Dancing Arabs has officially joined its previous: The Catcher in the Rye, to my growing list of overrated books. For a book that used to be banned from Jordan for cursing and mocking King Hussein, I believe they should rethink banning it for being too shallow and spinning in closed circle. However, I thought when Sayed Kashua wrote the screenplay for its movie, he’d at least “CONSIDER” containing the main plot. Taking this silly thought into consideration, I was full of hopeful fantasies toward the book . But apparently the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its movie.” is true, vise versa in this case.
Being an Arab, I know exactly what the protagonist feels toward his family and society, though the book was written in 2002, yet everything the book has included is still applied so far; letting our parents decide what we should study and do with our lives, marrying someone from our clan, village or family and the list goes on. Nevertheless, what appears to intercede for the book is the fact that he showed real feelings toward his desire to become a Jew, to become a citizen. He wants peace, he wants Arabs (especially Palestinians) to cease being self-contradictory and have one fixed attitude towards things, and he surely wants them to cease being “Dancing Arabs”.
Personally, I felt extremely attached to his youngest brother’s personality. He took advantage of his broken tooth to lessen his communication with others, including his family members. He took off to Tel Aviv and bought himself a new identity. Unlike the protagonist who stayed in the village horsing around and being lousy, dependant kind of a person who only take pleasure of dreaming and hoping of becoming a Jew instead of achieving this hope.
However, I own a copy of the first edition of the book. It’s full of typos, but the style of writing was beautiful and coherent, he has that smooth way of telling a story without pushing me around irrelevant details which eases off my agony and lets me imagine for a minute being a Jew, who’s living in the other side, how my life would be, what are the qualities I might get just for being a Jew. And why we have to be us and them, no one can deny the fact that Zionists invaded Palestine, but according to the current circumstances, let’s not let the idea of peace and living together fade into oblivion, let’s have the terms of peace on the table to stop the bloodshed. Israel became reality we shouldn’t deny this, at least to ourselves.