Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding

Opinion Editorials, June 2010


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Letters from Palestine

A New Book By Kenneth Ring and Mohammed Omer 

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, June 21, 2010

Palestinians Speak Out about Their Lives, Their Country, and the Power of Nonviolence

About the Book

Many books have been written dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the pro-Israeli perspective. However, relatively few reflect the Palestinian point of view. Letters from Palestine is one of the rare books that offers an American audience the chance to listen to and learn about the lives of actual Palestinian people as they describe what it is like to live in the occupied territories of the West Bank or Gaza, or to grow up as a Palestinian in the U.S.

Many of these stories can be read almost as if each contributor is writing a letter to an American friend that will give the reader a vivid sense both of the writer’s own personality and his or her daily life as a Palestinian. To further this sense of personal intimacy, each contribution is accompanied by a photograph and an introductory paragraph or two about the writer.

The contents include not only accounts of everyday trials, hassles and humiliations that Palestinians suffer, but stories of triumphs over these adversities and the use of humor to cope with the sometimes almost surreal absurdities of life under occupation. These stories -- lively, poignant, tragic, funny, reflective, heartbreaking -- as a whole contain much to inspire the reader with the resourcefulness of the Palestinian people and to demonstrate their resilience and creativity under the most trying of conditions. There are also stories about life under the destructive sieges of 2002, and the book ends with some searing firsthand dispatches of what people experienced during the savage bombardment of Gaza in 2008-2009.

In sum, here you will meet and come to know Palestinians in all their humanness and begin to see them beyond the usual stereotypes. Most of all, the stories in this book are meant to introduce Americans to contemporary Palestinians who represent both the traditions of their culture and the bright promise of their future.




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