Nationalism in Secret life of Saeed

Nationalism in Secret life of Saeed

In life, we always crave freedom from any oppression that comes our way. People in any country that is under oppression rule or colonized seek to be free as an independent nation. This feeling to become a united independent nation is referred as nationalism. In the book “secret life of saeed” acts of nationalism has been portrayed in many ways.

In the secret life of saeed the less optimist by Emily, saeed is a Palestinian who gains illegal entry into Israel after the deportation of Palestinian in 1948 whereby the Israelis established their new territory in 80% of Palestinian land. Their rule was cruel, and they oppressed the Palestinian, who had to live under their military rule, which was regarded as the emergency law. Saeed works and lives in Israel where he falls in love with a woman called Yuadd who he later loses when the Israelis deport her by defying their laws. She travels from Nazareth to Haifa seeking Saeed when she is captured and deported. She does not down without a fight. She bites and fights them screaming and shouting that it was his land where she was born, and it was her husband she was seeking. This shows that the Palestinians were ready to fight for their birthrights, and they refused to be tortured and oppressed and silenced.

The family of Saeed lived with the philosophy of less optimist whereby they always had a positive way to express a bad situation that had happened to him. This way of thinking always enabled this family to find a positive explanation in any worse situation. His father worked for Iraq government not because he was a nationalist but because his way of thinking convinced him, it was not a bad thing. Before Saeed is taken to prison he lives inside Israeli where collaborates and works with the Israeli government with his wife Baqqiya whom he married after his father was killed by a stray bullet while he was on the road during the fighting.

These two lived in fear of the government they had to live with the oppressive emergency law. They talked in whispers and even taught their children to do the same as they were to mind what they were speaking about and they were to do it in whispers to avoid being caught and tortured by the Israelis. These had a negative impact on morals and the upbringing of the children, which affected the community at large. Seed and his wife sired a son Walaa who hates living like his parents. He grows up loathing the life of his parents. He overhears his parents talking about a family treasure down the beach, and when he grows into a young man, he goes to seek the treasure, which he uses to buy weapons to use to fight the Israelis. Walla portrays nationalism whereby he fight for his independence, which begins with him being free from his parents oppression, and now he is determined to free fellow Palestinians from the oppressive rule of the Israelis.

The Israeli soldiers who demand him to give up his weapon capture Walaa, but he is stubborn and does not give in to their demands. Not even his mother’s pleading would push him to give up the weapons. His father listens from afar as he scream while suffocating but due to his cowardice does not do anything to save his son whom he perceived as defiant. His mothers do a heroic action whereby she dives into the ocean, and miraculously they swim to safety thus sparing her and his son the death they were about to face (Roselli 1).

Saeed no matter being a collaborator with the Israelis he does not manage to climb the social ladder but still remained to be among the insignificant people. When Saeed is imprisoned, he meets a young Saeed, who belongs to the second generations of Palestinians who believed in fighting the oppressive rule of the Israelis and gaining back their land they lost to them. In prison, Saeed is revolutionized and now becomes human and begin to believe in nationalism. The young Saeed convinces him to be radical and fight the oppressive emergency law.

There is a difference between the first generation of Palestinians who were represented by Saeed and the second generation that was composed of young men ready to pick their tool and fight for their rights. They were different in that they rejected their ancestor’s submission and opted for armed resistance. This generation did not want to survive merely through the emergency law where the soldiers had the power to question, detain people, imprison them and restrict their movement; they wanted to live a free life where they had the independence to do whatever they wanted to.

The second generation Palestinians empowers Saeed by showing him respectful recognition, which he did not get by collaborating with the Israelis. He was ready to leave the life of cowardice, fear, and submission and fight the Israelis along with the second-generation warriors known as feda’i (Mir 142-162) He denounces his self-imposed role of being an informer and this relieves himself of feelings of shame and self-rejecting he felt. He reminisces his son who was courageous enough to fight the oppressive rule. After his release, he visits a village where he fined that the villagers had been fighting the Palestinian oppression through the language of silence as they sung complaining of the oppression they faced.

Insider Palestinians among them being Saeed wife and his son Walla who resist and defy the historic oppression of the Palestinians portrays nationalism, outsider those who had been exiled both old and the second generation represented by the young Seed, who was in prison also joins them. This book portrays the efforts shown by both outsiders and insider Palestinians to free themselves from the Israelis and become an independent nation. The Palestinians have survived and defied the rule by maintaining their Arab way of life.

In life, we have to fight what is rightfully ours. As the Palestinians waged resistance, it showed they were ready to regain what they had lost which involved their land, their people who were killed during deportation and also resist the oppressive rule and become a free nation. Nationalism is called for in any country that faces colonization and oppressive rule by another country. There is always need to demand freedom and independence to operate as an independent country that has its own government and laws that govern them.


Works Cited

Habiby, Emile. The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist. Northampton: Interlink Publishing Group, 2011. Print.

Mir, Salam. “The Art and Politics of Emile Habiby II.” Arab Studies Quarterly 37.2 (2015): 142-160. Print.

Roselli, Greig. “The Secret Life of Seed the Pessoptimist.” stone sofer asmus. 2007. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

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