The Israeli army invaded Ramallah in March 2002. A tank stood at the end of Raja Shehadeh’s road; Israeli soldiers patrolled from the rooftops. Four soldiers took over his brother’s apartment and then used him as a human shield as they went through the building, while his wife tried to keep her composure for the sake of their frightened children, ages four and six. This book is an account of what it is like to be under siege: the terror, the frustrations, the humiliations, and the rage of civilians becoming trapped in their own homes and at the mercy of young soldiers who have been ordered to set aside their own sense of human decency in order to bully, harass and in some cases brutalize an unarmed population. How do you pass your time when you are imprisoned in your own home? What do you do when you cannot cross the neighborhood to help your sick mother? And what does it feel like when occupier and occupied, who are supposed to be enemies, are forced to set aside feelings of empathy? When the Bulbul Stopped Singing reveals universal and timeless truths. A new introduction by Colum McCann and an afterword by the author show how little things have changed since this record of life under siege was first compiled.