He didn’t get to enjoy what he planted in his life. He had been a successful farmer, the son of a respected landowner, but then he was homeless, living in a refugee camp, raising this children there, working as a guard, never earning enough money. It was humiliating for him. I could feel his anxiety throughout my boyhood, and as my life began to improve at medical school in Cairo, I felt guilty that my father hadn’t been able to be the role model to his children that he believed he should be.
Izzeldin Abuelaish-Page 65-I shall not hate
Reflecting on the passing away of his father
If I could know that my daughters were the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis, then I would accept their loss.
Reflecting on the passing away of his daughters.
A note on gracereadings.com– this was the reading journal of the Tripoli reading group. Having been away from Tripoli for some time, I resume this Reading journal, by becoming part of book clubs in Mississauga Library system.
For those interested in the Tripoli reading group and its discussions- click here http://wp.me/P5YX3a-3 for some background notes
WHY A READING GROUP…When we first met in the coffee tables of the Grand hotel of Tripoli, we wanted to have a regular forum to discuss using Literature as a Framework, to know what a particular work of literature tells about society, culture, civilization or an issue.
EVERYDAY HISTORY SOCIETY- This Reading group also evolved into an Everyday History Society- in which we interviewed and wrote the narratives of common working people, expatriate workers in Tripoli and narratives related to the Libyan February 17 Revolution of 2011
The first book was – I shall not hate– by the Gaza doctor , Izzeldin Abuelaish. This book was discussed in Courtney park Public library. He was part of the generation which has seen their parents generation moving out of what was Palestine, grown in the times of the 1967 war, seen the two Intifadas and nurtured his family through these turbulences.
A METHOD OF REFLECTION
Dr Abuelaish reflects the different events which shaped his family life, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The participants agreed that this is a message of hope and love, in a bitter conflict, where both sides only see what wrong the other did.
The passages following the deaths of his father (page 65) his mother (page 80) and daughters (Page 167) are deeply humane reflective surreal moments where the Gaza doctor looks back on what life was, what life is now, and what the future holds for his family and his people.
His answer to the cries of reprisal is one of the high points of his book
“ But the cries for reprisals didn’t stop. What about the soldier who fired the deadly volleys from the tank- didn’t I hate him? But that’s how the system works here: we use hatred and blame to avoid the reality that eventually we need to come together. As for the solder who shelled my house, I believe in his conscience he has already punished himself, that he is asking himself, “What have I done?”. And even if he doesn’t think that now, tomorrow he will be a father. He will suffer for his actions when he sees how precious is the life of his child.
BROTHERHOOD-SISTERHOOD OF MEDICINE
The book talks about the brotherhood and sisterhood of medicine- where humanity is discovered through the care of the sick, where one sees the patient, not the nationality or the ethnicity. This experience gained from a life time of working in different hospitals around the world is a powerful message for anyone involved in conflict ridden areas.
RATING AND DISCUSSIONS
While discussion in the Book club in the library, the average rating given to the book was 7 out of 10, with some participants raising the question of why as an educated enlightened person of medicine, he had gone ahead and had eight children. Is it because of the culture from which he belongs. Over all, participants gave credit for the deep humanity which the book speaks of.
The book gives voice to the Palestinian suffering.