BOOK IN A NUTSHELL: Abraham was just 18 years old when he survived the massacre of unarmed and innocent Palestinian refugees living in the Shatila and Sabra camps in Beirut, Lebanon. Beginning in June 1982, the camps came under a three-month siege by the Israeli army, which was trying to rout out members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The area was bombed and no food or water allowed inside. Starving refugees were forced to eat cats, dogs, rats and even human flesh to survive.
But the worst was yet to come, when the Lebanese Christian Phalangists attacked the camps. The Phalangists were seeking revenge for the assassination of the newly elected president of Lebanon, Bashir Gemayel of the Phalange Party. The guerrillas came in for blood, wielding hatchets, swords and knives. Women, children and elderly people were raped, tortured and murdered by the thousands in the most gruesome ways possible. The author’s fiancee, Rola, was among those who didn’t survive.
Abraham spares no words as he describes in haunting detail all that he saw.
BEST TIDBIT: Despite the suffering and brutality Abraham witnessed, he calls for peace among Muslims, Jews and Christians in the hope that all will have a better future without hate and revenge.
PROS: Abraham, now an American citizen, is donating all proceeds from this book to feed starving children in Africa.
CONS: The graphic book is likely to invoke nightmares. Here, for example, is what he says about the murder of a young boy: The soldier “grabs the child’s ankles just above his small white tennis shoes, carrying him to the same bloodstained cement wall that the woman was just raped against. Swinging him back for added momentum, the soldier slams the child head first against the wall again and again. On the third impact I see three-quarters of the boy’s head fly off, a white substance, his brain, follows. . . . The killer, now finished with his fun, throws the tiny body to the middle of the street. His audience of four compatriot butchers gather ’round to pat him on the back for a job well-done.”
FINAL WORD: This will probably be the most painful book you’ll ever read, but it’s a just tribute to those who paid the terrible price.