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Abstract

The Spanish-language anthology Caminos para la paz: Literatura israelí y árabe en castellano (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2007) [Paths towards/for Peace: Israeli and Arab literature in Castilian], compiled by Ignacio López-Calvo and Cristián Ricci, offers us a collection of over thirty reflections—some Jewish, others Muslim—about the millennial but also contemporary situation of two literally related and historic peoples in a language—Spanish—that seemingly allows them to inhabit the same, this time uncontested, space. Despite the potentially questionable title of the work, which couches the conflict as that of a nation-state versus a nation and/or two peoples contesting rights to one same land, the anthology makes a daring attempt to invite multi-positional authors to express themselves openly without fear about matters that, through a third language, appear to transcend their political and national boundaries. According to the compilers, the search for Muslim contributors to this collection was sometimes met with aggression and threats to capitulate. One coeditor explained that nearly midway through the project most of the non-North African, Muslim contributors backed out after being warned by naysayers of the negative consequences of their participation in this literary convivencia or coexistence. Those who eventually did contribute—some Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa (from Ceuta, Morocco or Tétouan), and a few more, Latin American Jewish immigrants to Israel (from Argentina, Chile, Mexico)—saw in this project “una oportunidad de regresar al hogar común del idioma [an opportunity to return to the common home of language]” (Ricci & López-Calvo, p. 12). Caminos para la paz represents a kind of 'tierra (com)prometida,' a socially and politically committed and promised land whose existence and survival goes beyond the disputed and bloodied land itself, one in which the writers (and readers) “could return to their common home of language” (p. 12).