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Gaza Mom

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Laila El-Haddad writes with passion and uncompromising honesty revealing a personal narrative that encapsulates a collective Palestinian experience.

- Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian parliamentarian and member of PLO Executive Committee

In this new, abridged edition of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In BetweenLaila 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, edited to a shorter length than the original edition and contains a new introduction by the author. 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.

Laila el-Haddad's writing illuminates Gaza's inextinguishable culture of struggle and determination for a better world.

- Nora Barrows-Friedman, Electronic Intifada and Al-Jazeera

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...

Laila El-Haddad’s brings the realities of Palestinian existence to life with wit, anger, passion, love, and most of all keen eye for the cruel absurdities of life under occupation. Read it, reflect, and reconsider.

- Stephen Walt, professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government

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. The new introduction provides unique insights, offering El-Haddad's perspective on those pivotal events years later.


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