Freedom and Despair: Notes from the South Hebron Hills
Lately, it seems as if we wake up to a new atrocity each day. Every morning is now a ritual of scrolling through our Twitter feeds or scanning our newspapers for the latest updates on fresh horrors around the globe. Despite the countless protests we attend, the phone calls we make, or the streets we march, it sometimes feels like no matter how hard we fight, the relentless crush of injustice will never abate. David Shulman knows intimately what it takes to live your beliefs, to return, day after day, to the struggle, despite knowing you are often more likely to lose than win. Interweaving powerful stories and deep meditations, Freedom and Despair offers vivid firsthand reports from the occupied West Bank in Palestine as seen through the eyes of an experienced Israeli peace activist who has seen the Israeli occupation close up as it impacts on the lives of all Palestinian civilians. Alongside a handful of beautifully written and often shocking tales from the field, Shulman meditates deeply on how to understand the evils around him, what it means to persevere as an activist decade after decade, and what it truly means to be free. The violent realities of the occupation are on full display. We get to know and understand the Palestinian shepherds and farmers and Israeli volunteers who face this situation head-on with nonviolent resistance. Shulman does not hold back on acknowledging the daily struggles that often leave him and his fellow activists full of despair. Inspired by these committed individuals who are not prepared to be silent or passive, Shulman suggests a model for ordinary people everywhere. Anyone prepared to take a risk and fight their oppressive political systems, he argues, can make a difference-if they strive to act with compassion and to keep hope alive. This is the moving story of a man who continues to fight for good in the midst of despair. An indispensable book in our era of reactionary politics and refugee crises, political violence and ecological devastation, Freedom and Despair is a gripping memoir of struggle, activism, and hope for peace.