• The Words of My Father

  • Love and Pain in Palestine
  • By: Yousef Bashir
  • Narrated by: Yousef Bashir
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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The Words of My Father

By: Yousef Bashir
Narrated by: Yousef Bashir
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Publisher's Summary

A Palestinian American activist recalls his adolescence in Gaza during the Second Intifada and how he made a strong commitment to peace in the face of devastating brutality in this moving, candid, and transformative memoir that reminds us of the importance of looking beyond prejudice, anger, and fear.

Yousef Bashir’s story begins in Gaza, on a verdant 10-acre farm beside an Israeli settlement and military base. When the soccer-mad Yousef was 11, the Second Intifada exploded. First came the shooting, then the occupation. Ordered to leave their family home, Yousef’s father refused, even when the Israeli soldiers moved in, seizing the top two floors. For five long years, three generations of the Bashir family were virtual prisoners in their own home. Despite this, Yousef’s father - a respected Palestinian schoolteacher whose belief in coexisting peacefully with his Israeli neighbors was unshakable - treated the soldiers as honored guests. His commitment to peace was absolute. 

Though Yousef’s family attracted international media attention and received letters of support from around the world, Yousef witnessed the destruction of his home, his neighborhood, and the happy life he had known with growing frustration and confusion. For the first time, he wondered if his father’s belief in peace was justified and whether he was strong enough - or even wanted - to follow his example. At 15, that doubt was tested. Standing in his front yard with his father and three United Nations observers, he was shot in the spine by an Israeli soldier, leaving him in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, for a year.

While an Israeli soldier shot him, it was Israeli doctors who saved Yousef and helped him eventually learn to walk again. In the wake of that experience, Yousef was forced to reckon with the words of his father. And like the generous, empathetic man who raised him, he, too, became an outspoken activist for peace.

Amid the tragedy of the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict, The Words of My Father is a powerful tale of moral awakening and a fraught, ferocious, and profound relationship between a son and his father. Bashir's story and the ideals of peace and empathy it upholds are a soothing balm for these dangerous and troubled times and a reminder that love and compassion are a gift - and a choice.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Yousef Bashir (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Words of My Father

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Loved this book

I love hearing the story told by the Author. His strength and fortitude and compassion are very inspiring. As an American Israeli I found his father story so compelling. I wish they were more people like him and his son .
I wish Yousef The strength to continue his work and to follow his heart. I wish him long life and good health.I am very curious to know what has happened in the last few years.

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best most powerful sharing in the universe

Thank you so much Yousef for sharing your story. Thank you. Nothing could be more powerful. Thank you

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In the face of Peace

This is a story we should all educate our mind heart and soul with. Can’t wait for his next book.

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This book is oh way out in a way forward.

This is one of the most important books I listen to an audible. It is a book about forgiveness. That can be an impossible thing to do when you’re under occupation. When it is nearly even impossible to attend ones father’s funeral. This is a book that makes sense out of the situation that makes no sense. This book is a book about spiritual and physical healing for a problem that most of the world prefer not think about.

I enjoyed the book tremendously and I highly recommend it.

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This is not a book about peace

In this book, Yousef Bashir, a Palestinian from Gaza, claims to be a man of peace, but for him "peace" is just another weapon of war. As he sums up his message in the last chapter, what he advocates is "resist[ance] in the name of peace".

Yousef Bashir describes his experiences of living in Gaza during the Second Intifada. He tries to charm the reader with a gracious refusal to be angry at the Israeli soldiers who he claims had been trespassing on his land, and who he claims shot him for no good reason. But he never allows himself to acknowledge that those soldiers were there to defend their country from Arab terrorism. He continually says that the land is sacred to the Palestinian Arabs, but never acknowledges that the Jews also have a claim to the land. He advocates continued Arab resistance, but not mutual understanding. From this book you would get the impression that he learned nothing about Israel when he had the chance to after leaving Gaza to live in the US.

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A must read for anyone who believes in the power of love, forgiveness and peace.

I have enjoyed listening to Yousef Bashir, telling his story.
I have been moved on so many occasions and even cried a couple of times. I hope that everyone will read this book to learn about the many lives of thousands of young Palestinians who are living under the cruel Israeli occupation, in Gaza, Palestine.
It is told in such a way that I was transported into the life of Yousef.

Love always wins. ❤️

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A timely, urgent memoir

Bashir’s book paints a vivid picture of life in territories under siege, humanizing the day to day struggles of families living under military occupation. It is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand occupied territories around the world.

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Personal But Uninformed

It is obvious to me that Yousef is not familiar with the modern history of Palestine nor made any attempts to learn about it. He is not aware of how the Jews were mistreated violently by the Arabs in the late 19th century and beyond when Jews began to migrate to Palestine. He is not aware that Jews willingly and desperately helped the Arabs but Arabs themselves turned on each other and the Jews. He is not aware that Arab nations would not accept Palestinians displaced by the partition of Palestine by the United Nations in 1948. He opines that Israel should return to borders prior to the Arab invasion of 1967 yet doesn't acknowledge the Arabs sought to annihilate the Jews in their invasion. Yousef's story is written through the eyes of a young Palestinian who has lived under Israeli occupation but doesn't understand, nor wants to understand, why that is so. I can understand why Yousef's story can be compelling to many, but if you lived in Israel at the time of its inception or read about its history and formation, you can only conclude that Yousef is uninformed and naïve.

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A narration with no emotions

I liked the story of this book. I am very familiar with the Palestinian conflict. I chose to read this as a personal story and not so much learning about the Palestinian conflict and mostly due to good reviews . However, I had a hard time listening to it. I finished it despite having a very hard time listening to the Mr. Bashir's narration with lack of any emotion. The lack of emotion in his voice really surprised me since this was about his own life and family. Especially when he is telling about his father and later himself being shot. But there is no emotion attached to it. I might have enjoyed this book if I read it myself rather than listen to it and might have imagined his emotions attached to the events. I was not at all impressed with the story telling part of this book by the author. I hope he has more emotions and compassion in real life when he speaks about Palestine and the impact of Jewish occupation in Gaza.

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Beautiful message. Hopeful.

I want to know more about what I can do to help home this father's legacy and advocate for both peace and justice around the world. This story is inspiring, and I hope everyone will read it.