The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker

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Overview


As a teenager in Palestine, Sami al Jundi had one ambition: overthrowing Israeli occupation. With two friends, he began to build a bomb to use against the police. But when it exploded prematurely, killing one of his friends, al Jundi was caught and sentenced to ten years in prison.

It was in an Israeli jail that his unlikely transformation began. Al Jundi was welcomed into a highly organized, democratic community of political prisoners who required that members of their cell ...

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The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker

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Overview


As a teenager in Palestine, Sami al Jundi had one ambition: overthrowing Israeli occupation. With two friends, he began to build a bomb to use against the police. But when it exploded prematurely, killing one of his friends, al Jundi was caught and sentenced to ten years in prison.

It was in an Israeli jail that his unlikely transformation began. Al Jundi was welcomed into a highly organized, democratic community of political prisoners who required that members of their cell read, engage in political discourse on topics ranging from global revolutions to the precepts of nonviolent protest and revolution.

Al Jundi left prison still determined to fight for his people’s rights—but with a very different notion of how to undertake that struggle. He cofounded the Middle East program of Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence, which brings together Palestinian and Israeli youth.

Marked by honesty and compassion for Palestinians and Israelis alike, The Hour of Sunlight illuminates the Palestinian experience through the story of one man’s struggle for peace.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this remarkable story of life under Israeli occupation, coauthors al Jundi, cofounder of the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, and Marlowe (Darfur Diaries) intertwine the personal and the political as they trace al Jundi's evolution from Palestinian militant to peacemaker. As teenagers, al Jundi and two friends joined the PLO, but when a bomb exploded as they were building it, one boy was killed, and the other two badly injured—and on the receiving end of Israeli interrogations and torture. Sentenced to a decade in prison, al Jundi dedicates himself to an extensive education program maintained by the prisoners themselves, ultimately committing himself to nonviolence and to bridging the Israeli-Palestinian divide. The authors successfully convey al Jundi's joys and sorrows, the triumph of his endurance, the complexity of the conflict, and the necessity of dialogue. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews

One Palestinian's tale, from Fatah fighter to prisoner to peace activist.

His mother was a victim of theNakba, the "Catastrophe," as Palestinians refer to the 1948 creation of the Israeli state and their consequent dispossession. After the 1967 Six-Day War, five-year-old Jundi and his parents were forced to move again to another part of Jerusalem. As a youth, he threw stones, shouted slogans and protested the Israeli occupation outside Al-Aqsa mosque or the Damascus Gate. He tried to join the 1976 war in Lebanon and later dropped out of school to work in a Jewish-owned factory that fired him for sabotaging the work. Brutally interrogated by Israeli police for his part in a failed bomb plot, he served ten years. In prison he became an organizer, a leader and a teacher, educating himself by reading widely. He studied Gandhi and began to contemplate nonviolence as a tool to effect political change. After his release, after forming some tentative friendships with Jews and after harsh treatment at the hands of the Palestinian Authority, the author drifted into the Palestinian Center for Non-Violence and later helped found the Seeds of Peace Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem, a youth program dedicated to fostering dialogue between Jews and Muslims. With his former Center colleague Marlowe (Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival, 2006), Jundi describes his transformation—without ever abandoning his "stance against occupation, settlements, and land and water expropriation," he learned to separate political issues from human beings and to fight against bigotry and hate. The authors devote a third of the book to their indefatigable, inspiring efforts on behalf of the Seeds program, even in amid of the Second Intifada, maintaining ties among the children of the warring sides. They also describe their dismay at the political infighting and bureaucratic bungling that led the organization astray. After recounting years of various horrors and indignities, the author's comment on his firing is the narrative's most heartbreaking: "Ten years of prison had not damaged me as deeply as Seeds of Peace had."

Memorably captures in one man's story the hard work of peacemaking in the Middle East.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568584485
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,526,517
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jen Marlowe is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, playwright, and human rights advocate. Her writing can be found online at The Nation, TomDispatch, and WorldFocus.

Sami Al Jundi has spent the last two decades working toward peace and a nonviolent end to Israeli occupation. He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and four children.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 22, 2011

    A vivid must read

    I read the book in two days. I though it was a moving, in depth autobiography of the struggle for peace and humanity. Through all the sadness and disappointment there are movements of hope that move you and make you feel like you're right there with Sami and the family. I absolutely loved it !!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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