Synopses & Reviews
"I was taught from the start not to be silent."
For years, renowned activist and scholar Ilana Hammerman has given the world remarkable translations of Kafka. With A Small Door Set in Concrete, she turns to the actual surreal existence that is life in the West Bank after decades of occupation.
After losing her husband and her sister, Hammerman set out to travel to the end of the world. It was on this journey that she discovered the secret of personal freedom: the ability to move from place to place without regard for rules or boundaries. This led to a resolution to travel around the West Bank to meet with its women, men, and children, to document their dreams, and to do what she can to bring them justice.
The result is A Small Door Set in Concrete. It is a moving picture of lives filled with destruction and frustration, but also infusions of joy. Whether joining Palestinian laborers lining up behind checkpoints hours before the crack of dawn in the hope of crossing into Israel for a day's work, accompanying a family to military court for their loved one's hearing, or smuggling Palestinian children across borders for a day at the beach, Hammerman fearlessly ventures into territories where few Israelis dare set foot and challenges her readers not to avert their eyes in the face of injustice.
Hammerman neither preaches or politicks. Instead, she bases the book in a much more personal, everyday kind of activism. Hammerman is adept at revealing the absurdity of a land where people are stripped of their humanity. And she is equally skilled at restoring that humanity to those caught in this political web. To those who have become simply statistics or targets to those in Israel and around the world, she gives names, faces, personalities, desires.
This is not a book that allows us to sit passively. It is a slap in the face, a necessary splash of cold water that will reawaken the humanity inside all of us.