What we teach our kids
A message from Yousef Munayyer, USCPR Executive Director:
Parenting is hard enough. Now add to the mix raising Palestinian children to be proud of their heritage, history, and homeland amidst an onslaught of negative and demeaning messages.
As a Palestinian-American father raising a 4-year old, I was thrilled to hear about P is for Palestine, a children’s alphabet book that has quickly become part of our bedtime routine. The book presents a beautifully illustrated, unapologetically proud narrative of Palestinian identity. The book takes the reader on a rich and positive tour of Palestine through the alphabet: B for Bethlehem, D for Dabke, G for Gaza, M for Muftah, Q for Quds, and Z for Za’atar.
Unfortunately, part of what makes this book so special is how rare it is to see positive portrayals of Palestinian identity. As a Palestinian living in the United States, I pay close attention to how American media and popular culture talk about our people and homeland. There is no escaping the pervasive, constant pro-Israel bias and harmful stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims. The racist portrayal of us as violent, angry, irrational, uncivilized, and incapable of living in peace with their neighbors is far too common.
As an adult, I am able to see these narratives for what they are, and guard and work against them. But I am constantly concerned about how these negative stereotypes are impacting our kids, and how they might shape their thinking about their identity and our homeland.
P is for Palestine is exactly the kind of positive reinforcement needed by children whose identity is constantly under attack. Sadly, that is also why the book has come under fire from from Zionist critics seeking to take it off book shelves and cancel public book readings.
The good news is that the effort to make this book “controversial” backfired, resulting in the first limited printing selling out! And I have even better news: the author, Dr. Golbarg Bashi, agreed that US Campaign supporters could have the first opportunity to get the next available copies of P is for Palestine – hot off the press in early 2018. When you make a contribution of $50 or more, you will receive a copy of this beautiful children’s book as thanks for your support of our efforts to build a movement for justice in Palestine, here in the US.
I encourage you to get a copy of this book for yourselves and gift it to others. Every child could benefit from learning about Palestine in a positive and uplifting way. You are paying it forward to the next generation by giving the gift of learning about Palestine in the context of working for freedom, justice and equality.