In A Small Door Set in Concrete, Israeli activist Ilana Hammerman attests to the cruel and ever-worsening effects of the borders and policies that separate Israel and Palestine.
Seeking new meaning after loss through travel, Hammerman undertook a solo bike trip across New Zealand. Though warned that she risked being robbed, raped, and murdered, she forged ahead, testing her strength against the hostile landscape and experiencing both hardship and the heady joy of unrestricted movement.
She states that such freedom is denied to her Palestinian neighbors. Upon returning to Jerusalem, Hammerman engaged in risky border crossings and acts of civil disobedience to learn how the decades-long occupation affects their lives. What she learned outraged her.
Welcomed into the homes of Palestinian men, women, and children, Hammerman witnessed how what is taken for granted on one side of the border is denied on the other: taking children to a nearby beach; finding a job that offers a fair wage; commuting without having to be smuggled to work in the trunk of a car; knowing that one’s house will stand and their family be safe; being treated fairly by the justice system; and having reliable access to food and clean water. Daily life for Palestinians, she asserts, is designed to be humiliating, frustrating, and to deny them a full sense of their humanity.
Intense, heartbreaking, and filled with memories of shared laughter and tears, A Small Door Set in Concrete is the work of a sensitive, courageous soul. Its stories of injustice and oppression might be overwhelming were it not for Hammerman’s example of facing it all with compassion and courage. Her text demands to know why nothing is being done and calls upon the world to effect change through the power of mass civil disobedience.
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