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Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Separation Barrier. For Fun. Paperback – 14 Apr 2011
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"horrifying and hilarious"--Evening Standard
"a terrific, funny read"--ShortList
"blisteringly powerful"--Bruce Dessau
"...a funny, poignant travelogue, underpinned by fine reporting"--Living South Magazine
Bestselling author Mark Thomas finds a very British way to try to comprehend the Middle Eastern problemSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
This story continues his transition from guerrilla activist (playful dissent) to informative writer. I like his writing style, and the disorganised attitude his various guides have towards his project hide the precision organisation which must have gone into this venture.
We are introduced to various Palestinian and Israeli guides, leaders and intellectuals, and each has their own perspective on the "barrier", including those who view it as eviction by stealth, protection of interests, and divine right to land.
If you like his previous books, you will find this in the same mould as Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola, minus the corporate hate figure. It's an intelligent, yes slightly bonkers journey that he has taken, so that no one else has to.
It is a serious subject but Mark Thomas is quick to see the funny side of many situations. I found much of the book very funny but at the same time I felt despondent about what I read and very angry about the way in which the Palestinian people are treated.
For instance, he met a man who land had been cut off from his house by the barrier wall. In order to farm his land he had to travel to a crossing gate which is a long way away and only open for certain times daily.”A few years ago my father was working on the other side of the Wall. He was eight-five, and he had permission – he was planting trees and picking olives – and he fell. My brother saw him; he is metres away but on the other side of the Barrier. ……My father, he crawled slowly to the gate and asked the soldiers to open it and they refused. “ This man had to lie injured until the gate was opened at the official time. He had a broken back and broken legs.
Near the village of At Tira there is a four lane highway linking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Because of terrorist activity some years previously only Israelis are allowed to travel on this road – Palestinians must use badly maintained circuitous routes. But this highway actually separates the village from the school. The Israeli solution was to build a tunnel for the young children to pass through each day. This is a narrow concrete tunnel with no lights. On one side is lower channel through which the sewage runs from the nearby illegal settlement. So, as Mark Thomas puts it, primary children are required to walk through a tunnel of human sh**.
I could go on……..
Mark Thomas has done a sterling job in highlighting the plight of Palestinians in the West Bank. Well done, Mark.
I thought the book was relatively well balanced in that it makes it very clear from the first chapter why many Israelis wanted to build the wall, and thought it necessary and also helps explain the seething anger on both sides.
There is some hope for future reconciliation, with people on both sides striving to make things better, but the main thing I'll take with me after reading this book is outrage at the injustice of the building of this illegal wall, and the hardships endured by the people it affects. It has spurred me on to find out more and to Do Something to bring about change.
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