About a year ago I was invited to speak in Texas by a local branch of Students for Justice in Palestine. After my lecture I had the opportunity to speak to some of the student activists and it so happened that several of them were the daughters of the HLF 5. Five men who were accused and convicted with providing material aid to Hamas. In a previous article I talk at length about the case
and I will continue to bring accounts from three of the men, with whom I have been in touch for almost a year. Shukri was the first one which whom I was able to communicate, first by email and then by phone.
Shukri had received my book and read it, and then he sent me the following email with his thoughts about The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. Mind you, this was written by a Palestinian serving a 65 year sentence for a crime which most people who are familiar with the case, including myself are convinced he did not commit. He (and the other four) is in prison based on testimony given by two anonymous Israeli Intelligence officers. Had he not been a Muslim and a Palestinian, and therefor a victim of Israeli persecution, it is very likely that he would not have been in prison. Yet, here he is reading and commenting on a book written by an Israeli, son of an Israeli general.
Here is Shukri Abu Baker’s review of my book:
I have finished the book and I’m really impressed. Congratulations, Miko. Your work is a must read for everyone that wants to learn how to explore the truth and become an active agent of change. I have learned so much in the way of human potential and historical facts.
I have just finished e-mailing my daughter who asked me about the book and I strongly recommended that she reads it. She herself has been trying to write her own memoir because she has got such an inspiring story to tell. We’ll talk more about her later on, perhaps during your visit, Insha’Allah. You said you have not read Dr. Victor Frankl book. I think you should. What struck me is the resemblance between your ethical stance and his. You mentioned in your book how appalled you were to see the soldiers trample though the cultivated lands of a Palestinian village. Dr. Frankl mentions in his book a very similar incidence. A group of freshly freed prisoners had just charged out of the concentration camp and swarmed through the cultivated lands of a village destroying the crops. When he vehemently objected to this behavior they argued that what they’ve done was hardly a fair revenge for what has been done to them. In his book the Dr. expressed concern about the consequences of victim mentality that has the tendency to turn the oppressed into an oppressor. He warned about immorality that comes with vengeance, especially when victims believe that they are entitled to. For a minute I thought he was addressing the Israeli occupation. Your book brought people closer together. As you were taking the readers from one spot to another, from one adventure to another, I was wishing I were there with you. Unfortunately most of your activities, especially the charitable ones were taking place at a time I was in trial or in prison.
You have accurately pictured the Palestinians in the most realistic terms. Not Angels without sins and not heroes without fears. I wish you were able to get to Gaza. Perhaps in the near future because without Gaza your trekking in the troubled life of the Palestinians will be incomplete. Gaza is a perpetual crime against humanity. A non-stop grinding of innocent souls. A torment that enlivens nothing but the prospect of death among, as you said, the most literate and industrious people in the region. I loved the fact that you put so much soul in charitable work and that puts the two of us in the same territory. You had been briefly punished by your countrymen for your acts of charity and I have received a sentence tantamount to life simply because I refused to punish children for the alleged crimes of their parents and refused to assassinate hope in the hearts of young Palestinians. All that they had, outside what occupation had to offer them, was hope for a better life, a normal life, a life your son Eitan and my daughter Nisa want to lead.
Yet it has become punishable by law to inspire the underprivileged to dare to dream of a bigger and a better world beyond the suffocation sphere of occupation.
I breathed easier when I learned about your wheelchair operation because one of the last project we, at the HLF, had completed just before we were shut down for good was a similar project in the West Bank and Gaza. As I recall they were over 1,200 wheelchairs all together. We had also supplied local hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza with 10 modern ambulances in coordination with Dr. Salim Zanoun, the health minister of the PNA at the time.
Thank you for bringing comfort to the hearts of Palestinian and Israeli children and thank you for offering hope that, otherwise, was meant to be buried along with the 13 years old Smadar and the 10 years old Abir. In some spots, your stories made my eyes brim, others gave me the chills and others made me laugh. But I’m very happy and honored to have come to know you and what you have to offer to humanity.
Great job, Miko. Ahlan wa sahlan to my heart, habibi.
Your Falastini sudique,