The Words of My Father

Yousef Bashir

‘[A] remarkable new memoir … full of youthful exuberance, unlikely adventures, and raw discovery … captivating.’
The New Yorker

‘To experience love and humanity on many levels, read this story. Beautifully told by a young man whose voice deserves to be heard — even if the world is not yet ready to listen.’
Diana Darke, author of My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis

‘A work of profound spiritual beauty, one of the great memoirs to emerge from this terrible conflict… The Words of My Father offers all of us hope that this seemingly intractable conflict can find a solution that is just to both sides.’
Yossi Klein Halevi, author of Letters to My Palestinian Neighbour

‘Yousef Bashir’s memoir is a moving reminder of the normality of Palestinian aspirations in what has been an abnormal situation for far too long. This book is a remarkable testimony to overcoming hatred and fear.’
Ian Black, author of Enemies and Neighbours: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017

‘[An] eloquent and affecting memoir … An inspiration to peace activists in all theatres of war and struggle and a book that deserves a wide audience.’
Kirkus Reviews


With a new afterword


Preoccupied by football, video games, and meeting his father’s impossibly high standards, eleven-year-old Yousef’s life in Gaza is shattered by the violent eruption of the Second Intifada. With his family home suddenly occupied by Israeli soldiers, his father’s refusal to abandon their land and his steadfast commitment to peace attracts attention from the international media.

But when Yousef is shot in the spine by an Israeli soldier and fasces the prospect of paralysis, his faith in his father’s principles is challenged. It is only recuperating in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv that Yousef is set on a path that leads him to embody his father’s philosophy and spread a message of coexistence in a world of deep-set sectarianism.

The Words of My Father is a moving coming-of-age story about survival, tolerance and hope.

Yousef Bashir is a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip, the son of a respected educator. Now living in Washington, DC, Bashir is an author and a peace advocate. He currently works for the Palestinian Diplomatic Delegation to the United States.

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