Baroud, Ramzy. The Last Earth: A Palestrina Story. 2018. Pluto Press, UK. ISBN 978074533800 2
Review and author photo at Victoria book signing by Theresa Wolfwood
“Let me arrange my evening with that which suits my failure and her absence.” Mahmoud Darwish
“no east, no west, this is the uprising of the people” p.191
Baroud’s most recent book is all about Palestinians, their lives, their personal stories, told in their own voices. Baroud, founder of www.Palestinechroncile.com and author of books about his father, the Intifada,(see www.bookreviews.bbcf.com for reviews) has allowed Palestinians to speak for themselves. Baroud left Gaza as a young adult and he has deep roots in Palestinian history; he brings a special sensitivity to the many voices he recorded when creating this memoir.
We can read and view on media the sensational horrors of the seventy years of Israeli occupation of Palestine; from time to time we learn about major political personalities. The Last Earth is not that story.
Although Palestinian lives are changed and broken by the ongoing brutality of the occupation, every person has her or his own story of life set in this political context; lives of people who grow up, have families, have joys and tragedies, lives of human existence to which we can relate and feel a deep bond with people we may never know personally beyond celebrity and sensation.
I am reminded of the words of many friends in Palestine, when I go there, they say: living a normal life under occupation is a form of resistance. Palestinians refuse to deny their humanity and their dreams.
In the words of Kamal in a letter to his mother, “I know how great our need is, but I hope that you underhand that my moral duty compels me to help others who are in greater need than us.”
As I write this review, peaceful Palestinians in Gaza often called, “the world’s largest open air prison,” are being attacked, killed and injured by Israeli soldiers for trying to tell the world they want the freedom and independence that most of us enjoy. So many there are refugees from other parts of Palestine; they demand the right of return as stated in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Living a normal life in Gaza is almost impossible. “Gaza has a way of making you grow up in a hurry.” I think of all the young people inhaling those black clouds of toxins the Israelis are pouring across the border.
I urge readers to reflect on these stories, accept our shared humanity and then take action to end the collaboration of our own governments and media in the oppression of Palestinian people. They are committed to their struggle for freedom. Let us support them in the spirit of humanity and the olive tree.
Theresa Wolfwood is a Victoria, BC Canada writer and activist who has made many solidarity journeys to Palestine and Jordan. See www.bbcf.ca