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Izzeldin Abuelaish

Listen to Izzeldin Abuelaish

In 2009, during the Israeli incursion into Gaza, Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish’s three daughters were killed in a rocket attack. Even as he poured out his grief live on an Israeli television programme, he vowed not to give in to bitterness and hate.

Dr Abuelaish has since become one of the most outspoken, prominent and beloved researchers, educators and public speakers on peace and development in the Middle East. His memoir, I Shall Not Hate, is a passionate and devastating account of his struggle and cry for peace in an intractable conflict. Appearing in Melbourne at Storey Hall as a guest of the Wheeler Centre and Sydney Writer’s Festival, he speaks with ABC 774’s Jon Faine.

Topics discussed include the pain of losing his wife and daughter, the importance of maintaining optimism and dreaming, his brief political career, happiness through connection and sharing, and the alliance between Hamas and Fatah.

Dr Abuelaish also reads from his book, and talks about why, in the Middle East Arab Spring uprisings, freedom rather than democracy is the issue — as well as why he believes the future lies in women rather than men and how “no one of us is born violent or a terrorist”.

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