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Crazy Occupation

Eyewitness to the Intifada

Crazy Occupation by Jamie Tarabay
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When Jamie Tarabay, a young Australian journalist, was posted to Israel to report on the conflict in the Occupied Territories, her family were, understandably, somewhat concerned.

Her parents had left Lebanon before war broke out in 1975 and watched as their beloved Beirut, the city they called the Paris of the Middle East, was violated by warring militias and torn apart by civil war. Her father took the family back to Lebanon in 1987 to live for three years, where they struggled with what it meant to be Christians in a Lebanon that was being overtaken by political and religious violence, before returning to Australia. And now their daughter, an Arabic-speaking Australian of Catholic Lebanese descent, was about to be plunged back into the thick of Middle Eastern politics. Wouldn't you be worried?

But Jamie was unafraid, or perhaps just stunningly naive. Plunging into the vibrant life, culture and politics of the region, this memoir of her time in the Middle East is a vivid and highly readable snapshot of a life lived at the epicentre of the Arab-Israeli conflict. From the great optimism of the Camp David summit in 2000, the start of the intifada in 2001 and all that came after, Jamie was in the thick of it - Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron, suicide bombers, hard-line Jewish settlers, Palestinians living under curfew, seeing in the new millennium after Christmas in Bethlehem - all the while redefining her sense of what it means to be Australian, her morality, her heritage and her religion. This is an entertaining, unique and highly illuminating memoir.

Allen & Unwin; September 2005
239 pages; ISBN 9781741156126
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Title: Crazy Occupation
Author: Jamie Tarabay