Excerpt from I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

I Shall Not Hate

A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

by Izzeldin Abuelaish

I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish X
I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2011, 256 pages
    Jan 2012, 256 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Dalal, my second-oldest daughter, was named after my mother. She was a second-year student at the same university as Bessan, where she was studying architectural engineering. She was a quiet, studious girl, shy like most of my daughters. Her architectural drawings were remarkable to me - a sign of the precision she demanded of herself.

Shatha was in her last year of high school and hoping to score the top marks in the class when they took their exams in June so she could fulfill her dream to become an engineer. The three girls were best friends and slept in the same room of our house in Jabalia City, a five-story building that my brothers and I had built. Each of us had a floor for his family; my children and I lived on the third floor. One brother lived apart from us in a separate house. When we constructed the apartment building, he said he wanted to be near but in his own place. So we built another house for him. The first floor of our house was reserved for our mother. (My sixth brother, Noor, had become caught up in the conflict of the region and has been missing for decades.) Mayar and Aya, who were in grades nine and eight, were almost painfully shy. Sometimes they even asked one of their older sisters to speak to the others for them. But they were clever girls. Mayar looked the most like her mother, and she was the top math student in her school. She entered school competitions in Gaza and usually won. She wanted to be a doctor like me. She was the quietest of my six daughters, but she was not shy about describing the impact the strife in Gaza had on the people who live there. She once said, "When I grow up and become a mother, I want my kids to live in a reality where the word rocket is just another name for a space shuttle." Aya was never far from Mayar. She was a very active, beautiful child who smiled easily and laughed a lot when she was with her sisters. She wanted to be a journalist and was very determined in her own quiet way. If she couldn't get what she wanted from me - permission to go to visit a relative or to buy a new dress - she'd go to her mother and say, "We are the daughters of the doctor; you must give this to us." Aya loved language, excelled in Arabic literature. She was the poet in the family.

Raffah, my youngest daughter, with eyes as bright as stars, was an outgoing child, inquisitive, rambunctious, and gleeful. She was in grade four that year.

Mohammed, named after my father, was our first son, a young man of thirteen. He needed the guidance of a father, and I was worried about that because I was away four days a week, working at the Sheba hospital in Tel Aviv. He was to take the grade seven exams in June. His little brother, Abdullah, our second son, who was in the first grade, was the baby of the family. Watching him running to his sisters on the beach, kicking up the sand as he bounded over the dunes, I felt a special pain for this motherless boy: How much would he remember her?

That day they all sat for photos beside their names in the sand. Even Aya and Mayar smiled into the camera. When the tide came in and washed their names away, they wrote them again, farther up the beach. To me, this action w as highly symbolic of their tenacious, determined nature, one that I recognized in myself. They had the ability to look for alternatives when situations seemed impossible; they were claiming this tiny piece of land as their own - because they believed that they belonged here and did not want to be erased. Wasn't this the same determination shown by Palestinians who'd had their land stripped from them and wanted to reclaim it? It reminded me that their mother's memory will never wash away, but that they could keep rewriting it in a different light. They rushed from playing in the surf and riding the waves to climbing into a boat that was moored on the beach, from building pyramids in the sand to racing back into the water; the camera click, click, clicking, recording the joy, the laughter in their faces, the bond they had with each other, their shared reality. As I watched the jubilance of my eight children, I thought, "Let them play, let them escape from their grief." While they cavorted on the dunes, I drove back to Jabalia Camp to get the kebabs. There had been such a long line at the butcher early that morning that I'd decided to go to the beach and return for the meat once the children were settled. While driving, I thought about Nadia and the changes in our lives since she had died. At first I'd believed that I would have to stop the research work I was doing, since it required me to be in Tel Aviv from Monday to Thursday. But the children insisted that I continue. They said, "We'll take care of everything at home. Don't worry." It was the way Nadia had raised them. She was the example they were following. Nadia managed the house, the children, the extended family, everything, while I went away to study, to work, to try to make a better life for all of us. Sometimes I was away for three months. When I studied public health at Harvard from 2003 to 2004, I was gone for a year. But how could these children manage without a mother if their father was away more than half the time, even though they all told me that I needed to go on? This is why I was so happy they had agreed to move to Toronto; there we could all be together, with no border to cross every day.

Excerpted from I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish. Copyright © 2011 by Izzeldin Abuelaish. Excerpted by permission of Walker & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Gaza Strip

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Only Child
    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin
    Rhiannon Navin's debut novel, Only Child received an overall score of 4.8 out of 5 from BookBrowse ...
  • Book Jacket: Brass
    by Xhenet Aliu
    In 1996, Waterbury, Connecticut is a town of abandoned brass mills. Eighteen-year-old Elsie ...
  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The French Girl
    by Lexie Elliott

    An exhilarating debut psychological suspense novel for fans of Fiona Barton and Ruth Ware.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Beartown

Now in Paperback!

From the author of a A Man Called Ove, a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

T I M A Slip B C A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.