among others, to places located within what under international law is recognized as Israel. It is our belief that dogmatic approaches to language have already caused a pretty deleterious impact on the way the vast majority of Arab speakers put their slant on the conceptual sphere that allows us as humans to approximate reality and distance ourselves from it.

We hope we have not caused any irreparable damage to the sensibilities we have hurt. Please forgive us if we have offended you. We can’t help it. It is the unquenchable bloodthirst—the taste for the melodramatic—that literature has injected us with.