Young Palestinians speak: Living under occupation

by | May 20, 2020 | Book Review, Non-Fiction

Young Palestinians speak - Cover

Book Details

Young Palestinians speak: living under occupation
Anthony Robinson & Annemarie Young. Northampton: Interlink Books, hb, 9 781 556 560 153, 2017, £16.99, 144pp.
Non fiction, 10+ years

These are voices seldom heard, but, as the book says in its opening, “young Palestinians want to be heard”. Children and young people from Gaza Strip and the West Bank, speak in their own voices about their daily experiences of living under occupation, a second generation of children.

The authors have made personal journeys to Palestine, but begin by clearly explaining and contextualising life in the Occupied Territories, looking at citizenship rights, poverty, education, housing, justice, security and land and water. They explore the impact of the Separation Wall. This is followed by chapters looking in some detail at the young people they met on their journeys in Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Qattana, Sebastiya, Gaza, Beit Ur, and Hebron. In each, the young people interviewed are allowed to speak for themselves, which they do with passion and clarity.

The book shows clearly that these young Palestinians have the same ambitions and aims as young people the world over: a stable family life, the freedom to move about their country, college courses and ambitious jobs and a safe and secure space in which to grow up. 

The tone of the book is summed up by Raja Shehadeh: “ No one is helped by being reduced to the status of victim. Palestinians don’t need to be pitied or viewed as unfortunates who deserve assistance and relief. They need people to understand their cause and work with them to bring justice and peace to their war-battered land”. It succeeds admirably.

The book contains photos, maps, timeline, and references

Anthony Robinson is the author of the Refugee Diaries series, and Street Children (Frances Lincoln). Annemarie Young is co-author with Michael Rosen of Who are Refugees and Migrants? What Makes People Leave Their Homes? And Other Big Questions (Wayland).

Review by Pam Dix