On her way to work on the morning of April 10, 1948, a young Palestinian woman named Hind Husseini came across fifty-five children who had been unloaded from an Israeli army truck near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. They were the survivors of a massacre that took place in their village, Deir Yassin. It was the beginning of the war of 1948.
Hind brought them to her family home and quickly decided to establish an orphanage. It was given the name Dar El-Tifel, Children’s Home. She sold all of her familial possessions and her school became an oasis to hundreds of orphans. Today, three thousand girls attend Dar El-Tifel.
At the age of five, Miral was left at the orphanage after her mother, Nadia, committed suicide. Jamal, Miral’s father, decided that Hind was the ideal mentor, teacher, and surrogate mother for his daughter. At the age of sixteen, when the First Intifada was simmering, Miral was assigned to teach at a refugee camp in Ramallah. The horrors she witnessed there changed her life forever and brought her closer to the history of violence and personal struggle that seemed to be her family’s legacy.
Miral is the tale of a nation told through the family history of four women whose destinies are unexpectedly intertwined, and against the backdrop of the story of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As the tension of the First Intifada rises, Miral, like many of those of her generation, feels the deep injustice and becomes politically active. She finds herself at a crossroads, where she must decide between violence and education as the best way to achieve peace. Hind sees enormous potential in Miral and does her best to steer her toward education. Five years later in 1993, the two sides finally stop looking at each other from behind a gun and start negotiations that lead to the signing of the peace agreement. At the same time two girls, one Israeli, one Palestinian, sit together on the beach talking about their future.
This extraordinary story provides remarkable insight into the struggles of Palestinian women navigating the turbulent political and personal waters of their country from 1948 to1993. The book describes the fragile steps that must be taken by a young woman whose courage and sense of responsibility push her to find justice for her people. This is a story about a dream of freedom, hope, and the love of a country. It’s about a young girl making her own destiny.