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

Ramzy Baroud
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Dec 2009
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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My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story + Married to Another Man: Israel's Dilemma in Palestine + Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape
Price For All Three: 34.40

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; 1st ed edition (9 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745328814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745328812
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 14.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


This book should be read by all who struggle to understand the Middle East and to find passage to a just peace in the region. (Cindy and Craig Corrie, The Rachel Corrie Foundation)

Ramzy Baroud has written a deeply moving chronicle of the persisting Palestinian ordeal. ... This book more than any I have read tells me why anyone of conscience must stand in solidarity with the continuing struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and a just peace. (Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University and Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories, UN Human Right Council)

Ramzy Baroud's sensitive, thoughtful, searching writing penetrates to the core of moral dilemmas that their intended audiences evade at their peril (Noam Chomsky)

This is a very fine book: both a loving tribute to the author's father and the struggle and pain of Palestine seen through the witness and insights of two generations. Together, they beckon freedom. (John Pilger, award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker.)

Ramzy Baroud is a gifted writer. His is one of the few books ... about the life, depopulation and struggle for survival of the people of a village in south Palestine. ... No amount of spin could obliterate that, or could deny the indefatigable persistence of Palestinians to survive and struggle to return home. (Salman Abu Sitta, author and historian, Founder and President of Palestine Land Society, London.)

About the Author

Ramzy Baroud is a syndicated columnist, veteran journalist and Editor-in-Chief of PalestineChronicle.com. He has appeared on numerous television programs including CNN International, BBC, ABC Australia, National Public Radio and Al-Jazeera. His previous books include Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion (2003) and The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto, 2006).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have the feeling, and I hope I am right, that `My Father was a Freedom Fighter' will become an iconic book regarding the Palestinian experience. For Ramzy Baroud's book encapsulates the Palestinian story.

It is a simple story that is simply and very movingly told.

`My Father was a Freedom Fighter' is the story of three generations of Palestinians, although it concentrates on the author's father of the middle generation, Mohammed, as the family recall their life in Mandate Palestine and are then ethnically cleansed from their village of Beit Daras to the refugee camps of Gaza - only a few miles, yet whole world, away.

We follow Mohammed as he tries to make a life and a living for himself and later his family as he lives with Bedouin in Sinai for a while, serves in the Egyptian army, the Palestinian National Army, as a street hawker in Saudi Arabia, a labourer in Israel and a merchant of reject textiles in Gaza. We see the lives, the loves, the loss, the despair but above all the resilience of ordinary Palestinian refugees.

The Palestinian tragedy is encapsulated at the end, when Mohammed, suffering from chronic asthma, having sold his house to buy medicine, dies without his family there due to the fact they are dispersed across the globe but also within Palestine where, due to Israel's blockade, Mohammed never gets to see his grandchildren some of whom are only a few miles away in the West Bank.

All through this personal, family biography, Baroud weaves the history and the politics of the Palestinian struggle and experience with the Zionist behemoth that squats on their land, attempts to suffocate them and kills them on a daily basis. If you want a succinct version of the Palestine/Israel conflict and want to see it in human terms, the terms of the victims, this is it.

This is a great book. Buy it. Read it. Tell others about it. Get others to read it. And get angry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, searing masterpiece. 14 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My Father Was A Freedom Fighter is a searing little masterpiece that is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the situation in Palestine.

Set alongside the personal tale of his father's and grandfather's lives Baroud presents a thorough and meticulously referenced history of the Gaza Strip from the days of the British mandate to the time of his father's death during the second intifada. This isn't the scholarly history-from-a-distance as told by Avi Shlaim in his equally thorough but somewhat impersonal (in places) Israel and Palestine, this is a history book written by a man whose country's history is his people's history is his family's history. Thus Baroud describes the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba, the occupation of the 1967 war, the injustices of occupation and the machinations of Gazan politics in the same clean efficient prose which he uses to describe the lighter moments of his father's courtship of his mother, of his wheeling and dealing money making schemes and of his own childhood, of the fear and the adventure of life as a teenage boy during the first intifada. The prose is efficient but never stark, emotion is barely restrained and Baroud's lightness of touch allows the true import of events he recalls to sting as he tells them to you. The personal tales will make you laugh and will break your heart. The larger historical facts will make you rage. Baroud does not attempt to make this a 'non-biased' history of Israeli-Arab interactions, but he does this not as a conscious editorial decision, he simply writes what he knows. My Father Was A Freedom Fighter is simply the history of Gaza and the story of his family told as it was.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK REVIEW BY GILAD ATZMON 4 Feb 2010
Ramzy Baroud's "My Father Was A Freedom Fighter" is more than a book, it is actually a masterpiece. In an overwhelmingly evoking personal style Baroud manages to bring to light the history of the Palestinian people and their battle with Israel and Zionism. Through the story of the Baroud's family the book outlines every event in the history of the conflict and reflects on the way it transformed the Palestinian reality.

The book is a heart breaking depressing story of the Baroud family's journey from paradise to hell. It is a flight that starts in Beit Daras, a small pictorial village in the south of Palestine. It ends in a Gaza refugee camp. It is a tragic journey of a rural self-sufficient population that is driven into total dispossession, humiliation and absolute poverty. And yet, there is a beam of light along the book namely resistance: Ramzy's father Mohammed, was a freedom fighter. He didn't win a single war, not even a battle, yet, against all odds, in spite of his poverty and illness, he managed to educate his children and to plant hope in their young souls, to fuel Ramzy with fierceness, which along the years transformed the young man into a monumental inspirational writer and an icon of intellectual resistance.

My Father Was A Freedom Fighter may be one of the saddest books ever written, yet, Baroud peppered it with his witty sarcastic humour. In between sobbing and laughter we come to intimately grasp the depth of the Palestinian misery. We come also to understand the level of the depth of Israeli brutality. We comprehend why the Palestinians and Arab nations failed for so many years.
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