Barghouti, Mourid 1944-

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BARGHOUTI, Mourid 1944-

PERSONAL: Born 1944, in Deir Ghassani, Palestine; married Radwa Ashour (a novelist); one child.

ADDRESSES: Home—Cairo, Egypt. Agent—c/o Author Mail, American University in Cairo Press, 420 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10018-2729.

CAREER: Worked as a teacher in Kuwait and at the Palestine Radio, Cairo, Egypt. Member, Sakakini General Assembly.

AWARDS, HONORS: Mahfouz Najib Literature Prize, American University in Cairo, 1997, for I Saw Ramallah.


I Saw Ramallah, translated by Ahdaf Soueif, foreword by Edward W. Said, American University in Cairo Press (New York, NY), 2000.

SIDELIGHTS: A contributor to the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre Web site called Mourid Barghouti "one of the most famous Palestinian poets." In 1997 he won the Mahfouz Najib Literature Prize from Cairo's American University for I Saw Ramallah.

In 1967 Barghouti left his village of Deir Ghassanah, located just outside of Ramallah, for Cairo's American University to finish his final exams before graduation. Before he had a chance to finish the exams, Israeli troops took control of Ramallah and Deir Ghassanah. Unable to return to his home and his family, Barghouti stayed in Cairo. While there, he married, but in 1977 was forced to move out of Cairo, leaving his pregnant wife behind. He settled in Budapest, separated from his wife and son. Over the following years Barghouti was not able to settle in one location for long, living in such places as Baghdad, Beirut, Budapest, Amman, and then again in Cairo. Arab World Books contributor Hugh Galford commented, "Rather than a place, 'home' and 'family' have become extractions and ideals," for Barghouti at this time in his life. Finally in 1996, nearly thirty years after he left, Barghouti was able to return to the village of Deir Ghassanah and nearby Ramallah for a short visit.

In I Saw Ramallah Barghouti describes his thirty-year ordeal and the trip back to Ramallah and Deir Ghassanah. He illustrates in great detail what he sees when he reaches his destination and how the Palestinian people have changed. "Barghouti writes in a poetic prose whose unexpected images constantly open new vistas for the reader," praised W. L. Hanaway in a Choice review. Al-Ahram Weekly contributor Youssef Rakha called the book a "beautifully constructed and moving memoir."



Choice, July, 2001, W. L. Hanaway, review of I Saw Ramallah, p. 1954.

Middle East Journal, autumn, 2001, Aida A. Bamia, review of I Saw Ramallah, p. 687.

New Yorker, November 19, 2001, Dana Goodyear, review of I Saw Ramallah, p. 22.

Times Literary Supplement, April 19, 2002, Peter Clark, "Despair of the Heart," p. 28.


Al-Ahram Weekly Online, (August 28, 2002), Maggie Morgan, "A Certain Idea of Palestine"; Youssef Rakha, "The World in Prose."

Arab World Books Web site, (August 28, 2002), Hugh Galford, review of I Saw Ramallah.

Cairo Times Online, (August 28, 2002), Richard Woffenden, "Reading Is Believing."

In These Times, (August 28, 2002), Benjamin Kunkel, "The Homecoming."

Islam Online, (August 28, 2002), Joanne McEwan, review of I Saw Ramallah.

Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre Web site, (August 28, 2002), "Palestinian Poets: Mureed Barghouti."*