Sahar Khalifeh’s The End of Spring novel describes the inner feelings and courage of men, women, and children during the Second Intifada. The heart-wrenching story depicts several examples of nationalism, global conflicts, the dynamics of a “globalized” world, and the relationship between desperation and terrorism.
First, “the End of Spring” alludes to nationalism while simultaneously giving a heart and face to the Palestinian struggle. Majid’s passion for music and patriotic songs helps other Palestinians to believe in freedom and the human race, including his condemning father (73). His father indicates nationalistic feelings when he scolds Issa for working at a settlement in Kiryat Shayba. Later, Arafat and others repeat, “With our souls, with our blood, we sacrifice for Palestine!” Additionally, Ahmad admits feeling a “pulse and freedom to the people (202)” At the end of the book, the prophet answers that mothers are dearest to the heart, however, the students refer to the people of Palestine as those “dearest to [their] hearts (238).” The most moving example is when Ahmad marched into the bullets of the Israeli troops. These examples demonstrate an extreme form of loyalty and pride for their country.
Second, the book describes the influence of these nationalistic examples in global conflicts between nation-states. Specifically, two nations, Israel and Palestine desire ownership over the same territory. The Palestinians fought for the Holy Land with a belief that it was theirs. Simultaneously, the Jews in Israel believe that the territory is theirs and want their own country after their experiences during the Holocaust in WWII. The abiding influence of nationalism is present in these global conflicts. For example, the Palestinians prided themselves in their ability to fight fearlessly in hand-to-hand combat. However, this pride was shut down when the Jews remained in their tanks. Ultimately, the Jews attempted to repatriate Palestine and make it into a Jewish homeland. The formation of the state of Israel’s independence was impartial because of the two poles of the Cold War. The Soviet Union was the first country to grant recognition of Israel. The Soviet Union did this because Jewish settlers had a difficult time developing the land in Israel and formed collective farms. The formation of collective farms allowed for a strong socialist wing in Zionism. This socialist wing made them amenable to the Soviet Union, who saw Israel as a potential ally. Israel was recognized first by the Soviet Union and was later recognized by President Truman. Truman was affected by the Holocaust and viewed the Jews as an important and influential ally in the war to come with the Soviet Union. Ultimately, Israel was benefitted by having both of the world’s superpowers on its side.
Third, the book shows the distinct dynamics of a globalized world. The beginning of the book hints at a minor communication integration when Ahmad and Mira, the beautiful blonde from the Israeli settlement, become “friends” (pg 32). Later, global communication such as radio, TV, security forces, and speakers would inform the Palestinians of “imminent” attacks. Majid himself becomes s TV reporter and talks with those beyond the “Wall.” During the peak of their sufferings, the orphaned Palestinian world transcended into a more interconnected world when foreign delegates provided aid to them (168). Peace activist provided supplies, protection at night, and joined civilians in their daily chores (170). These examples of communication and easy trade of supplies show the movement toward greater international influence and neoliberal order.
Lastly, Khalifeh’s work depicts the relationship between desperation and terrorism. She portrays her characters, the government, and Israeli settlements as “hopeless.” She even poses the question, “is there any escape?” The story relays several experiences where characters are trembling and bawling out of terror. Some were able to cope by remembering or imagining experiences that would ease the pain of reality (151). Most often, terror would build and lead to absolute desperation. For example, Kalifeh shared a chilling experience of a man who wrapped himself in dynamite and consequently annihilated himself and the tank. This experience clearly portrays desperation and led others to believe that “dynamite and live bodies” were the way to escape the terror (117). Some went as far to say that death would be a blessing. These examples show a highly correlated relationship between desperation and terrorism.
In conclusion, Kahlifeh’s work takes the reader inside the hearts of the Palestinians. They are trapped in a hopeless and violent country whose “wall” cuts them off from family, medical care, and other needed resources. Her writing demonstrates patriotic feelings and efforts, global conflicts, and a movement towards a globalized world. Ultimately, Kalifeh illustrates a Palestinian world filled with horrifying experiences of terror, desperation, and a lack of beauty and humanity.