The Student Newspaper at Middlebury College

The Middlebury Campus

The Librarian Is In

Courtesy of Davis Family Library

By KATRINA SPENCER

Literatures and cultures librarian Katrina Spencer is liaison to the Anderson Freeman Center, the Arabic department, the French department, the Gender Sexuality & Feminist Studies (GSFS Program), the Language Schools, Linguistics and the Spanish & Portuguese departments. These affiliations are reflected in her reading choices. “While I am a very slow reader, I’m a very critical reader,” she says.

Pages: 165

The What

Is there any conflict more charged and controversial than that of Israel-Palestine? Cartoonist Farid Boudjellal dares to treat the topic with humor in his monochromatic, comic tome, “Juifs Arabes” (“Jews Arabs”). The hardback features two neighbors, one a devout Jew and the other a devout Muslim, and the contending beliefs and philosophical debates in which they and their children engage. Their geographical proximity as neighbors on contested land and as neighbors makes the struggle an intimate one and their unbending fixedness on forwarding their own agendas make the characters curious mirrors of one another. What makes their quarrels even more wrenching and hilarious is that their children are in love. Boudjellal does a great job of honing in on the intergenerational differences that violently divide his older characters and are imposed on his younger ones.

The Why

I have been hearing about the Israel-Palestine conflict for 30 years but never really approached an understanding of it until I took a course about cinema of the region. Now, with Boudjellal’s text, I can revisit the discussions that came up during my course, practice French and ponder and laugh all at once. Without trying to resolve the conflict, Boudjellal highlights its inherent ironies and also gestures towards a hunger for peace, too.

Rating: 4/5 cardigans

Brave and politically charged; however, tells the same joke over and over.

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