Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Pluto Press (January 2010)
The frontline in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Gaza is constantly reported as a place of violence and terror. Ramzy Baroud’s memoir explores the daily lives of the people in that turbulent region: the complex human beings — revolutionaries, mothers and fathers, lovers, and comedians — who make Gaza so much more than just a disputed territory. At the heart of Baroud’s tale is the story of his father who, driven out of his village to a refugee camp, took up arms to fight the occupation while trying to raise a family.
Ramzy Baroud: "This is a book about Gaza. It is also a book about my family, and in particular my father, how they moved from living as Palestinian farmers, growing their own crops, to fleeing for their lives and ending up in a Gaza refugee camp. Throughout the book I spell out the context of the Zionist invasion, and interweave my family story within the wider history of my people and the destruction of their old ways of life. So far we have many books from Israelis, some sympathetic and others not, regarding the events that led to the creation of the State of Israel, and its later expansion. But there is really very little that tells the story from those of us who lost everything. I am proud to tell you the story of my father; he symbolizes the fire of resistance in every Palestinian heart; the resistance of all human beings who are oppressed, in this case by the Zionists of Israel and by the imperial forces that support them. The writing of this book has been for me a passion, yet it is none the less an accurate reflection that has kept the Palestinian resistance alive for so long over such great odds."
Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University and Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories, UN Human Right Council: "Ramzy Baroud has written a deeply moving chronicle of the persisting Palestinian ordeal that manages to interweave and bring to life the heart-wrenching experience of his family, particularly the heroics of his father, with the daily cruelties of the prolonged Israeli occupation of Gaza, the frequent horrors of refugee existence, and the disillusioning futility of seeking an end to a bloody conflict that goes on and on. This book more than any I have read tells me why anyone of conscience must stand in solidarity with the continuing struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and a just peace."
John Pilger, award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker: "This is a very fine book: both a loving tribute to the author’s father and the struggle and pain of Palestine seen through the witness and insights of two generations. Together, they beckon freedom."
Cindy and Craig Corrie, The Rachel Corrie Foundation: "Ramzy Baroud provides a riveting account of his father’s life and a compelling narrative of his people’s history. It is the story of Exodus, but told from the view of the Palestinians on shore as the ship arrived. A narrative we have listened to time and again over sweet tea in Gaza, it is available now to those who cannot travel to Palestine. This book should be read by all who struggle to understand the Middle East and to find passage to a just peace in the region."
Salman Abu Sitta, author and historian, Founder and President of Palestine Land Society, London: "Ramzy Baroud is a gifted writer. His book is one of the few books, written in English about the life, depopulation and struggle for survival (literally) of the people of a village in south Palestine. He portrays their ordeal in over six decades, with no end in sight for their suffering. Gathered patiently from the recollections of the survivors, it stands out as an unblemished depiction of their plight. No amount of spin could obliterate that, or could deny the indefatigable persistence of Palestinians to survive and struggle to return home. In writing this book, Ramzy himself, the exiled son of that village, is proof of this persistence."
Noam Chomsky: "Ramzy Baroud’s sensitive, thoughtful, searching writing penetrates to the core of moral dilemmas that their intended audiences evade at their peril. Few are spared his perceptive eye, and only the morally callous will fail to respond to his pleas to look into the mirror honestly, to question comforting beliefs that protect us from facing our elementary responsibilities, and to act to remedy the terrible misery and injustice that he exposes to our view, as we surely can."
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder, The Free Gaza Movement: "Ramzy Baroud’s story of his parent’s bravery during Israel’s brutal 1967 war of occupation is just one of the heartrending memories he tells about Gaza. His family’s proud history stands as a symbol of Palestinian resistance since 1948, making this book a must-read for anyone who wants to know why Palestine will forever be in the hearts of the young and the memories of the old."
Reviews & Previews
Ramzy Baroud’s Article that Inspired the Book
No Checkpoints in Heaven
Book Review in Arabic – Transcript Only
Preview of Ramzy Baroud’s ‘My Father was a Freedom Fighter’
Gaza’s Untold Story – Book Review
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