Sami Hermez with Sireen Sawalha, "My Brother, My Land: A Story from Palestine" (Redwood Press, 2024)


My Brother, My Land: A Story from Palestine (Redwood Press, 2024) is a riveting and unapologetic account of Palestinian resistance, the story of one family's care for their land, and a reflection on love and heartache while living under military occupation.

In 1967, Sireen Sawalha's mother, with her young children, walked back to Palestine against the traffic of exile. My Brother, My Land is the story of Sireen's family in the decades that followed and their lives in the Palestinian village of Kufr Ra'i. From Sireen's early life growing up in the shadow of the '67 War and her family's work as farmers caring for their land, to the involvement of her brother Iyad in armed resistance in the First and Second Intifada, Sami Hermez, with Sireen Sawalha, crafts a rich story of intertwining voices, mixing genres of oral history, memoir, and creative nonfiction.

Through the lives of the Sawalha family, and the story of Iyad's involvement with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hermez confronts readers with the politics and complexities of armed resistance and the ethical tensions and contradictions that arise, as well as with the dispossession and suffocation of people living under occupation and their ordinary lives in such times. Whether this story leaves readers discomforted, angry, or empowered, they will certainly emerge with a deeper understanding of the Palestinian predicament.

Sami Hermez is an anthropologist and teaches at Northwestern University in Qatar. He is the author of War Is Coming: Between Past and Future Violence in Lebanon (2017). His work in and out of the classroom reflects a strong commitment to freedom, justice, and equality. His family's history of migration spans the Levant, with roots in Al-Qosh, Aleppo, Beirut, and Jerusalem. Sami lives in Doha with his family.

SIREEN SAWALHA, born in the small village of Kufr Rai in Jenin, Palestine, comes from a family deeply connected to the region's rich history. She moved to the US in 1990 and completed her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Rider University. Recognized by Cornell University for her outstanding contributions to education in 2022, Sireen serves as a social studies teacher in New Jersey. Beyond academia, she is a passionate chef and compelling storyteller, sharing her family's experiences under occupation. Sireen raises awareness about Palestinian culture and actively contributes to the struggle for Palestinian freedom. My Brother, My Land is the story of her family.

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Tugrul Mende

Tugrul Mende holds an M.A in Arabic Studies. He is based in Berlin as a project coordinator and independent researcher.

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