In the Land of My Birth recounts the coming of age of a blind Palestinian boy of modest milieu during the turbulent years leading up to the fall of Palestine in 1948. Above all, it is about the boy’s life and his struggles to make his way in the sighted world, his upbringing, schooling, friendships, and adventures. It is a compelling human story with a mine of information on popular culture and customs, the educational system, and Palestinian life.
While the looming conflict forms the essential backdrop, it comes to the fore only when it impinges directly on the boy’s world. The fact that the memoir unfolds largely in real time, with events, conversations, and situations recounted not retrospectively but as they are experienced, provides a rare window on the political attitudes, social views, legends, prejudices, perceptions and misperceptions of ordinary Palestinians at the time, unmediated and unvarnished. Essential reading for anyone interested in the cultural, social, and political history of Palestine, the condition of blindness, and the education of the blind.