THE LEMON TREE: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East ~Sandy Tolan
One of the members of my book group asked us to read THE LEMON TREE for our summer gathering. I am very glad that I was able to pull this book off my own personal library shelf, because it has been my intention to read this book for a long time. The subject matter of the book has been a part of the news cycle for my whole life. It is about lots of wars and about a great deal of struggle which is no closer to resolution or consensus and is still curled up in resistance and teaching the next generations new levels of hate and objectification.
I wanted to know more about Israel and Palestine and the human story of this conflict. Tolan has created a remarkable history lesson based on an Arab man and a Jewish woman who both lived in the same house with a LEMON TREE in the back courtyard. Bashir was born in this house that his father built and as a boy his whole family was told they must leave and were expelled from this home and not allowed the right of return. Dalia was a baby coming to a new homeland from Bulgaria and her family was assigned this house which became her home. Bashir and Dalia meet at their home and Dalia opens the door to a friendship and understanding.
The story is also a who’s who of all the individual names and countries involved in this conflict from Hitler to Putin and Cheney. It highlights the troubles of the entire region and one can begin to understand the role of the ARAB SPRING experience of the last few years. There is perspective and insight which can layer the pieces of history and begin to put the whole conflict into a container tossing the pieces around until the different outcomes are revealed. The basic story is about little boys throwing rocks at soldiers with machine guns and tanks and how terrorism is just moving through the world at large, how it is a global problem festering within the minds of each new child born today. It is now a central part of our cultural DNA. The child who was tricked into playing with a bomb concealed within a toy deception has translated that explosion into each of us, we all know that loss.
I purchased this book because I felt I needed to understand. My daughter’s friend Rachel http://www.rachelcorrie.org/ was killed in this conflict, when as a college student she went to help with the olive harvest and tried to stop a Palestine home from being destroyed by a bulldozer and was crushed to death, saving the lives of the sleeping family in the home. The BUSH/Cheney/ Rumsfeld response to her parents, “No American was killed in this incident.”
THE LEMON TREE is about how we become polarized in our positions and when this happens there is no progression – all forward motion is stopped until the pressure builds and we have explosive responses. This is the behavior our political parties are exhibiting currently here in the United States and boldly within the Middle East; a stop action scenario to say the least.
Sixty years of loss. THE LEMON TREE is about seeing the reality, accepting the opportunity and moving forward; understanding and ending terrorism. THE LEMON TREE is an excellent look at history unfolding and repeating before our eyes.