ctrp442 Growing Up Palestinian in Lebanon

With Ashraf in TyreThe name Tyre was one I remembered best from the days of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006 when the city was bombed and that standard war-map would appear on news reports.  While in country this past December, when I was offered a chance to go down there and speak with someone who lived in a refugee camp- I immediately said yes.  But what I didn’t realize until I got there, was just how many people not only live in the camps, but were born and have lived their entire lives there.  In a situation that has existed since 1948, there are stories that would be hard for some people to believe and too much for others to think about.
This podcast features a conversation we had with a young artist by the name of Ashraf.  After taking us to see the city and some of its amazing history, he sat down with us to answer our questions about his life, the situation for residents of the camp, and what the prospects are for people who have been referred to and treated as non-citizen “guests” for over 60 years.

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ctrp412 The Voice of Hanna Braun

Hanna's Memoir - Weeds Don't Perish

“We’ve been here before!” Hanna Braun said to herself back in 1948 as Arab residents were expelled from Haifa. She had been a member of the Hagana before the Israeli army had been formally created – before there was even an Israel. She had escaped Germany at the height of the Nazi era, and tells marvelous tales of life in Palestine and how the dream of a secular, multicultural, state was stolen away by a select group who saw violence and hate as tools with which to build a nation.  When she was old enough to fully understand what had happened, she dedicated her life to fighting injustice and increasing understanding on both sides. Hanna Braun was a friend of this podcast who taught us about a time in history and an experience that no school book has ever been allowed to publish.  She passed away in November of 2011 at the age of 84. This podcast features our first ever conversation, recorded in February 2006, about her life growing up, and what led her to become such an outspoken activist and deciated humanitarian.

Her Memoir – Weeds Don’t Perish

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Remembering a Defiant Old Woman

Image courtesy of Garnet Publishing UK

Hanna Braun. In early 2006 this name was recommended to me by an enthusiastic listener who said something to the effect of “you should really interview her.” I did some reading and learned a bit about who Hanna Braun was, an stubborn old lady who had grown up in Berlin during the rise of Hitler, then moved to Palestine when it was under British control, and then lived the creation of the state of Israel.  However the real story of Hanna Braun is one of resistance and speaking out – as she witnessed injustice run rampant in this newly created state.  Beyond injustice, Hanna explains what few people are old enough to recall – this was not the original plan, the dream of a secular inclusive state was co-opted and would never be realized.

I had the great privilege to speak with Hanna for 2 fantastic hours for this podcast all those years ago (including during the most recent Israeli military incursion into Lebanon).  We spoke about her life and the lessons learned from all that she lived through. We spoke about the beautiful moments and of course – her life’s work – exposing the injustices and the suffering in Palestine that deserve the world’s attention.  Hanna was dedicated not only to speaking about it, but taking action herself; organizing projects and participating in demonstrations, conferences, meetings and more.  She was an inspiring figure who taught me more about history than any school book in high school ever did.

Hanna died just over a week ago at the age of 84. I hadn’t spoken to her in a few years, but I have thought of her often whenever someone asks about my most favorite interview.  I was very much looking forward to having her back on the program and hear more from her all these years later.  Instead her voice as well as her words will have to suffice. Her memoir, Weeds Don’t Perish – Memoirs of a Defiant Old Woman Author” was published just 2 months ago.  I intend to read it, pass it on to my loved ones, continue to pass on the message, and carry on speaking out, just as Hanna did.

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