Sunday, July 30, 2006

My people shall live: Autobiography of a revolutionary by Leila Khaled

My people shall live: Autobiography of a revolutionary
by Leila Khaled

Leila Khaled - One of the few women who became very famous by being Palestinian revolutionaries. Over the years many such people have surfaced. However, way back in 1969, it was certainly a new phenomenon. On the other hand, if you look at recent acts of violence in Israel, good number of suicide bombers are women.

This book was published way back in 1973......way too old. From 1969-1972, Leila Khaled participated in at least 2 daring hijackings of Israeli airliners. She was not apprehended by Israelis but by British in the second incident.

This book his her memoirs to that date written for her by a canadian George Hajjar.

Khaled was part of Ahmed Jibrils''s PFLP (People's front for the liberation of Palestine). PFLP is one among the many organization borne out of conflict with Arafat's Fatah. PFLP has always taken violent stand and has never been in the mainstream negotiations. They did some spectacular hijacks and also give Israel an opportunity to showcase their commando prowess. Another group of PFLP hijackers had hijacked an Sabena airliner into Israel in 1969 and were subdued by Israeli commandos. Incidentally, Ehud Barak who lead many such operations and went on to become Israel's PM in 90s.

The book traces her childhood in Haifa, being driven out of Haifa, life as a refugee in Lebanon, college years in Beirut, work life in Kuwait, working as a revolutionary etc.

One interesting point of passing reference is about what Khaled has to say about Gandhi. She writes that she developed respect for his moral integrity. But, she also felt he was born a slave and never outgrew his slave mentality. Not sure what made her think that way. But, seems like an interesting observation. It should not be surprising if hot blooded young people thought Gandhi's passive resistance as acts of slavery. But, what has created any lasting peace is such methods only.

After her capture in Britain, she was not assigned to any ostensive projects because she had received way too much publicity with her photos flashing everywhere. She got into more of an organizing and management roles and continued her work.

Some more info at


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