Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Shall not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish

This is a difficult book to read, to think about, and to write about.  I am a well-educated professional woman and it was like a bucket of cold water being poured over my head to realize how ignorant I was concerning the Palestinians, their history, and their living conditions. 

There are so many things about Dr. Abuelaish's life that are just inconceivable. He was born in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip into grinding poverty that to the average person is just inconceivable.  Through work, luck, and determination that the only way out of the poverty and the only way to help the Palestinian people was through education. He determined early on to study medicine. Encouragement from teachers and his mother helped fuel his determination. He graduated from the University of Cairo with a medical degree. 

The book presents the daily frustrations and humiliations encountered by every Palestinian every day.  I had no idea how incredibly difficult just daily survival is for the Palestinians. He explains the circumstances leading up to the first and second intifada. I could barely contain myself as he told of the terrible day when his 3 daughters were killed by an Israeli rocket. 

The most incredible thing is that he refuses to fall into the cycle of revenge. He still insists that the government of Israel is not representative of the Israeli people and that the two people can live together side by side. 

He is now living with his remaining children in Canada. I think I would have taken my family out of Gaza long before he did.  

A difficult book to read but well worth it. 


barbara cecelia said...

Whew -- your review of I Shall not Hate by Abuelaish blew my emotional stability. To have three children die tragically all at once would do damage one's psyche. He must be a strong person to not only experience such a tragedy but to not hate the perpetrators. good review -- barbara

Florence said...

It was an emotional wringer for me, Barbara. At some time we must get beyond the cycle of vengeance.