Exile

sub-heading:
Rejecting America and Finding the World

"A searing critique of U.S. imperialism that couldn't be more perfectly timed in its release."

- Dahr Jamail, author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption
$15.00

Adding to cart… The item has been added
  • Illustrated with black-and-white photos
  • 160 pages
  • Paperback ISBN 9781682191859
  • E-book ISBN 9781682191897

about the book

Che Guevara left Argentina at 22. At 21, Belén Fernández left the U.S. and didn't look back. Alone, far off the beaten path in places like Syria and Tajikistan, she reflects on what it means to be an American in a largely American-made mess of a world.

After growing up in Washington, D.C. and Texas, and then attending Columbia University in New York, Belén Fernández ended up in a state of self-imposed exile from the United States. From trekking-through Europe, the Middle East, Morocco, and Latin America-to packing avocados in southern Spain, to close encounters with a variety of unpredictable men, to witnessing the violent aftermath of the 2009 coup in Honduras, the international travel allowed her by an American passport has, ironically, given her a direct view of the devastating consequences of U.S. machinations worldwide. For some years Fernández survived thanks to the generosity of strangers who picked her up hitchhiking, fed her, and offered accommodations; then she discovered people would pay her for her powerful, unfiltered journalism, enabling-as of the present moment-continued survival.

In just a few short years of publishing her observations on world politics and writing from places as varied as Lebanon, Italy, Uzbekistan, Syria, Mexico, Turkey, Honduras, and Iran, Belén Fernández has established herself as a one of the most trenchant observers of America's interventions around the world, following in the footsteps of great foreign correspondents such as Martha Gellhorn and Susan Sontag.

"The peripatetic is political. For more than a decade, Belén Fernández's dispatches from her self-imposed exile from the United States have charted the global sequela of U.S. post- 9/11 economic and military interventionism, its structural causes and traumatic effects, in countries such as Honduras, Turkey, and Iraq. Now, as the imperial core itself decomposes, Fernández's fascinating memoir, Exile, is a must-read how-to guide for surviving on the periphery". - Greg Grandin, author of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City and The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

About The Author / Editor

Photo courtesy the author Belén Fernández, a contributing editor at Jacobin, graduated from Columbia with a BA in political science. She frequently writes for Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye, and Jacobin, and is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work (Verso).

Read An Excerpt

The entrance to the bay of Beirut is magnificent... The town, beautifully situated on a slight eminence, occupies a considerable part of the [south] side of this bay. Beyond the narrow plain of the coast the mountains rise rapidly, and beyond them rises the broad, snow-clad Jebel Sannin… The rosy tint of the mountains contrasting with the deep blue of the sea presents a most picturesque scene by evening light.

This introduction to Beirut appeared in the 1876 Baedeker guide Palestine and Syria: Handbook for Travellers-which if nothing else should be of interest to contemporary inhabitants of the world who claim there was never any such thing as Palestine. The guide, excerpted in A Beirut Anthology: Travel Writing Through the Centuries (2015), went on to recommend the cafés near the Beirut customs house as offering the "best opportunity for observing the habits of the native population".

The anthology showcases some other observations by guests in Ottoman Syria, under which territorial category Lebanon then fell. Take the Frenchman Gérard de Nerval, whose discoveries about natives in nineteenth-century Beirut included that the head ornaments of Druze and Maronite women made them "look like the fabulous unicorns which support the royal arms of England". An excerpted note by one Gabriel Charmes in 1878 documented a "picturesque Arab" who looked on as Charmes & Co. passed en route from Sidon to Beirut, the landscape growing "steadily more beautiful, and more representative of our preconceived notion of the East than any other". The colors were "more vivid even than the dreams we have while sitting in our European mists," while the whole glorious scene "could have been a corner of Phoenicia, in antiquity".

It's no wonder, then, that Edward Said chose to begin his seminal Orientalism (1978) with a story about a French journalist who, visiting Beirut at the start of the Lebanese civil war in the mid-1970s, "wrote regretfully of the gutted downtown area that 'it had once seemed to belong to... the Orient of Chateaubriand and Nerval". Indeed, remarked Said, "the Orient was almost a European invention, and had been since antiquity a place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories and landscapes"-all of which ultimately contributed to a relationship between Occident and Orient characterized by power, domination, and "varying degrees of a complex hegemony".

in the media

Exile

sub-heading:
Rejecting America and Finding the World

"A searing critique of U.S. imperialism that couldn't be more perfectly timed in its release."

- Dahr Jamail, author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption
$15.00

Add to Cart

Adding to cart… The item has been added

about the book

Che Guevara left Argentina at 22. At 21, Belén Fernández left the U.S. and didn't look back. Alone, far off the beaten path in places like Syria and Tajikistan, she reflects on what it means to be an American in a largely American-made mess of a world.

After growing up in Washington, D.C. and Texas, and then attending Columbia University in New York, Belén Fernández ended up in a state of self-imposed exile from the United States. From trekking-through Europe, the Middle East, Morocco, and Latin America-to packing avocados in southern Spain, to close encounters with a variety of unpredictable men, to witnessing the violent aftermath of the 2009 coup in Honduras, the international travel allowed her by an American passport has, ironically, given her a direct view of the devastating consequences of U.S. machinations worldwide. For some years Fernández survived thanks to the generosity of strangers who picked her up hitchhiking, fed her, and offered accommodations; then she discovered people would pay her for her powerful, unfiltered journalism, enabling-as of the present moment-continued survival.

In just a few short years of publishing her observations on world politics and writing from places as varied as Lebanon, Italy, Uzbekistan, Syria, Mexico, Turkey, Honduras, and Iran, Belén Fernández has established herself as a one of the most trenchant observers of America's interventions around the world, following in the footsteps of great foreign correspondents such as Martha Gellhorn and Susan Sontag.

"The peripatetic is political. For more than a decade, Belén Fernández's dispatches from her self-imposed exile from the United States have charted the global sequela of U.S. post- 9/11 economic and military interventionism, its structural causes and traumatic effects, in countries such as Honduras, Turkey, and Iraq. Now, as the imperial core itself decomposes, Fernández's fascinating memoir, Exile, is a must-read how-to guide for surviving on the periphery". - Greg Grandin, author of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City and The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

About The Author / Editor

Photo courtesy the author Belén Fernández, a contributing editor at Jacobin, graduated from Columbia with a BA in political science. She frequently writes for Al Jazeera, Middle East Eye, and Jacobin, and is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work (Verso).

Read An Excerpt

The entrance to the bay of Beirut is magnificent... The town, beautifully situated on a slight eminence, occupies a considerable part of the [south] side of this bay. Beyond the narrow plain of the coast the mountains rise rapidly, and beyond them rises the broad, snow-clad Jebel Sannin… The rosy tint of the mountains contrasting with the deep blue of the sea presents a most picturesque scene by evening light.

This introduction to Beirut appeared in the 1876 Baedeker guide Palestine and Syria: Handbook for Travellers-which if nothing else should be of interest to contemporary inhabitants of the world who claim there was never any such thing as Palestine. The guide, excerpted in A Beirut Anthology: Travel Writing Through the Centuries (2015), went on to recommend the cafés near the Beirut customs house as offering the "best opportunity for observing the habits of the native population".

The anthology showcases some other observations by guests in Ottoman Syria, under which territorial category Lebanon then fell. Take the Frenchman Gérard de Nerval, whose discoveries about natives in nineteenth-century Beirut included that the head ornaments of Druze and Maronite women made them "look like the fabulous unicorns which support the royal arms of England". An excerpted note by one Gabriel Charmes in 1878 documented a "picturesque Arab" who looked on as Charmes & Co. passed en route from Sidon to Beirut, the landscape growing "steadily more beautiful, and more representative of our preconceived notion of the East than any other". The colors were "more vivid even than the dreams we have while sitting in our European mists," while the whole glorious scene "could have been a corner of Phoenicia, in antiquity".

It's no wonder, then, that Edward Said chose to begin his seminal Orientalism (1978) with a story about a French journalist who, visiting Beirut at the start of the Lebanese civil war in the mid-1970s, "wrote regretfully of the gutted downtown area that 'it had once seemed to belong to... the Orient of Chateaubriand and Nerval". Indeed, remarked Said, "the Orient was almost a European invention, and had been since antiquity a place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories and landscapes"-all of which ultimately contributed to a relationship between Occident and Orient characterized by power, domination, and "varying degrees of a complex hegemony".

in the media