Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire

Jehad Abusalim

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Imagining the future of Gaza beyond the cruelties of occupation and Apartheid, Light in Gaza is a powerful contribution to understanding Palestinian experience.

Gaza, home to two million people, continues to face suffocating conditions imposed by Israel. This distinctive anthology imagines what the future of Gaza could be, while reaffirming the critical role of Gaza in Palestinian identity, history, and struggle for liberation.

Light in Gaza is a seminal, moving and wide-ranging anthology of Palestinian writers and artists. It constitutes a collective effort to organize and center Palestinian voices in the ongoing struggle. As political discourse shifts toward futurism as a means of reimagining a better way of living, beyond the violence and limitations of colonialism, Light in Gaza is an urgent and powerful intervention into an important political moment.


"Light in Gaza is a strong, honest presentation of today’s Gazans, a necessary read that provides a good understanding of the humanity of the Palestinians in Gaza." Palestine Chronicle

"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 imagination. Read these writings - literally “born of fire” for the wealth and variety of their ideas and for their grounding of the aspirations and dreams of Palestinian Gazans. " 
—Ahdaf Soueif

Light In Gaza is essential reading, not least because it reflects the voice of a people who are routinely and egregiously robbed of their basic humanity. It also represents a profound challenge to anyone who reads it. One author asks, "Can a story or a poem change the mind? Can a book make a difference?" The answer, as ever, is up to us all." —Rabbi Brant Rosen, Founding Rabbi of congregation Tzedek Chicago

"As Mahmud Darwish wrote as early as 1973, "we do injustice to Gaza when we turn it into a myth". This is why "Light in Gaza", through its insightful collection of essays and poems, offers such a unique picture of the Palestinian experience in a territory cut off from the world for a decade and a half." 
—Jean-Pierre Filiu, author of Gaza: A History

"The poignant first-person essays in this wide-ranging anthology have the greatest and rarest of virtues: they are portraits--brave, tender, resilient--of life in Gaza by the people who actually live it." —Nathan Thrall, author of The Only Language They Understand

"Light in Gaza
 presents the images and voices of a wide range of people from the Gaza Strip who tell us about things rarely reported in the Western media – the Edward Said Public Library, the Parkour team, new architectural technologies to repair damaged homes, manufacturing airless tires to subvert Israel’s ban on import of pneumatic tires, and of course, poetry. These signs of inspiring vitality and creativity under the worst possible conditions show us that a better future for Gaza is possible. We should amplify these images and voices and insist as forcefully as we can that the people of the Gaza Strip deserve to live with dignity, justice and equal rights." Joel Beinin


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