Jehad Abusalim is the Education and Policy
Associate of the Palestine Activism Program at the American Friends
Service Committee. He is completing his PhD in the History and
Hebrew and Judaic Studies joint program at New York University.
His main area of research is Palestinian and Arab perceptions of the Zionist project and the Jewish question before 1948. An accomplished speaker and writer, Jehad combines his passion for history with his commitment to activism and policy change work. Jehad’s family continues to live in Gaza.
Jennifer Bing has worked with AFSC’s
Palestine-Israel Program since 1989. Based in Chicago, she
organizes events, national speaking tours, exhibits and trainings,
and coordinates AFSC’s education and advocacy work on the campaigns
Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child and Gaza
Unlocked. In this role, she works closely with faith organizations
and human rights groups throughout the U.S.
Jennifer has appeared in numerous media outlets including Truthout, Worldview/WBEZ, Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, Alternet, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Friends Journal, and The Washington Post. She is also a regular contributor to AFSC’s Acting in Faith and News and Commentary blogs.
Jennifer is a Quaker and an active member of the Quaker Palestine Israel Network.
Mike Merryman-Lotze is the American Friends
Service Committee’s Palestine-Israel Program Director. He
coordinates AFSC’s Israel and Palestine focused advocacy and policy
programming, working closely with AFSC’s offices in Jerusalem, the
West Bank, Gaza, and throughout the US.
From 2000 through 2003 Mike worked as a researcher with a human rights organization in the West Bank, and from 2007 through 2010 he worked in Save the Children UK’s Jerusalem office managing child rights and child protection programming. Between these two experiences he worked for an international development NGO managing community and local government development programs in Lebanon, Jordan, and Yemen.
"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
"There are so many beautiful passages in this collection that, even though I generally like to keep my books pristine, I have highlighted entire pages in this volume." —Mondoweiss
"This Collection of 15 essays and poems, introduced by lead editor Jehad Abusalim, was conceptualized as a platform to humanize Gaza and show that the besieged territory is more than a place of destruction and impoverishment. Light in Gaza is ultimately successful in bringing Gazans to life, showing the dignity, integrity and creativity with which they endure life’s many hardships….This is a deeply personal book for the contributors…. The essays convey how exhausting and frightening it is to live in Gaza. Subjected to periodic brutal assaults, Gazans (70 percent of whom are refugees) live in a state of “permanent temporality,” a term Shahd Abusalama uses to describe living in a state of suspension, while waiting to return home." —Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs
"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