Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Olson, Pamela J. "Fast Times in Palestine"

Olson, Pamela J. "Fast Times in Palestine: A Love Affair with a Homeless Homeland" - 2011

Like most of us growing up in the Western world, Pamela Olson only had heard about the Middle East and all their troubles in the news, in books, always second hand, always full of prejudices and stereotypes. In 2003, she travelled to Palestine and found out for herself what this people has been going through.

The author gives a detailed account about life on the West Bank (and in Gaza) after the wall was erected. What it means for a Palestinian living in a country that is no longer their own. Pamela Olson tells us all about their daily lives and struggles.

Not since "City of Oranges" have I read such a detailed witnessing story about the people from the country that was supposed to be "without people". Same as then, I ask what's the solution? What can be done to help these people. And how can we ever get peace in the holy land? All I can say is that we need more people like Pamela Olson who report back what they see. Maybe it will open some eyes that will make a difference.

But it's not just the interesting topic that makes this story worthwhile reading, the author has a great way of describing everything. She also has her own website and continues her story in a blog called Fast Times in Palestine.

From the back cover:
"Pamela Olson, a small town girl from eastern Oklahoma, had what she always wanted: a physics degree from Stanford University. But instead of feeling excited for what came next, she felt consumed by dread and confusion. This irresistible memoir chronicles her journey from aimless ex-bartender to Ramallah-based journalist and foreign press coordinator for a Palestinian presidential candidate.

This book illuminates crucial years of Israeli-Palestinian history, from the death of Yasser Arafat to the Gaza Disengagement to the Hamas election victory. Its griping narrative focuses not only on violence, terror, and social and political upheavals but also on the daily rounds of house parties, concerts, barbecues, weddings, jokes, harvests, and romantic drama that happen in between.
Funny, gorgeous, shocking and galvanizing, Fast Times in Palestine challenges the way we think not only about the Middle East but about human nature and our place in the world."

Books she loves:
Kanaaneh, Dr. Hatim "A Doctor in Galilee"
Jundi, Sami al; Marlowe, Jen "The Hour of Sunlight"
Horowitz, Adam; Ratner, Lizzy; Weiss, Weiss (ed.) "The Goldstone Report" (United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict)
Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin"
Pappe, Ilan "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine"
Kricorian, Nancy "Zabelle"
Sagan, Carl "Cosmos"
Johnstone, Keith "Impro"
Madson, Patricia Ryan "Improv Wisdom"
Thoreau, Henry David "Walden and Civil Disobedience"
Lee, Harper "To Kill a Mockingbird"


  1. I am always interested in anything that tells about the different sides of this tragic place. As far as a solution goes, I am of the mind that the Jews and the Palestinians have to work it out between them. Of course, various governments can't let it alone.

    1. They certainly will have to work it out between themselves, any order from the outside will only lead to more conflicts. Doesn't mean that they can't give advice but it is all such a mess.