by Pamela Olson
You have to hand it to journalist Sandy Tolan, author of The Lemon Tree. In his new book Children of the Stone, he doesn’t pussy-foot around. There’s no attempt at false “balance,” no endeavor to spend equal time on the Israeli side or make their situation seem as bad as—or worse than—the Palestinian reality in order to get the “non-biased” stamp of approval. In today’s language, poisoned by politics, “non-biased” means distorting facts to fit a mainstream narrative that amounts to a near-total inversion of reality. Tolan has none of it.
Instead he dares to tell a sweeping Palestinian story, from a predominantly Palestinian perspective, of passion and loss, hard work and violence, perseverance and corruption, focusing on the life of Ramzi Aburedwan, a boy from a Palestinian refugee camp who grows up to found Al Kamandjati, a gorgeous music school and a pride of Ramallah.