Above Photo: These Chains Will Be Broken is a serious attempt aimed at reclaiming the narrative of our people. (Photo: File)
On Monday, January 20, Clarity Press, Inc. of Atlanta announced the launch of These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons, by Palestinian author and journalist, Ramzy Baroud, and The Palestine Chronicle Editorial Team.
Bookended by a Foreword by Khalida Jarrar Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and an Afterword by Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, the collection conveys in prisoners’ own words, Palestinian suffering in Israeli jails and their enduring resistance to the occupation of their historic homeland.
“These are the stories of Palestine’s true organic intellectuals,” said Baroud, “women and men, mothers and fathers, children and teens, teachers, fighters and human rights’ advocates, united by a single motive that transcends region, religion and ideology: resistance. Regardless of the cost, they are taking a brave, moral and internationally defensible stand against injustice in all of its forms.”
“It has been wrong and inaccurate to label Palestinian prisoners as either victims or terrorists, because both classifications obfuscate the reality of an entire nation facing the onslaught of colonialism, military occupation and the entrenched Israeli apartheid.”
In her Foreword to the book, member of the Palestine Legislative Council, Khalida Jarrar—who has been detained and imprisoned by the Israeli occupation since her contribution to it—wrote that These Chains Will Be Broken will allow readers to “delve into the lives of men and women, read intimate stories that they have chosen to share with you, stories that may surprise you, anger you and even shock you. But they are crucial stories that must be told, read and retold.”
Terming the book “a remarkable work,” award-winning Australian journalist, author and broadcaster/documentary maker, John Pilger, testified to its impact:
“With each story, there is a roll-call of the best of humanity: courage, struggle, determination, generosity, passion, humility and, above all, defiance of injustice. Everyone, especially those of us in the West subjected to unerring propaganda, should read this searing and beautiful book. Then understand all over again that peace and justice are not possible in the world until the Palestinians are free.”
In his Afterword, former UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk addressed the international legal rectitude of the prisoners’ struggle thus:
“The rationale for Palestinian resistance is heightened by having law and morality on the side of demands for an end to the oppressive Israeli occupation and the persistent abuse of fundamental Palestinian rights…”
Baroud, who is also the author of four other books on Palestinian people’s history, said that These Chains Will Be Broken is yet another serious attempt aimed at reclaiming the narrative of our people.
Leading the research in its early stages from the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalist, Abdallah Aljamal, played an important role in conducting interviews and collecting material with scores of freed Palestinian prisoners and the families of those who are still in prison.
“We worked very hard to achieve this book,” said Aljamal from Gaza. “Two things made the workload manageable: one, knowing that you are fighting for a good cause and two, remembering that no matter how tough our mission is, it doesn’t compare to the suffering of our prisoners and their families”.
Other Palestine Chronicle editors participated in the composition of the book, including Romana Rubeo and Yousef Aljamal. The intensity and beauty of each story is amplified by intricate and exquisite illustrations by Palestinian artist, Dalia Alkayyali.
Mohammed al-Deirawi, a freed Palestinian prisoner whose story is included in the book under the title “Ghadeer”, said, “This book exposes the ugliness of the Israeli occupation and its sadistic practices against Palestinian prisoners – the daily humiliation, the medical neglect, the administrative detention, the imprisonment of minors, the solitary confinement, the killing of prisoners”.
Al-Deirawi added, “What we have witnessed in prison cannot be truly be comprehended by anyone who hasn’t lived these harrowing experiences. This is why These Chains Will Be Broken is a crucial work. It carries our voices and our stories to the world, confronting it, especially civil society, with its legal and moral responsibility towards Palestine, Palestinian prisoners, and the Palestinian people”.
“We urge you to read this book. Our voice, that of pain and resistance, deserves to be heard”.
Further Praise for These Chains Will Be Broken:
“In this must-read ‘history from below’, the Palestinians who tell their stories show prison to be a microcosm of life under conditions of occupation and colonization… powerful and searingly beautiful…” — CYNTHIA FRANKLIN, Professor, University of Hawaii, Member USACBI
“This book is essential in helping us develop a compassionate understanding of the plight of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people.” — MARYUM ALI, Social Worker, Public Speaker, Daughter of Legendary Muhammad Ali:
“The lively, beautiful, and painful narratives recited in “These Chains will be Broken” are a must-read for anyone with a burning conscience and a determined will to see that oppression is not forgotten, freedom will be gained, and justice will ultimately prevail.” — Prof. Dr. SAMI A. AL-ARIAN. Director and Public Affairs Professor, Center for Islam and Global Affairs.