Baroud, Ramzy. My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story. 2010. Pluto Press, London, UK.

Ramzy Baroud's book review by Theresa Wolfwood

Ramzy Baroud is the founder and editor of www.palestinechronicle.com an online news service and he has written several books about Palestine. This new book is the story of just one man, not famous or particularly special — only special in that he is Ramzy´s father and that through the story of his life, the tragedy of Gaza is revealed.

He was probably born in 1938 to poor farmers in the village of Beit Daras in Palestine, (see: www.palestineremembered.com) a village with a long history and important archaeological sites NE of Gaza City. In 1948 it was reduced to rubble and the inhabitants were attacked by Israel. Those who survived the massacre became refugees, including Ramzy´s family. Their 20,000 descendents now live in refugee camps and a few who got out, like Ramzy who left as a teenager, live in exile around the world. And like Ramzy, they all refuse to be lost in history and continue the just struggle to regain their home.

This book is a rarity; it personalizes this struggle in one family and community. The author writes, “From afar, Gaza´s reality, like that of all of Palestine, is often presented without cohesions, without proper context; accounts of real life in Gaza are marred with tired assumptions and misrepresentations that deprive the depicted humans of their names, identities and very dignity.”

Ramzy´s father was one of a group who tried to defend their home, but they were overwhelmed by massive military strength. The ensuing life in refugee camp, even long before the current blockade and invasions was difficult and demeaning. Palestinians are tenacious people who do their best in every circumstance to live a ´normal life.´ This is not always possible and family life reflects the strains of the lack of freedom, adequate health care and other necessities we take for granted. Mohammed, Ramzy´s father and his mother, Zarefah, died too young, but they still managed to keep hope alive for future generations as they raised a family and participated in community life. As we read this compelling story we learn important history

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