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My Name Is Musa

My Name Is Musa

by Patricia Anne Rantisi Publishing – ISBN 978-1781760888 - 394 pages

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Reviewed by Tim Biles

This novel could only have been written by someone with profound experience of the Israel/Palestine conflict and Patricia Rantisi certainly has that. For 37 years she lived in Ramallah and worked at the children’s home run by her husband the late Audeh Rantisi, an Anglican priest. She has since published a revised version of his autobiography ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’.

In this latest publication she tells a story that pulls the heart strings and gives hope as she reveals goodness as well as confusion among people on all sides of the conflict. The story is built around a British Jewish couple who holiday in Israel, the guests of friends whose home is in a settlement built on disputed land. While they are strolling along a river bank they find a wicker basket caught in the rushes, with a baby inside and a tag saying ‘My name is Musa’. The story tells of the care the Jewish couple take of the Arab infant and of the passionate emotions involved when health and adoption issues arise with painful complications of religion, culture, health, finance and broken marriages. And the end of the story? Well it is unfair to give endings away, but let’s say that as  Musa grows up, the author, like all good story tellers, leaves us wanting more. It is a hard hearted reader who fails to be moved and an ignorant one who fails to understand more of the legalism, bureaucracy and prejudices which make reconciliation even more difficult. This is a strong and deeply human story filled with compassion, and realism.


Featured in Bible Lands, Winter 2012