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Hopes for peace in the Middle East rise and fall like a thrill ride at an amusement park. Yet most people seem convinced the rollercoaster ride is going to end badly. When you are on the hill and zipping down so fast your stomach moves into your throat, it might feel like the end of the world, as it does these days in the Middle East, but then reality sets in and you slow down as you approach another rise.
It’s so easy to lose hope and so hard to keep it, but along comes a new book by my friend Gregory Levey, believe it or not a former speech writer for a bunch of Israeli prime ministers I might never say I admired. Yet Levey was so encouraging in his optimistic search for peace, rambling from one Israeli or Palestinian activist or organization like a pinball slamming against rubber bumpers and screaming excitement and hope.
Level, the author of a book on his former speech-writing career for some of Israel’s rightwing leaders called “Shut up, I’m Talking: And Other Diplomact Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government,” has published a new book, one that is lighter and more serious in its lightness.
It’s called “How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment .” Talk about fatalistic optimism. Yet the book takes you through the highs and lows of the Middle East peace. He talks to everyone (including me) about peace and anti-peace. Sometimes, understanding anti-peace can help you understand peace.
Levey’s book is encouraging in its determination to reach out to everyone he can possibly meet, something uncommon in Middle East journalism. Many Arab journalists won’t interview Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu and especially refused to interview Ariel Sharon, who many Arabs view as a mass murderer and criminal terrorist. Yet, many Israeli journalists would not interview Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. And if they did, the Israeli government would put them in jail, anyway, just in case.
It’s a terrible world to navigate that peace adventure, but Levey does it with skill, wit and stubbornness that is mandatory for anyone who hopes to one day see peace int he Middle East.
I loved the book and its easy writing style. His speech writing skills come out in full force in his narrative of his travels and encounters.
“How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six months or Less Without Leaving Your Apartment .”
Free Press, hardcover, Sept. 7, 2010
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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