When Jamie Tarabay, a young Australian journalist, was posted to
Israel to report on the conflict in the Occupied Territories, her
family were, understandably, somewhat concerned. Her parents had
left Lebanon before war broke out in 1975 and watched as their
beloved Beirut, the city they called the Paris of the Middle East,
was violated by warring militias and torn apart by civil war. Her
father took the family back to Lebanon in 1987 to live for three
years, where they struggled with what it meant to be Christians in
a Lebanon that was being overtaken by political and religious
violence, before returning to Australia. And now their daughter, an
Arabic-speaking Australian of Catholic Lebanese descent, was about
to be plunged back into the thick of Middle Eastern politics.
Wouldn't you be worried?But Jamie was unafraid, or perhaps just
stunningly naive. Plunging into the vibrant life, culture and
politics of the region, this memoir of her time in the Middle East
is a vivid and highly readable snapshot of a life lived at the
epicentre of the Arab-Israeli conflict. From the great optimism of
the Camp David summit in 2000, the start of the intifada in 2001
and all that came after, Jamie was in the thick of it - Nablus,
Ramallah, Hebron, suicide bombers, hard-line Jewish settlers,
Palestinians living under curfew, seeing in the new millennium
after Christmas in Bethlehem - all the while redefining her sense
of what it means to be Australian, her morality, her heritage and
her religion. This is an entertaining, unique and highly
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