Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

COMPANIONS IN CONFLICT: Animals in Occupied Palestine

  • Written by  Laura Cole
  • Published in Books
COMPANIONS IN CONFLICT: Animals in Occupied Palestine
15 Mar
2019
by Penny Johnson • Melville House • £25 (hardback/eBook)

In 2016, an animal charity relocated ‘the last tiger in Palestine’, Laziz, from the Gaza Strip’s zoo to his new home in South Africa. While many Palestinians came to the zoo to say a fond farewell, others made the cynical observation that it was better to be an animal than a person in Gaza, where even cancer patients often cannot receive permits to leave for treatment. ‘The worst zoo in the world imprisons humans as well as other animals,’ writes Penny Johnson.

In this elegant and thoughtful book, Johnson finds new ways to understand the Israel and Palestine conflict. Through a range of species, from wolves, hyenas, gazelles and leopards, to donkeys, cattle and camels, Companions in Conflict estranges us from levels of violence in a place where it has become disturbingly normalised. In doing so, it reads as a non-fiction answer to Micheal Murpogo’s War Horse – looking to animals caught in the crossfire to learn more about ourselves. As with Laziz, the comparison can be painful. ‘But it could – and sometimes does – lead to a deeper understanding of the common conditions faced by people and other animals in occupied Palestine.’

Crucially, Johnson does not argue that animal rights be valued over humans. In fact, she challenges such ideas, criticising a particularly tactless effort by PETA to stop violence on donkeys during the second intifada in 2003. Meanwhile, she brings attention to brave and informal environmental and animal protection networks that are working across borders. Overall, the book views the region’s animals as a shared wealth and its environments, ‘crisscrossed with human barriers, both physical and ideological’ as a common denominator. Throughout, she addresses the core question: ‘what do we need, for humans as well as other mammals, for our common lives in Palestine and Israel to flourish?’

Click here to purchase Companions in Conflict by Penny Johnson from Amazon

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter and get a free collection of eBooks!

geo line break v3

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by John Haywood • Thames & Hudson • £19.95 (hardback)

Books

by Ed Stafford • White Lion Publishing • £30 (hardback/eBook)

Books

In need of inspiration? Check out Geographical’s best books of…

Books

by Rory MacLean • Bloomsbury • £20 (hardback)

Books

by David Runciman • Profile Books • £14.99 (hardback)

Books

Give the gift of adventure this year with these superb…

Books

by David Sim • Island Press • £26 (paperback)

Books

by Tamin Ansary • Public Affairs • £21.99 (hardback)

Books

DK • £30 (hardback)

Books

by Philip Marsden • Granta • £20 (hardback)

Books

by James Lovelock • Allen Lane • £14.99 (hardback)

Exhibitions

The largest collection of treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb ever to…

Films

Fresh from an award-winning screening at the Sundance Film Festival…

Films

The inside story about The Cave – the first feature…

Books

by Laura Waters • Affirm Press (via bookdepository.com) • £16.61 (paperback)

Books

by John Halpern, MD and David Blistein • Hachette Book…

Books

by Gavin Thurston • Seven Dials • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Jon Gertner • Icon Books • £18.99 (hardback)