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About the Author
Jehad Abusalim is the Education and Policy Associate of the Palestine Activism Program at the American Friends Service Committee. He is completing his PhD in the History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies joint program at New York University.His main area of research is Palestinian and Arab perceptions of the Zionist project and the Jewish question before 1948. An accomplished speaker and writer, Jehad combines his passion for history with his commitment to activism and policy change work. Jehad's family continues to live in Gaza.
Jennifer Bing has worked with AFSC's Palestine-Israel Program since 1989. Based in Chicago, she organizes events, national speaking tours, exhibits and trainings, and coordinates AFSC's education and advocacy work on the campaigns Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child and Gaza Unlocked. In this role, she works closely with faith organizations and human rights groups throughout the U.S.Jennifer has appeared in numerous media outlets including Truthout, Worldview/WBEZ, Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, Alternet, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Friends Journal, and The Washington Post. She is also a regular contributor to AFSC's Acting in Faith and News and Commentary blogs. Jennifer is a Quaker and an active member of the Quaker Palestine Israel Network.
Mike Merryman-Lotze is the American Friends Service Committee's Palestine-Israel Program Director. He coordinates AFSC's Israel and Palestine focused advocacy and policy programming, working closely with AFSC's offices in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and throughout the US.From 2000 through 2003 Mike worked as a researcher with a human rights organization in the West Bank, and from 2007 through 2010 he worked in Save the Children UK's Jerusalem office managing child rights and child protection programming. Between these two experiences he worked for an international development NGO managing community and local government development programs in Lebanon, Jordan, and Yemen.
"This Collection of 15 essays and poems, introduced by lead editor Jehad Abusalim, was conceptualized as a platform to humanize Gaza and show that the besieged territory is more than a place of destruction and impoverishment. Light in Gaza is ultimately successful in bringing Gazans to life, showing the dignity, integrity and creativity with which they endure life's many hardships....This is a deeply personal book for the contributors.... The essays convey how exhausting and frightening it is to live in Gaza. Subjected to periodic brutal assaults, Gazans (70 percent of whom are refugees) live in a state of "permanent temporality," a term Shahd Abusalama uses to describe living in a state of suspension, while waiting to return home." --Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs "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." --Nadia Hijab, co-founder and honorary president, Al-Shabaka: the Palestinian Policy Network "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." --Ali Abunimah
"A must read for anyone interested in learning about Gaza, from the Palestinians of Gaza themselves. Powerful and engaging." --Laila Elhaddad "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." --Barbara Ransby, historian, author, activist "An emotionally and intellectually sophisticated collection that is deep, processed and enlightening." --Sarah Schulman
"A book that embodies the central paradox all Gaza-watchers are aware of: while Israel - aided by Egypt and tolerated by the international system - constantly sharpens tools to control and brutalize Gaza, Gaza insists on its agency, its dignity and its im