Palestine Speaks: Voices from the West Bank and Gaza is a difficult book to read. Mateo Hoke and Cate Malek collected these and other stories over four years, narrowing the field to the fifteen represented in the book. They have compiled an incredible set of stories sharing the voices of Palestinians.
“When the world looks at Palestine I do not think they see the full situation. If people want to see the reality of the situation, they will see. If they want to hear the reality, they will hear. But if they don’t want to know the reality of the situation, they won’t, even if it’s right there in front of them.”
The difficulty is not a technical one. The book is well written. The descriptions are clear, the imagery sparse and raw. The narrators come from diverse walks of life and range in age from 26 to 52, having lived most, if not all, of their lives under the occupation. Each story is long enough to convey a view of the narrator’s life while being short enough to capture the reader’s focus. What makes it a difficult book is the same factor that makes it a good one: the stories speak of struggle, loss, perseverance and triumph of spirit. This is a timely book well worth the read for anyone interested in the plight of those living under long-term occupation.
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