Wednesday 15 August 2012

BOOK REVIEW: ‘For Hammam’ - A Handbook for Young People on Human Rights in Palestine

‘For Hammam’ is a compilation of information on the Palestinian-Israeli situation, stories from the children of Abu Dis, and activities to involve the reader.

The title comes from the touching story of a boy, Hammam Mohsen from Abu Dis, who was shot in the back of the head three times by an Israeli soldier and subsequently paralysed on the right side of his body. ‘For Hammam’ describes in two words what the book encompasses; it shows the longing to help and the hurt which is being experienced in Abu Dis.

This book is aimed towards young people between the ages of 13-18. The relatively short explanations and simple layout make it easier for young people to read and enjoy. It is highly informative, with maps of the region and photographs to illustrate the points addressed in the book. The fact that it is written in both the English language and Arabic allows it to be more accessible to not just the young people of Britain but also the youth of the Middle East.

The stories from the children living in Abu Dis who had taken part in the Young Ambassadors Programme organised by the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA) showed the truth behind what is happening in Palestine and how difficult the situation is. Many of the stories described how the children themselves or their friends had been badly treated by the Israeli soldiers; they had been beaten or put in prison for crimes they did not commit. I found that the stories put into perspective everything that I had heard about Palestine. I was horrified by the way the children are treated and am hopeful of the introduction of Human Rights into these young people’s lives.

Before reading this book, my knowledge of the history behind the Arab-Israeli conflict was limited. Now, I feel as though I have a better understanding of the background and the present situation of the conflict. I liked the way in which the book was arranged and written. I would recommend this book to young people who are interested in finding out about Palestine, like I was.


Dear Reader,

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