Suicide in Palestine: Narratives of Despair
This book is a pioneering anthropological study of suicide in the contemporary Arab world. It discusses the effects of life under the Israeli occupation on the mental health of young Palestinians, using selected case studies of men and women who attempted suicide in the West Bank, above all in the city of Ramallah, but also in Jenin. This is not a book about martyrs, or those who gain so much media attention by dying for a 'holy cause'; rather it concerns those who wish to die for entirely private reasons. Contrary to wider expectations, fatal suicide levels in Palestinian society remain low compared with Western norms, notwithstanding the many stress factors that have been shown to contribute to suicidal behaviour in the West, including unemployment and social deprivation. Above all, suicide is found to be contrary to the concept of Palestinian identity, of a people under siege for whom resistance is paramount, rather than succumbing to depression or despair.
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