ABOUT THIS BOOK
“I was taught from the start not to be silent.”
For years, renowned activist and scholar Ilana Hammerman has given the world remarkable translations of Kafka. With A Small Door Set in Concrete, she turns to the actual surreal existence that is life in the West Bank after decades of occupation.
After losing her husband and her sister, Hammerman set out to travel to the end of the world. She began her trip with the hope that it would reveal the right path to take in life. But she soon realized that finding answers was less important than experiencing the freedom to move from place to place without restriction. Hammerman returned to the West Bank with a renewed joie de vivre and a resolution: she would become a regular visitor to the men, women, and children who were on the other side of the wall, unable to move or act freely. She would listen to their dreams and fight to bring some justice into their lives.
A Small Door Set in Concrete is a moving picture of lives filled with destruction and frustration but also infusions of joy. Whether joining Palestinian laborers lining up behind checkpoints hours before the crack of dawn in the hope of crossing into Israel for a day’s work, accompanying a family to military court for their loved one’s hearing, or smuggling Palestinian children across borders for a day at the beach, Hammerman fearlessly ventures into territories where few Israelis dare set foot and challenges her readers not to avert their eyes in the face of injustice.
Hammerman neither preaches nor politicks. Instead, she engages in a much more personal, everyday kind of activism. Hammerman is adept at revealing the absurdities of a land where people are stripped of their humanity. And she is equally skilled at illuminating the humanity of those caught in this political web. To those who have become simply statistics or targets to those in Israel and around the world, she gives names, faces, dreams, desires.
This is not a book that allows us to sit passively. It is a slap in the face, a necessary splash of cold water that will reawaken the humanity inside all of us.