Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh on Democracy Now, and sharing his stories from Palestinian Galilee

hk-w-joint-list-poster-on-dn.jpg Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh, author of Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor's Tales of Life in Galilee, appeared on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman last week, where as a veteran member of the Palestinian community within Israel he explained the importance of the newfound coordination among the community's major political parties.

Just before his appearance on Democracy Now!, Kanaaneh had completed a visit to Washington DC where he kept audiences at four venues engaged and informed with his readings from Chief Complaint, and his discussion of some of the issues raised in the book's stories.


Among those readings was one at Georgetown University, where Palestinian professor Salim Tamari prodded him to describe the situation of the 1.2 million ethnic Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship. Dr. Kanaaneh quoted one Palestinian-Israeli historian as having described what happened to their community at the time of the atrocity-laden establishment of the State of Israel as that, "a terrible border crossed over us."

Dr. Kanaaneh also read from the last story in the book, "Insomnia."

The stories in the book are all named after medical complaints-- each one being the "chief complaint" that causes the patient to come to the general practitioner. "Insomnia" is the story of an elderly Palestinian refugee from a village near to Dr. Kanaaneh's native Arrabeh who is finally able, late in his life, to come back to visit the ruins of his family's ancestral home.


In another reading, at the Palestine Center, Kanaaneh read excerpts from "Swollen Abdomen." That event was livestreamed, and the video recording of it can now be viewed here.

British author Jonathan Cook has said of Chief Complaint that Kanaaneh's "intimate portraits of village life contain far bigger truths about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than any dry political analysis." Other commentators have noted that they present an intricate, richly textured picture of the travails the Palestinian citizens of Israel have suffered throughout their 67 years of life as a marginalized, excluded community under a government that privileges the needs of Jewish-immigrant newcomers over those of the remnants of the land's indigenous Palestinians.

In mid-April, Kanaaneh will be taking his tales of Palestinian life in Galilee to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he will be doing readings from the book at a number of public events. Please watch our Events Calendar for details of these events, or learn the details from our West Coast representative, Erica Marcus (

We are also hoping that Dr. Kanaaneh can come back and do more book events in the Fall. If you'd like to invite him to his tales of life in Galileen to your community group, cogregation, or classroom, please let us know!

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