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My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story

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Gaza is the frontline in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and rarely out of the news, this book explores the daily lives of the people in the region, giving us an insight into what is at risk in each round of violence. Ramzy Baroud tells his father's fascinating story. Driven out of his village to a refugee camp, he took up arms and fought the occupation at Gaza is the frontline in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and rarely out of the news, this book explores the daily lives of the people in the region, giving us an insight into what is at risk in each round of violence. Ramzy Baroud tells his father's fascinating story. Driven out of his village to a refugee camp, he took up arms and fought the occupation at the same time raising a family and trying to do the best for his children. Baroud's vivid and honest account reveals the complex human beings; revolutionaries, great moms and dads, lovers, and comedians that make Gaza so much more than just a disputed territory.


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Gaza is the frontline in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and rarely out of the news, this book explores the daily lives of the people in the region, giving us an insight into what is at risk in each round of violence. Ramzy Baroud tells his father's fascinating story. Driven out of his village to a refugee camp, he took up arms and fought the occupation at Gaza is the frontline in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and rarely out of the news, this book explores the daily lives of the people in the region, giving us an insight into what is at risk in each round of violence. Ramzy Baroud tells his father's fascinating story. Driven out of his village to a refugee camp, he took up arms and fought the occupation at the same time raising a family and trying to do the best for his children. Baroud's vivid and honest account reveals the complex human beings; revolutionaries, great moms and dads, lovers, and comedians that make Gaza so much more than just a disputed territory.

30 review for My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    George Polley

    The more I read about the history of the Palestinian people, the more I am reminded of the history of America’s indigenous people since Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Hispaniola in 1492. In both cases ethnic cleansing with its accompanying genocide were norms, especially when the indigenous peoples fought back. In both cases the indigenous populations were treated with disrespect, contempt and removal. And in both cases, genocide and ethnic cleansing were denied by the conquerors a The more I read about the history of the Palestinian people, the more I am reminded of the history of America’s indigenous people since Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Hispaniola in 1492. In both cases ethnic cleansing with its accompanying genocide were norms, especially when the indigenous peoples fought back. In both cases the indigenous populations were treated with disrespect, contempt and removal. And in both cases, genocide and ethnic cleansing were denied by the conquerors and their friends. In the public discourse, we’re the good guys, they the villains. As Israeli historian Shlomo Sand says “what history does not wish to relate, it omits,” as if omitting it wipes the slate of history clean. It does not. Eventually, liked or not, truth emerges and has to be faced. For the Palestinians, many people still believe the old story. Just recently I heard someone say “it’s hard to feel much sympathy for them when they spend so much time killing innocent people.” That’s the approved story, and vested interests would like to keep it that way, but with the advent of the Internet and the vocal voice of Palestinian journalists like Ramzy Baroud, this is rapidly changing. It is way past time that we all hear the Palestinian side of the story of what has happened to them since Israel became a nation in 1948 with the blessing of the UN, the U.S., Britain, France and other European powers. The truth, it is said will make us free when we hear and understand it. It is not always a pleasant experience, nor should it be. Ramzy Baroud’s book, My Father Was a Freedom Fighter is an important book. It is more than the story of his father, grandfather, their ancestral village of Beit Daras, its obliteration and their flight to Gaza. It is the story of the Palestinian people since 1948 when a well-trained army of 65,000 attacked them, making over 700,000 of them refugees. It is the story of their heroic will to live, to educate themselves, and to provide for their families. It is also the story of constant persecution and agony that culminates in the apocalyptic destruction of Gaza during Israel’s monstrously-named “Operation Cast Lead”. Ramzy Baroud is a fine writer, his book is well-researched, and the story of his family’s experience one that is easily understood. It doesn’t make for pleasant reading, nor should it. I came away from it with an appetite to learn more. Pick up a copy, read and reread it, quarrel with it, listen, and do more research on your own. That’s what I do.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jyv

    A moving book told, on a personal level and of historical fact, of the greatest injustice of our time, aided and abetted by those who tout freedom and democracy - the USA. All should read about the atrocities committed by Israel in the name of some erroneous claim to an historical homeland.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Oraynab Jwayyed

    When I first came across the title of this book, My Father was a Freedom Fighter, I thought, "How brave". Anyone with any connection to the Middle East understands the risk such a statement makes. This is especially true after 9-11 and even more so in the wake of terrorist attacks abroad from so-called Islamists. The book is told in three perspectives: historical, personal, and first account. Readers are taken on the unfortunate journey of Ramzy Baroud's family from their native village of Beit When I first came across the title of this book, My Father was a Freedom Fighter, I thought, "How brave". Anyone with any connection to the Middle East understands the risk such a statement makes. This is especially true after 9-11 and even more so in the wake of terrorist attacks abroad from so-called Islamists. The book is told in three perspectives: historical, personal, and first account. Readers are taken on the unfortunate journey of Ramzy Baroud's family from their native village of Beit Daras to the refugee camps of Gaza. The journey is well documented and supported by academic research, the author's personal interviews and stories handed down by his family, and those narrated by the elderly women of Beit Daras, such as Um Mohammad and Um Adel. We learn about Baroud's father, Mohammad, and his struggle for recognition and a final return to his village. We're also exposed to the suffering of the people of Gaza, as well as their resilience and commitment to life and living. Unlike other books that cover the Palestinian's dispossession, Baroud breaks the monotony and sadness of their suffering with a touch of humor that stems from fond memories of his youth. It's a book that should be read by anyone who wants to understand how a people can still learn to live despite a brutal occupation.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karolin

    really moving insights into the life of palestinians in gaza's refugee camps and their struggle to obtain a somewhat ordinary life. sometimes it was a little dragging, though, especially the parts of the book that happened before the author was born. got better and better towards the end, as the author could tell the happenings mostly from his own memory. can recommend it to all who are interested in understanding the palestian view of the conflict. really moving insights into the life of palestinians in gaza's refugee camps and their struggle to obtain a somewhat ordinary life. sometimes it was a little dragging, though, especially the parts of the book that happened before the author was born. got better and better towards the end, as the author could tell the happenings mostly from his own memory. can recommend it to all who are interested in understanding the palestian view of the conflict.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Batool AK

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There are very few books that leave such a huge impact on me that I end up seeing myself as pre- and post- that book. This is one of those few. As an Arab and a Muslim that belongs to an oppressed people, the Palestinian cause has always been close my heart. I grew up seeing images of young Palestinian boys facing soldiers with nothing but bare chests and stones. This was a painful book to read, and my progress was slow because the facts, the numbers, the details made my blood boil. But througho There are very few books that leave such a huge impact on me that I end up seeing myself as pre- and post- that book. This is one of those few. As an Arab and a Muslim that belongs to an oppressed people, the Palestinian cause has always been close my heart. I grew up seeing images of young Palestinian boys facing soldiers with nothing but bare chests and stones. This was a painful book to read, and my progress was slow because the facts, the numbers, the details made my blood boil. But throughout, I kept thinking the same thing: if this is how reading it makes me feel, how did the author manage to write it?? To not only research and add facts and numbers and quotes, but to do that while knowing that he is describing his own people. His grandparents being forced to flee their own home. His father being forced to beg as a young boy to help provide for the family. His mother dying after being beaten by Israeli soldiers and not getting proper medical help. His father dying alone in a refugee camp because "it was determined that it was too great a risk for the security and the well-being of the State of Israel (..) to grant him a permit to enter the West Bank for treatment, or at least to die in the company of his sons". It is beyond me how the Palestinian people have survived all the oppression, all the injustice, and all the times they were abandoned by supposed allies. The author says: "One would think that a place seemingly accustomed to death like Gaza would tire from keeping track of its victims, especially when there are so many to count. But the Strip's victims, old or new, are never mere numbers, but people with names, faces and families; their posters adorn the scruffy and decaying walls of every refugee camp." This is a book that I will keep. It is a book that I will pass on to my children. And I will explain to them that the VERY LEAST we can do is to listen to what the Palestinians have to say. To acknowledge their suffering and amplify their voices. And most importantly: to never forget.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    Great introduction to the plight of the Palestinian people. The book manages to blend personal history with that of Palestine, and Gaza in particular. It debunks common misconceptions about the peace process as well as the creation of Israel and destroys the misrepresentation of Gaza in the media. Underscores the reasons why many Palestinians rejected the Oslo-accords and why they resent the corrupt and authoritarian P.A. A good book for those who wonder; Why armed struggle? Why Hamas? Why the fi Great introduction to the plight of the Palestinian people. The book manages to blend personal history with that of Palestine, and Gaza in particular. It debunks common misconceptions about the peace process as well as the creation of Israel and destroys the misrepresentation of Gaza in the media. Underscores the reasons why many Palestinians rejected the Oslo-accords and why they resent the corrupt and authoritarian P.A. A good book for those who wonder; Why armed struggle? Why Hamas? Why the first intifada? Or the second one? It helps to understand the Palestinian struggle and mindset. More importantly; it humanizes the resistance by adding emotions like humiliation to the narrative. Vivid, and well written. Full of compassion and heart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abdulrahman Murad

    An amazing marriage of historical facts and personal narration. As much as I liked the simplicity of characterization and language, smooth moving between chapters, description of intellectual and daily life in pre-1948 occupation towns and cities, I lived the diaspora pains experienced by Mohammed Baroud's family of Beit Darras An amazing marriage of historical facts and personal narration. As much as I liked the simplicity of characterization and language, smooth moving between chapters, description of intellectual and daily life in pre-1948 occupation towns and cities, I lived the diaspora pains experienced by Mohammed Baroud's family of Beit Darras

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    A moving account of one man's experience of losing his home and ultimately his hope living under the brutal and unjust Israeli occupation of Gaza. This book provides a valuable human face to the long suffering Palestinian refugees as well as the historical context to the current situation in Gaza. A moving account of one man's experience of losing his home and ultimately his hope living under the brutal and unjust Israeli occupation of Gaza. This book provides a valuable human face to the long suffering Palestinian refugees as well as the historical context to the current situation in Gaza.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    Beautiful and terrible to bear witness to. Despite including a lot of names, dates, numbers, and historical accounts of battles and resistance (which normally I find hard to follow), this book read more like a novel than a difficult history book and made Palestine's history come alive through the story of his family. Recommend. Beautiful and terrible to bear witness to. Despite including a lot of names, dates, numbers, and historical accounts of battles and resistance (which normally I find hard to follow), this book read more like a novel than a difficult history book and made Palestine's history come alive through the story of his family. Recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    David Anderson

    Loved this book. The author did a great job of explaining about life in Palestine before the English left, when Egypt and other countries tried to take control, and up to present day. Palestine deserves to be its own country. Free Palestine!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Troy Stevenson

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gilles

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jake

  14. 4 out of 5

    Khushi

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Villwock

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mohammad

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mira Klein

  18. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aaah

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  21. 4 out of 5

    I

  22. 4 out of 5

    Israa Suliman

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashutosh Bharadwaj

  24. 5 out of 5

    Richard Morris

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shilpa Rao

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Martinez

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bettina

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Kate

  29. 4 out of 5

    Wendy A. Hocking

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vikas

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