We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir

Longlist, National Book Awards 2023 for Nonfiction

ISBN 9781635423648
Other Press
Author photo Raja Shehadeh. (Photo credit: Mariana Cook)
Raja Shehadeh

Raja Shehadeh is a writer, lawyer, and the founder of the pioneering Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

A subtle psychological portrait of the author’s relationship with his father during the 20th-century battle for Palestinian human rights.

Aziz Shehadeh was many lawyer, activist, and political detainee, he was also the father of bestselling author and activist Raja. In this new and searingly personal memoir, Raja Shehadeh unpicks the snags and complexities of their relationship.

A vocal and fearless opponent, Aziz resists under the British mandatory period, then under Jordan, and, finally, under Israel. As a young man, Raja fails to recognize his father’s courage and, in turn, his father does not appreciate Raja’s own efforts in campaigning for Palestinian human rights. When Aziz is murdered in 1985, it changes Raja irrevocably.

This is not only the story of the battle against the various oppressors of the Palestinians, but a moving portrait of a particular father and son relationship.