Activist blogger Lipstick Socialist reviews Sarah Irving’s book Leila Khaled: Icon of Palestinian Liberation, finding it to be “a thought provoking and insightful book for all of us wanting to become involved in politics whether at a local or national level”. Lipstick continues:
Reading this book reminded me of another icon in my own community, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey. Like Leila, she grew up in an occupied country and has spent her life campaigning for a democratic and just solution to the division of Ireland. She has faced assassination, censorship and marginalisation in the Irish political system. She became an hero to the Irish community in the 60s when families,such as mine, across Britain watched (and cheered) when she took to the barricades to defend her community against the massed ranks of the RUC and British Army.
About the same time Leila Khaled was hijacking a plane from Rome to Damascus where the plane nose was blown up. She made the world headlines because she was a young attractive woman involved in militant action. This book is fascinating because the author weaves together the history of the Palestinians with the story of a woman and her struggle not just as a soldier but as a wife, mother, teacher and campaigner and activist in the Palestinian National Council and a leader in the General Union of Palestinian Women.
Sarah wrote the book after a series of interviews with Leila in Amman in 2008. She tells Leila’s story but also says that she wants “to explore some of the issues and passions she arouses; how do militants whose careers start with violent action end them in the arena of political negotiation and discussion? Why, and how, do people – especially women – decide to follow the path of armed struggle and what do they gain and lose.”
Visit Lipstick Socialist to read the review in full.
Icon of Palestinian Liberation
Compelling biography of a legendary Palestinian resistance fighter. From refugee camp to international infamy.
“Sarah Irving provides a fine portrayal of a compelling and mysterious figure from a tumultuous period in Palestinian history, mixing biography and historical critique to deliver a valuable insight into Leila Khaled’s character as well as her extraordinary appeal as a revolutionary icon.” – Nicholas Blincoe, Novelist and co-editor of Peace Under Fire: Israel/Palestine and the International Solidarity Movement