[ISBN: 978-1-935982-17-3; 444pp; $22 in U.S.] With Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In Between, Laila El-Haddad takes us into the life and world of a busy Palestinian journalist who is both covering the story of Gaza and living it—very intensely. This book is El-Haddad’s self-curated choice of the best of her writings from December 2004 through July 2010. She was in Gaza City in 2005, watching hopefully as the Israelis prepared their withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. She covered the January 2006 Palestinian elections—judged ‘free and fair’ by all international monitors. But then, she watched aghast as the Israeli government, backed by the Bush administration, moved in to punish Gaza’s 1.5 million people for the way they had voted by throwing a tough siege around the Strip.
Tensions escalated between Israel’s U.S.-backed military and the forces loyal to Gaza’s elected Hamas leadership, till the point when Israel launched a three-week all-out attack against Gaza in late 2008. During that war, El-Haddad kept in close touch with her parents, trapped in their home in midtown Gaza City...
El-Haddad was not only covering Gaza’s situation as a journalist and correspondent. She was also living them, including by trying to explain the ongoing events to her own young children. Her husband, U.S.-trained physician Yassine Daoud, is also a Palestinian but one without the (Israeli-administered) right to reside in or even enter Gaza. In 2006, El-Haddad left Gaza to be with Daoud in the U.S., but her beloved parents stayed behind. In the book she recounts the angst of a person stranded outside her homeland when it was came under intense Israeli assault at the turn of the year 2008-2009-- though she was also able to publish and amplify the experiences of her parents as they cowered in central Gaza City under Israel's harsh, 22-day bombardment.
In Gaza Mom, El-Haddad shares many intimate details of her life as a parent. We watch her young children growing up throughout the text. She also tells us about her life as a journalist and a media activist, including her involvement in the many new Palestinian-rights initiatives that emerged after Israel's late-2008 attack on Gaza.
Posted by Sam Maktaba on 4th Jun 2012
Gaza Mom is an excellent book which I thoroughly enjoyed reading -- I was particularly interested in the insider political analysis of recent developments in Gaza (from disengagement to Palestinian elections to Operation Cast Lead) which it clearly delivers -- in El-Haddad's various roles as a professional reporter, social activist, and Palestinian Gaza citizen.
El-Haddad's blog entries, reports from the field, and personal observations are focused, concise, well written -- and work to tell a compelling narrative of modern day Gaza -- with great insight into the day to day experiences of the people living there. Anyone concerned about Gaza or the ongoing policy debates surrounding the conflict will benefit by reading this book.
Posted by emlulu on 4th Jun 2012
I bought this book as soon as I found out it was released. I have read most of the entries on Laila's blog but re-reading them - along with the extra entries - makes up for a different experience.
The world ignores what is continuously happening in Palestine and turns a blind eye to it. This book shows the day-to-day struggle on the basics of life for the people of Gaza. No one deserves to live the life they are living or being treated as though they are not even humans. This is all because the Zionists control Palestinian's lives .. a sad reality that has been going on for more than 62 years.
Well done Laila El-Haddad, I hope your book becomes an eye-opener for the world to see what the people of Gaza are going through.
Posted by Farmer Brown on 4th Jun 2012
The writer has lived the details of the book first-hand. She is a passionate Palestinian, subjected to the absurdities of life that have befallen those in and of the Gaza, yet able to coat the hard edges with an all-encompassing humanity. If you only read one book about Palestine and the Palestinians, let it be this one.
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