Socialist Worker

Growing pain can't be silenced

by Jessica Gill
Issue No. 1873

A Little Piece Of Ground Elizabeth Laird McMillan Books, £8.99

ELIZABETH LAIRD'S A Little Piece of Ground stirred up some controversy. Israeli pressure groups demanded its printing be discontinued.

The book tells the story of a 12 year old Palestinian boy, Karim, growing up under Israeli occupation.

Laird accurately portrays how a normal child's life can be completely distorted by Israel's dominant military presence. Living under a nearly constant curfew, Karim soon finds himself in a situation that ends with him being shot in the leg by an Israeli soldier.

When reading A Little Piece of Ground you often find yourself asking how children can be treated in such a way. Laird successfully conveys the idea that Israeli soldiers must see Palestinians as lower life forms for such atrocities to happen.

Karim is comfortable with the idea of his older brother becoming a martyr, but he learns an important lesson about freedom. And he discovers that blowing yourself up is not the only form of resistance.

A Little Piece of Ground is a good book for teenagers to read. It's Karim's similarities to any other child in the world that make his differences so striking. It is not surprising that some Israelis are unhappy with the book. But trying to stop the injustices of the Israeli occupation from being written down does not make them any less true.

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Sat 18 Oct 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1873
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