"What can you do? You can do a lot. You can support justice for all by speaking out loudly to your family, friends, community, politicians and religious leaders. You can support foundations that do good work. You can volunteer for humanitarian organizations. You can vote regressive politicians out of office. You can do many things to move the world toward greater harmony…
"I know that what I have lost, what was taken from me, will never come back. But as a physician and a Muslim of deep faith, I need to move forward to the light, motivated by the spirits of those I lost. I need to bring them justice… I will keep moving but I need you to join me in this long journey."
-from I Shall Not Hate
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish - now known simply as "the Gaza doctor" captured hearts and headlines around the world in the aftermath of horrific tragedy: on January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit his home in the Gaza Strip, killing three of his daughters and a niece.
By turns inspiring and heartbreaking, hopeful and horrifying, this is Abuelaish's account of a Gazan life in all its struggle and pain. A Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Abuelaish is an infertility specialist who lived in Gaza but plied his specialty in Israeli hospitals. From the strip of land he calls home (a place where 1.5 million refugees are crammed into 360 square kilometres of land), the Gaza doctor has been crossing the lines that divide the region for most of his life, as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the border and as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved public health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East.
But it was Abuelaish's response to the loss of his children that made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, in this personal account of his life, Izzeldin Abuelaish is calling for the people of the Middle East to start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
Born in a refugee camp in 1955, Palestinian physician Abuelaish suffers a catastrophic loss when three of his daughters are killed in their home by Israeli fire in 2009. An Israeli television journalist's live broadcast of his call for help captures Israeli public and world press attention. "Most of the world has heard of the Gaza Strip," as Abuelaish says, "ut few know what it's like to live here, blockaded, impoverished, year after year, decade after decade." Abuelaish portrays everyday life in Gaza and tells the remarkable story of how he came to be "the first Palestinian doctor to be on staff at an Israeli hospital." The "tortured politics of Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East" are rendered graphic by his personal accounts of "the humiliation, the fear, the physical difficulty" of border checkpoints and bulldozed homes. Abuelaish tells of the "satisfying, even wonderful" moments, "the good chapter of a bad story," as well; an infertility specialist, he is as "thoroughly smitten" with his research as he is appalled that "Gaza hospitals are rundown and can't be repaired because of an embargo is preposterous." Abuelaish knows anger, but in this impassioned, committed attempt to show the reader life on the sliver of land that is Gaza, he demonstrates that "nger is not the same as hate."