Back in 2007 I read Sandy Tolan's book The Lemon Tree. It thoughtfully dealt with Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the relationship of two families, one from each side. It was and is a powerful book. Tolan's latest book Children of the Stone is also very powerful. It approaches the Palestinian-Israel problem through the experiences, hopes and efforts of Ramzi Hussein Abduredwan.
Ramzi grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp and as a child threw stones at Israeli soldiers. His struggling path of hardship under Israel's occupation and harsh, imposed rule, restrictions and destruction also leads Ramzi to music, education, mastery of the viola and the positive channeling of his emotions, dreams and passions. He remarkably implemented his dream of opening schools of music instruction for Palestinian children to help improve and transform their lives. His persistence and dedication has inspired others to work with him to bring worth and alternative possibilities to young lives overshadowed by tension, hatred, deprivation and violence.
Through telling the true story of Ramzi, Tolan carefully unravels the tangled threads of the history of issues, actions and re-actions of two peoples claiming the same land. He sensitively gives the reader insight into what it is like to live in such a lamentably torn, injured land. Ramzi's work is not just a feel-good program. He strives for both healing and change. While divisiveness continues, Ramzi and his co-workers also keep on with his "fusion of musical and political self-assertion."
Tolan's book came out in April 2015 and is available at booksellers and libraries, including Galesburg Public Library.