Where The Oranges Grow

I first encountered Ghassan Kanafani’s work when I was studying Arabic at the University of Palermo.

Everything was new to me, I discovered a new world, maybe not completely new, but it was like I had always been a part of it.

The first book I read by Ghassan Kanafani was “The Land of Sad Oranges.” I immediately felt like I have flown to a place that seemed familiar. The sadness in that book took me back home… where the orange trees grew… to Sicily, where I had been forced to leave.

I must be a lucky woman, because I did not experience the tragedy of war, but I had a great sympathy with Kanafani’s story and the tragedy of the Palestinian people. 

We often forget how difficult it is for people to leave their homelands in search of refuge and safety, and we do not realize how their suffering and tragedy turn into a deep, incurable wound. 

I wrote “The Hoopoe’s Return” because I believe that the story of Ghassan and his niece Lamis should be passed on to new generations, so that Ghassan’s message about justice reaches our children.

Ghassan and Lamis are still sitting under the orange tree, waiting for the end of this tragedy, while the hoopoe represents the hope that we must plant in our hearts, especially in the hearts of our children… the hope of returning again.

Alessandra Amorello