To be sure, I’ve read plenty of nonfiction as well, from Jimmy Carter’s Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid and Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree, but often it was only when I read works of fiction, such as Almost Dead by Assaf Gavron, that any the information I received from nonfiction works metamorphosed into knowledge, or at least the closest thing I can claim to have of knowledge, given that I’ve never set foot anywhere in Israel.
Yussef is old enough to recall his father’s friendships with Muslims and Jews, and even to have a few Muslim friends of his own, but cynical enough to recognize the Martyrs Brigade for the strong-arm gang of thugs it is, even as it shrouds itself in the Palestinian flag and resistance movement.
Rees shows us families cowering from Israeli tracers and bulldozers that destroy roads in the middle of the night but he also shows, rather mercilessly, the degree to which even Palestinians are not united amongst themselves and their own culpability in perpetuating half of the endless cycle of hate.
It all makes for surprisingly quick and thought-provoking reading. It is easy to see why Rees was an award-winning foreign correspondent for The Scotsman and Newsweek.