Book review by Margaret Nixon, Manager of Research and Training, CASSE.
‘I Shall Not Hate’, Izzeldin Abuelaish, 2011, Bloomsbury Publishing, London
‘I Shall Not Hate’ is a powerful and passionate reflection of the experiences of a Palestinian doctor born and raised in the Gaza Strip and caught within the struggle of finding a peaceful bridge between the divides of Israeli and Palestinian people. He identifies the process of bringing the two communities together through listening to each other’s points of view and concerns, encouraging respect and equality and focussing on realistic goals where both sides have equal conditions, rights and respect. Abuelaish reflects on the words of his daughter who was killed along with her two siblings and cousin in a bombing raid who wrote “all problems can be solved by forgiving the past and looking towards the future, but for this problem (between Palestinians and Israelis) it’s hard to forgive and forget the past…We think as enemies; we live on opposite sides and never meet. But I feel we are all the same. We are all human beings” (p.17)
This is a compelling read which rekindles the thinking and discussions that were presented at the recent CASSE Reconciliation Forum in relation to the Northern Ireland peacemaking process and the journey of Aboriginal reconciliation.
Abuelaish sees his role as a doctor, where his duty is to ensure all patients, Israeli or Palestinian, are treated as if they were his relatives, as a model of peace making. For those of us who work in education, law, or any other field, this book presents a challenge to recognise our part in challenging structures and thinking that prevent the building of bridges that will unite our nation.