Review: Leila Diab on "The General's Son" by Miko Peled

This review by Leila Diab was originally posted at Middle East Online on March 24, 2012.

'The General's Son': A Moral Desire for Truth


Book review of Miko Peled’s The General’s Son

As moral people of conscience around the world continue to band together to not only seek a mutual recognition for positive change, as well as to expose the truth in all things possible in the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict of insurmountable human rights violations, and the mountains of injustices, albeit, on a daily basis, the recently released book, The General’s Son, by Miko Peled, is ironically, just that type of individual. Miko Peled’s unconventional, historically well written life story and experiences portrays his desire for moral truths and unlimited possibilities. And one of those unlimited equal possibilities is for human beings, Palestinian and Israeli to be born free.

The author of The General’s Son, Miko Peled is an Israeli who was born in Jerusalem and the son of a well known Israeli General Matti Peled, who later in life became an Arabist and a staunch peacemaker. Miko as a young boy always had a dream of becoming karate, martial arts expert, and with his riveting style of writing takes the reader on a discovery journey of truthful relativity.

What Miko Peled describes in his book is compelling, yet, I believe it is an honest journey to unveil the many mythical and abhorrent Israeli government’s truths, especially the many myths about Palestinians both inside and outside of Palestine. For example, such as Arabs are filthy, unorganized and uneducated or even terrorists? Miko’s journey to meet Palestinians, just like his father did, was driven by deep moral convictions and principles. Of course, many Israeli government officials balked at their commonsense rhetoric to bring an end to the occupation and all its violence and killings.

When a mother loses a child due to violence, murder or terrorism, the whole family mourns and suffers. Miko can unfortunately attest to this as well. His sister’s daughter was killed in Jerusalem by Palestinian suicide bombers. One can only imagine if the Israeli government would have listened to General Matti Peled’s initial recommendation that the Israeli government should sit and negotiate instead of fight with the Palestinian Liberation Movement, maybe all of the killings of innocent people could have been avoided.

Clearly, Miko states in his book, “I am often asked how it was that he (my father) developed such clear and far-sighted opinions on this issue and the only answer I can think of is that he was a principled man through and through. He did not accept the double standard that we, the Jewish people, deserve to live on the same land as the Palestinians and yet deprive them of their rights.”

Miko takes the reader on his long journey to meet Palestinians in America but also to make the connections with Palestinians inside the occupied territories and in Israel to understand the desired truth based on their non-violent struggle and basic human needs. Like the journey of his father, General Matti Peled, they both had established many friendships and honourable trust with their encounters with the Palestinian leadership and ordinary people who to this day have the utmost respect and admiration for their principled efforts.

After I read Miko’s book, as I hope many of you will, The General’s Son, I envisioned the roots of one Israeli man’s undisputed fearless courage to cultivate a peaceful alliance of acceptance and change, as well as, confront the IDF and the Israeli government to quell their desire to humiliate, disrespect and kill innocent men, women and children. Albeit, even though I am sure there will be those who will challenge his honest and factual perspective. But more importantly, there will still be those who will continue to deny and deny the forsaken truth.

And the truth of the matter is that Miko, an Israeli, and his Palestinian friends in America raised enough money to buy and send wheelchairs for both Israeli and Palestinian families. And another truth of the matter is that Miko also takes us on his endless journey and into Deheishe refugee camp in Bethlehem where as an expert in martial arts, he taught children the benefits of learning the martial arts and karate, to better understand self discipline and sharpen their focused behaviour skills.

Miko Peled isn’t just the son of a famous Israeli General, Matti Peled, but a man with an historical past of Zionist heritage. As his mother’s son, he has also been, loved, guided and nurtured by a very understanding, intelligent and logical mother. When the State of Israel was being created and many Palestinians had to flee their homes because of fear for their safety during the Arab/Israeli war, Miko again describes the stories his mother remembers. “I knew the Palestinian families as a child growing up in Jerusalem. And as a result of the war, she recalled how the contents of these homes, which belonged to well to do Palestinian families, were taken by looters. As the wife of an Israeli General, she was offered a Palestinian families home. She refused saying to her son Miko, “That I should take the home of a family that may be living in a refugee camp? The home of another mother? She felt ashamed.”

This story can best be described as, 'One basic truth can be used as a foundation for a mountain of lies, and if we dig down deep enough in the mountain of lies, and bring out that truth, to set it on top of the mountain of lies; the entire mountain of lies will crumble under the weight of that one truth, and there is nothing more devastating to a structure of lies than the revelation of the truth upon which the structure of lies was built, because the shock waves of the revelation of the truth reverberate, and continue to reverberate throughout the Earth for generations to follow, awakening even those people who had no desire to be awakened to the truth.'---Delamer Duverus

The General’s Son, written by Miko Peled has indeed awakened the truth of all things possible, as the mountain of lies begins to crumble.

Leila Diab is a Palestinian American freelance journalist.

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