The Words of My Father: Love and Pain in Palestine
With Author Yousef Bashir
Yousef Bashir’s story begins in Gaza, on a verdant ten-acre farm beside an Israeli settlement and military base. When the soccer-mad Yousef was eleven, the Second Intifada exploded. Ordered to leave their family home, Yousef’s father refused, even when the Israeli soldiers moved in, seizing the top two floors. Despite this, Yousef’s father—a respected Palestinian schoolteacher whose belief in coexisting peacefully with his Israeli neighbors was unshakeable—treated the soldiers as honored guests. His commitment to peace was absolute. At fifteen, while standing in his front yard with his father and three United Nations observers, Yousef was shot in the spine by an Israeli soldier, leaving him in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down for a year.
While an Israeli soldier shot him, it was Israeli doctors who saved Yousef and helped him eventually learn to walk again. In the wake of that experience, Yousef was forced to reckon with the words of his father. And like the generous, empathetic man who raised him, he too became an outspoken activist for peace. Bashir's story and the ideals of peace and empathy it upholds are a soothing balm for these dangerous and troubled times, and a reminder that love and compassion are a gift—and a choice.
Yousef Bashir is a Palestinian American from the Gaza Strip who made his way to the United States, where he earned a BA in international affairs from Northeastern University and an MA in co-existence and conflict from Brandeis University. Now living in Washington, DC, Bashir has worked on Capitol Hill, and served as a member of the Palestinian Diplomatic Delegation to the United States. Yousef is an accomplished author, a vigorous advocate of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and a much sought-after public speaker.
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