was thrown against the wall by the shock wave from an explosion only a few
hundred metres away. For a brief moment he was unable to breathe as the wind was
knocked out of him by the force of the blast.
A tale of love, religious fanaticism and terrorism masterfully unfolds against
the background of the Middle-East. Behind the CNN coverage of these violent and
horrifying days are the human faces with their stories of grief, hardship and
indeterminable spirit. Despite the danger and devastation of war the quest for
triumph is the central theme linking these stories.
At that very moment he heard a rustling
behind him. As he swung around to see who was spying on him, he found himself
facing Anwar again. On this occasion there was no need to exchange words. As
they looked at each other, Ali knew that his prayers had been answered
An insightful understanding of the volatile Middle-Eastern situation shows the
infallible optimism that permeates the lives of people living under the constant
threat of violence.
At the same moment the driver of the Land Rover kicked his vehicle into
reverse and accelerated at break-neck speed away from the tractor trailer. The
second insurgent, taking advantage of the distraction of the soldiers by the
first insurgent, launched his rocket propelled grenade, hitting the armoured
Land Rover on the front left fender
They had drawn the heavy curtains on the only window of the room to keep out
prying eyes. They were all looking at a small but heavy parcel wrapped in khaki
cloth that had been delivered only a couple of hours ago
Next he heard the back doors of the ambulance being gently prized open. The
driver was under guard and there were two more gun toting settlers now having a
good look inside the ambulance. These men were certainly not out to make friends
In Store Price: $18.00
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Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages:
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published: 2006
novella is dedicated to those people who are happy to share what they have and
practice tolerance towards their neighbours in the name of peace.
Here is hoping we can all work together for a world free from prejudice,
political oppression and greed.
One (Part sample)
sun’s rays that were streaming through the fine cracks in the hastily hammered
tea chest pieces on windows were beginning to gently wake up Ali to another day.
Today, the first Thursday of the month, was Ali’s sixteenth birthday. The night
before, his eldest sister Samihah had been teasing Ali, pretending not to
remember it was his birthday the following day. But it did not matter. Today was
Alis to enjoy.
It was going to be another hot August
day. Although it was only five am in the morning, the temperature was already in
the high twenties. Ali gently tiptoed out of his bedroom and walked to the
makeshift bathroom outside. In this overcrowded refugee camp, there was already
a large group of people trying to reach the road that followed the recently
erected separation wall around the camp. Most of these early job seekers were
middle-aged people with six, seven, sometimes eight children at home. On most
days the lucky ones would be recruited by subcontractors to work on construction
sites on the Israeli side of their divided land.
Ali washed his hands with the water that
had been placed outside the bathroom the night before. There was no running
water in the majority of the houses on the refugee camp. He walked straight into
the small kitchen and started to make the morning tea. This was one of the
kitchen tasks that Samihah allowed Ali to undertake daily. As he was setting the
breakfast table, Alis younger sister Atifa walked in and said, Happy
birthday brother! and immediately thrust her arms around Alis neck,
planting a kiss on both his cheeks before Ali withdrew himself from her
thats enough! Cant
you see I am busy? Now, would you like some tea this morning?
Atifa knew his brother did not like
displays of affection but she also knew that Ali cared a lot for all family
members, particularly after their fathers imprisonment by the Israeli
authorities six years ago for political activities against the State of Israel.
Ali was the eldest son in a family of two boys and three girls. Their mother had
died giving birth to Alis youngest sister Hooriya couple of years before his
father was taken away.
Are you seeing Aminah later on
today? said Atifa with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. I bet she has a
nice present for you under her bed!
Mind your own business! Are you having
tea or not?
Atifa decided to stop teasing him. Aminah
was a pretty girl of Alis age and she lived with her family two streets away.
Okay. I will have a cup with plenty of sugar. I would like it extra sweet
this morning in celebration of your birthday!
As Ali was brewing the tea his thoughts
turned to Aminah, his beautiful girl friend. One day I am going to marry
her, he said to himself. Her parents were very conservative people and did
not approve of Alis dropping in to see her. On most occasions they had to
meet in his Aunt Fatimas home, a widow of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Aunt Fatima, his mothers sister, was a kind old woman who lived on her own,
after having seen all her children migrate to various countries in search of a
better life. She was born and raised in this area and refused to accept any of
her childrens invitations to leave Jenin. She looked upon Ali as one of her
own and made sure that Ali and Aminah were able to meet under the safety of her
Hey Atifa! Let Amin and Hooriya sleep
a bit longer. After all, they dont have to go to school and they can use a
bit more sleep to grow up! By the way, better tell Samihah to hurry up if she is
going to catch a ride to the factory today.
Amin and Hooriya were Alis youngest
brother and sister. Ali felt that life was particularly tough on them without
parents but in a town such as Jenin every family had a tragedy to share. Ali and
Samihah shouldered the parenting of the children in the family, a task that
often seemed bigger than the resources of the two put together.
Good morning and happy birthday
brother Ali! said Samihah in her typically calm voice and wearing a motherly
smile on her face as she surveyed the kitchen.
Thanks sister. I have just poured a
cup of tea for you and Atifa so you better sit down and have a bite to eat as
well before you hit the road.
Samihah quietly walked across the
kitchen, took a sip of tea, grabbed the piece of fresh bread on the table, and
with the same pace turned around to leave the kitchen, giving Ali a peck on the
cheek. Sorry Ali! I have to leave early today to catch the first bus out of
Jenin. Otherwise my permit may not be valid for the later trips across the
checkpoints. The military have been particularly difficult lately.
A shadow settled on Alis face as his
stomach tightened at the thought of Samihahs and other Palestinians living
conditions. Barely suppressing his anger, he said, Okay, which came out
like a hiss through his teeth. By the time he lifted his eyes in search of
Samihah she was already out the door.
Ali and Aminah were holding hands under
the kitchen table as Aunt Fatima poured them some more lemonade. The old woman
was wearing her traditional head scarf, the hijab, drawn half way down at the
back of her head in a casual manner while showing her still wavy and thick dark
chestnut-colour hair. Aunt Fatimas hair was not dyed, nor was it treated with
henna. Deservedly she wore her full head of hair with some pride which
complemented her honey- colour eyes and clean complexion.
In her usual jovial tone she said,
Children I am glad you dropped in today. I was feeling a bit lonely after my
visitors departed a couple of nights ago. Would you like some ghoraiybah?
I know you like my biscuits!
No thanks Auntie, said Aminah,
squeezing Alis hand harder. I will have to go shortly. The sun is
beginning to set and I promised my family I would be home by six pm at the
latest. Aminah looked down and blushed as she uttered her last words, knowing
well that she had told a white lie to her parents when she said she was going to
Aunt Fatimas to learn some of her famous recipes!
Shortly after Aminah left, Ali also took
his leave after kissing Aunties hand as a sign of respect. As he walked the
streets Ali had his hand in the left pocket of his trousers, gently rolling
around the small present given to him by Aminah. She had finely knitted their
initials on a small satin pouch and enclosed a lock of her black, shiny hair.
Yet, as Alis heart was pacing with the love he felt towards Aminah, there was
a darker feeling lurking in the back of his mind that appeared to be totally out
of place. Will I ever be able to marry
Aminah and provide her with everything that she deserves? he wondered.
The next moment Ali was thrown against
the wall by the shock wave from an explosion only a few hundred metres away. For
a brief moment he was unable to breathe as the wind was knocked out of him by
the force of the blast. Within moments the whole towns folk appeared to be
running past him towards his house. His heart skipping a beat, Ali quickly
righted himself and also started running. As he came close he could see that
their house was not the focus of attention.