Synopses & Reviews
"Nammar was born in Jerusalem in 1941 to wealthy landowners with ancestral ties to the region stretching back hundreds of years; his childhood was rich with family, friends, and educational opportunities amidst a diverse and tolerant population. But all that changed when his school bus was brutally attacked by machine gunners, killing two of his classmates, and injuring many more. Though his 'body had been spared,' Nammar writes that thenceforth he was 'spiritually wounded.' That metaphysical grievance become all too real when just a few years later, at the age of seven, he and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced in the exodus (which some considered an ethnic cleansing) known as the Nakba, a result of Israel's declaration of independence and the violence visited upon them by Menachim Begin and his 'paramilitary gang.' In a surprisingly measured voice, the author details the ensuing struggles faced by his family and countless others, the solace he found in swimming at the YMCA, and his difficult decision, at 23 years old, to finally flee his conflict-ridden homeland for the United States. Nammar writes that Israel 'didn't afford me a voice, economic independence, or a future. It had torn apart...my cohesive self.' His story is moving and serves as an argument in its own right for peace in a region that has been characterized for far too long by politico-religious strife. B&W photos & maps. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.