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Letters from Palestine: Palestinians Speak Out about Their Lives, Their Country, and the Power of Nonviolence Paperback – 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Letters from Palestine is searching and powerful, remarkable and daring. It's a serious attempt at understanding what the media has missed, deliberately or otherwise, for many years. It must be read and recounted for years to come."

--Ramzy Baroud, author of My Father Was a Freedom Fighter


"[A] powerful testimony to collective heartbreak and pain, but also a story of continued Palestinian determination and the endurance of their quest for justice."

--Kathy Christison, author of Palestine in Pieces


"The letters in this book will break your heart and they will make you laugh. I am excited to invite others to learn from them as I have. It is my hope that these Palestinian voices will inspire you, as they have inspired me, to believe that a peaceful and just future in Palestine is not only essential, but indeed possible."

--Anna Baltzer, author of Witness in Palestine

About the Author

Kenneth Ring, PhD, is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Connecticut. He has published five other books. Letters from Palestine is his first book on Palestinian issues, though he has written articles about contemporary events in Palestine.

Ghassan Abdullah studied mathematics and computing in England and lived in Syria, Lebanon, Italy, and Jordan before moving to Palestine in 1994. He worked at Birzeit University for nearly a decade. Ghassan is currently active in several Palestinian civil society NGOs concerned with heritage, human rights, development, and the arts.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wheatmark (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604944161
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604944167
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,126,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I seldom read books from cover to cover. But when I received Kenneth Ring's book, Letters from Palestine, I couldn't put it down.

Ken presents a collection of personal stories from Palestinians, inside and outside the occupied territories, that provide penetrating insights - sometimes harrowing, sometimes funny, always fascinating - into their daily lives and thoughts. It would not surprise me if, in time, these accounts became inscribed in Palestinian folklore.

They reveal the Palestinians' strength of character so well. For these are among the world's most civilised and sophisticated people. They have withstood 90 years of betrayal and humiliation, and still they bubble with humour and friendship, thanks to their resilience and a gritty determination to overcome the collective and individual tragedies inflicted on them.

The thirty whose voices are heard in the letters they write to their American friend, are a wonderfully varied group.

One young lady says that, for her, the adeyat phalastin (question of Palestine) is the ultimate fight for humanity and justice. "And being Palestinian reminds me every day that justice and human rights can never be taken for granted. Because, in theory, every person is entitled to equality and his or her rights. In reality they are a privilege a select few enjoy."

A young Palestinian-American woman visiting family members in Birzeit comments: "Despite the occupation, Palestinians still remain some of the most educated people in the Arab world. They sit at the checkpoint if they can't make it to school and read their books, or have class right there if their teacher happens to be around..."

She tells how "the majority of the students I worked with at the camp had a parent or a sibling in jail.
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Whenever I heard the words Palestine or Palestinians, images of blood, destruction and suicide bombers came instantly to my mind, triggered by the too many news reports of this kind I had seen on TV. Since I read Letters from Palestine, I know that the immense majority of Palestinians are not suicide bombers and that the "problem" of Palestine - the drama of Palestine - is complex, sad, outrageous, seemingly never-ending, and that we are all concerned, whether we are aware of it or not. In his writings, Sartre emphasized the ethics of personal responsibility; individually, we are all responsible for our actions - and non-actions! Kenneth Ring PhD, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Connecticut and one of the world's most eminent near-death experience (NDE) researchers, has decided to take on responsibility for the Palestinian cause, as a man and as a Jew, and to publish this important, poignant, powerful and deeply human book. In a carefully constructed way, Kenneth Ring gives the floor to Palestinians who talk about their daily life, struggles and dreams, with humour, despair, revolt ... and love, so much love for their homeland which does not even exist on the world map. I warmly recommend this book which will inform you and transform you, inevitably.

Evelyn Elsaesser-Valarino
Author of Talking with Angel about Illness, Death and Survival
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Format: Paperback
Every now and then you come across an author whose message transforms your life and inspires you forever. Kenneth Ring has long been active as one of the world's foremost leading researchers in the field of near-death experiences, having published five books on the subject and numerous articles in professional journals. However, his life and his work took a different direction when he learned what it was like for the Palestinian people living in the Occupied Territories these days.

His latest masterpiece, Letters From Palestine, is the result of his journey to discover, uncover, and document the inhumanity that is taking place in Palestine and of the tremendous spirit and resilience of the peple living there.

I must shamefully admit I was ignorant of the horrendous treatment and living conditions taking place in Palestine. This book opened my eyes and my heart to the discrimination and brutality the people of Palestine continue to endure. After reading this book, I don't think I can ever again be oblivious to the tumultous heartbreak and pain the people of Palestine suffer while living under the occupation. From the voices of the actual people living there, we get to read what daily ife is like for them and believe me, no one should live like this!

This rare and wonderful book awakens its readers to examine our own humanity and reminds us of our deeper need to reconnect with the humanity of all the world's people so that our commonalities can build bridges to transition peacefully into a new world of peace and equality for all.

This beautifully crafted book serves as an open doorway to show us how to change the course of history, moving us from the current system of vengeance to the path of restorative justice, and more.
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I only came upon this book recently. I was particularly interested because I had been teaching International Current Events courses at a local university. While I was well aware of the true history of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, and how the U.S. media acts as Israel's propaganda arm in order to keep Americans on their side, I was not at all familiar with who the Palestinians really are as human beings. While injustice will always cause strife, it is often that a legitimate cause in the Middle East gets hijacked by Islamic militants. So it is in Palestine. Yet even without the stupidity of rockets being fired into a much more powerful country than theirs, these people would still be living as refugees in a prison-like blockaded land under an apartheid system that would make the old white-ruled Rhodesia and South Africa look enlightened by contrast.

What makes this book special is how carefully these stories have been selected to represent the most honest, heart-felt description of not political views, but the lives of human beings who have little hope that anything will ever change. These stories give a well-rounded picture from ground zero, not from some newspaper office in New York. And it took great courage to write them, and then for the authors to compile and publish them. This book rates high with me not so much as a contribution to literature, although it is that, but as a selfless contribution to humanity in the hope that people can slowly evolve into being humane to each other.
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