Praise for Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire:
"This searing collection anthologizes works by Palestinians from Gaza -- some residents, some refugees -- describing their lives under occupation and amid the ongoing struggle for freedom."
"Light in Gaza is a strong, honest presentation of today’s Gazans, a necessary read that provides a good understanding of the humanity of the Palestinians in Gaza."
“This book is rich in insights from Gazans living under Israel’s brutal siege as well as those living abroad. The editors and authors are determined to start a conversation about Gaza and to break “the intellectual blockade” imposed on it. From Jehad Abusalim’s introduction to the last word, these compelling works move from personal reflections to political and economic analysis. They capture the reader and pull them through a journey that is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking that it should have to be lived at all. It will not leave you unmoved and will reinforce your determination to strive for Palestinian freedom.”
“Because of Israel's blockade, I've only been able to go to Gaza once. Everyone I spoke to there could tell me about the unimaginable hardship and trauma they'd experienced. But what stayed with me most was something I hadn't expected: The unquenchable optimism and humor of Palestinians there. Reading Light in Gaza a decade after my visit brought that feeling flooding back. This brilliant, funny, inspiring collection of stories and essays by writers in Gaza was exactly what I needed to reinvigorate my hope and determination to work for a future that uplifts us all.”
"Gaza is often referred to as an 'open-air prison,' because it is so hard for messages, images or bodies to get out, or for resources to get in. Light in Gaza breaks through the prison walls and gives us a unique opportunity to hear and learn from those living under Israeli occupation in Gaza. Their voices are filled with pain, loss, frustration, anger, but most of all, hope. This powerful and beautifully crafted collection is one that readers must engage with heads and hearts wide open."
"An emotionally and intellectually sophisticated collection that is deep, processed and enlightening."
"Light In Gaza is essential reading, not least because it reflects the voice of a people who are routinely and egregiously robbed of their basic humanity. It also represents a profound challenge to anyone who reads it. One author asks, "Can a story or a poem change the mind? Can a book make a difference?" The answer, as ever, is up to us all."
"As Mahmud Darwish wrote as early as 1973, "we do injustice to Gaza when we turn it into a myth". This is why "Light in Gaza", through its insightful collection of essays and poems, offers such a unique picture of the Palestinian experience in a territory cut off from the world for a decade and a half."
"The poignant first-person essays in this wide-ranging anthology have the greatest and rarest of virtues: they are portraits--brave, tender, resilient--of life in Gaza by the people who actually live it."
Reviews and Media Coverage of Light in Gaza
New York Times Book Review
LIGHT IN GAZA: Writings Born of Fire, edited by Jehad Abusalim, Jennifer Bing and Mike Merryman-Lotze. (Haymarket, paper, $24.95; cloth, $45.) This searing collection anthologizes works by Palestinians from Gaza — some residents, some refugees — describing their lives under occupation and amid the ongoing struggle for freedom.
Radio Interview: Light In Gaza Authors Imagine Another Gaza
WORT’s Gil Halsted interviews Asmaa Abu Mezied and Yousef Aljamal:
Wisconsin Muslim Journal: “Light in Gaza” Book Tour: A Unique Opportunity to hear from Palestinians Under Israeli Occupation
After submitting her essay Lost Identity: The Tale of Peasantry and Nature, researcher Asmaa Abu Mezied asked editors if she could rewrite the ending. “There were so many times during 2021 where I felt that to die is much easier than continuing to live,” she said in an interview with Wisconsin Muslim Journal Wednesday. “The Israeli policy toward Gaza is really death; it’s just what type of death you experience. During aggression, it is usually strong strikes, a very fast death. In other times, it’s a slow death, a death you experience on a daily basis that takes away some of your soul, your dreams and hopes.
“Yet, this whole book is about envisioning Gaza, to imagine what a different future for Gaza would look like. The whole exercise required us to have hope, not in a romanticized way but rather a hope that builds on addressing structural issues and challenges that face Palestinians in Gaza, historically through the present."
Politics Today: Reflections by Yousef Aljamal "How I Saw the Light in Gaza during my United States Trip"
While my first tour with the AFSC was in 2014 to promote the book Gaza Writes Back, visiting the United States again over the years has led to important observations of how domestic politics and foreign policy have been changing in the country. This time, Asmaa and I toured seven cities in the United States to promote the recently published book Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire by Haymarket Books.
Electronic Intifada Podcast Episode: Light in Gaza
On episode 64, we speak to contributors of a new literary anthology, Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire, in which essays, poems and artwork illuminate the Palestinian experience of Gaza.
Mondoweiss Book Review: Above Occupation, Beyond Survival
"Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire" is a hopeful gift from Gaza, reminding us that all of Israel’s power has not, and will not, defeat the Palestinian will to rise.
Baltimore Post-Examiner: Book Review
"After reading Light in Gaza, I’ve become more convinced that just being upset or voting for politicians who are willing to question our nation’s policies regarding Israel is not enough.
Having spent years of my life in the labor movement and supporting the struggle of people of color within the United States, I believe that peace in the Middle East depends upon honoring the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people for justice and self-determination. The writers of Light in Gaza bear witness to policies and questions I want to discuss with others."