Friday, August 12, 2011

I Shall Not Hate

In September I will be leading our St. Paul's book club discussion on a book of my choosing I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey. I first brought the book to your attention a year ago. It is a remarkable first person story of Dr, Izzeldin Abuelaish who grew up in a crowded refugee camp but through his own determination and the gracious support of others became a doctor whose obstetric and paediatric work led him into unprecedented partnerships with Israeli physicians.

Even as a respected doctor he faced great hardship and frustration as a resident of Gaza. He maintained his commitment to peace and reconciliation with his Muslim faith at the core. In 2009 an Israeli tank bombarded his home and three of his daughters and a niece were killed. His principles remain intact despite this tragic loss.

Dr. Abuelaish is now living in Canada with the rest of his family, invited on a fellowship at the University of Toronto. I tracked him down there and he graciously gave me a half hour of his time on the phone to ask questions that might help our book club group fill in the span since the conclusion of his book.

My last question was about anger. Did he struggle with anger in light of his loss? Of course, he responded, but he works to "master his anger so that it does not master him." And he believes that in every passing, every tragedy, something good can emerge. I was deeply impressed by him once again.

There is a foundation in memory of his daughters which awards educational scholarships and you might look at the website

Have you read this book? Can you imagine living so positively in light of such profound loss? Are you going to join us on September 17th? You are welcome to come just for this discussion, or to join the club.


IanD said...

I am thankful for people like this whose example can show me how to deal better with dark feelings and moments of frustration. The doctor's story sounds like one all of us could benefit from.

johnny said...

I have read the book, and it is one of my all-time favourites.

I have read a number of books about Palestine and Israel, but reading about his first-hand experiences definitely puts his book in a class by itself. I am envious that you had the opportunity to speak with him.

I have never been to a book club meeting, but would be interested in this one. There's no initiation or hazing for us newbies, is there?

Laurie said...

I read the book and went to hear him speak in Toronto. I admired him. Sorry to miss the book club about this but will be out in Vancouver and Edmonton for the month of September.

Lynnof60 said...

Now that you are a friend of his do you think he could/would come to speak to us on a Sunday?

Laurie said...

YES! Lynn! Make it for October!!

Felice said...
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Felice said...

I too have suggested this book for our newly formed book club. I was hoping that you might be able to provide me with some of the questions you prepared that resulted in good discussion.

Felice said...
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