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> Letter from refugee Aida Camp, Bethlehem, 2008
> Salt of this Sea: Important announcement
> The End of Ottoman Rule as Seen by a Palestinian...
> Letter from the editing room Paris, December 2007
> Courtship in Ottoman Jerusalem: The Intimate...
> Occidental Obsessions: Diary of a Country Doctor
> Letter of Palestinian refugee from Beit Daras
> If tomorrow never comes
> The Short Life of Private Ihsan: Jerusalem 1915
> Letter Dheisha from Larissa Shaterian
> Mail Mazin Qumsieh: return to Palestine summer 2007
> Letter Sam Bahour's daughter, Ramallah
> Mary’s anger
> Once Upon a Winter Night
> Review of identity: a couple's conversation
> The Christmas Gate, Christmas in Bethlehem, 2006
> Letter Sam Bahour, on Israeli incursion into Ramallah
> The Tank Became a Dragon Education at home
> A night in heaven - essay by a girl at Friends'...
> Diary from Arroub: Islam Turk
In the 23 years I knew him, he seemed to be overbearing, manipulative, critical and opinionated. There were glimpses of his humour and smatterings of his compassion, but they seemed as a mirage must seem in the desert. They took me by surprise, and afterwards I wondered if they had really existed at all.
Very little of the bright, sensitive peasant boy remained in the doctor I knew. The little boy who use to weave ‘ubi with his older brother Issa, and fashion baskets out of dried grape vines, or lay under the stars in his father’s vineyard and dream of a fine stone house where the roof didn’t leak and where the smoke from the cooking fire didn’t irritate his mother’s eyes, seemed buried in the man I knew as father-in-law and grandfather to my children.
After Jirius Mansur’s death, I found among his things a copybook filled with Arabic poetry that he had written, the rough draft of a romance novel about a young Arab doctor named Ramzi, and his autobiography. In the pages of his autobiography, the story of the poor, young, peasant boy in qumbaz and tarboosh, speaking only the village dialect, transforms into the doctor he was to become: fluent in five languages, sophisticated, prosperous. It is a chronicle that rounds out the picture of the man I knew. It speaks of a boy who dreamed dreams as he stared at those stars in his father’s vineyard those many years ago, who was a romantic, who wrote beautiful poetry and lyrics to songs that spoke of his devotion to his wife and daughters, who was sensitive and caring and kind. Through the pages of his autobiography, I saw a man so different from the man I thought I knew.
His story is one of a peasant boy, a young intern at the American University in Beirut (AUB), a horse-riding doctor in the Trans-Jordanian Frontier Force.
It is a diary of courtship and arranged marriages, of the beautiful green-eyed blonde of romance fiction marrying your brother. It is a journal of doctoring among the Bedouin of Beer Sheba, of building a villa in Jerusalem, and living through the period of the King David and Semiramis hotel bombings, of the fleeing from Katamon, of Hitler and Palestine.
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