“Tell me more about the Israelis”

Books | Fugitive Dreams | My Personal Reflections on Palestine

Ramsey Hanhan 🇵🇸 🌍
5 min readOct 29, 2023



The closest we got to Jerusalem yet was the hill at Ramallah’s outskirts, where I took [the five-year-old] Ksenya to see it from above the Wall. She asked to visit the city. I explained that the Israelis, whom she had encountered at the Bridge, blocked us from going there. That night, before bedtime, she approached me whispering something. I leaned in, and asked her to repeat it.

She whispered again, with eyes as wide as when I told her about seeing a fox on the trail,

‘Tell me more about the Israelis.’

I immediately understood the weight of my undertaking. Her attitude toward them will be shaped by mine — not only what I tell her, but what tone I use, and how I behave. Am I angry? Or fearful? Vengeful, perhaps? Apathetic? Ignorant?

I want to tell her the truth, but how to stop its bloodied shadow from staining the course of her life?

(photo by the author, Oct. 1, 2023)

Chapter 1: Under the Desk

Mid-1970s. Three years old. My house was my castle, where I played under the loving, caring eyes of my mom and grandma.

“Stay away from the windows, or you may get a stray bullet,” Mom’s voice anxiously pealed, delivering one of my earliest lessons in life.

Outside, the streets were in turmoil, spilling the sound of gunfire and the smell of burning tires and tear gas into the house. A world of borders, and I was born on the “wrong” side.

Of course, I peeked when I could, wondering what a stray bullet looked like. …

Thus begins Fugitive Dreams: Chronicles of Occupation and Resistance, a literary exploration of the Palestinian experience through five decades of personal stories.

Born in Palestine ‘on the “wrong” side of the border,’ Sameer finds his way to America to rebuild his life. His immigrant experience in post-9/11 America is laced to the ongoing conflict at home with the common threads of school shootings, police violence, human rights abuses, activism, and walls. For the sake of his daughter, he decides he must do something.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Editorial Reviews

“You’re going to want to read this book from beginning to end. I would … reread many of the stories, because they are stunning testaments to ‘sumud’. Ultimately, Fugitive Dreams is a story of “exiles, displaced persons, refugees, migrant workers, nomads, emigrants and wanderers — those who left their homes at gunpoint”…as well as a book of hope, determination, and forgiveness.”

– Greta Berlin, Co-Founder, the Free Gaza Movement

“A profound fictional portrayal of Palestinian life and struggle.”

Sam Bahour, ePalestine

“Fugitive Dreams is one of the few books that would make a compelling read even for those of us very familiar with the question of Palestine. … I highly recommend Hanhan’s debut literary project.”

– Jareer Kassis, Mondoweiss

“Fugitive Dreams whisks us along the streets and hills of Palestine, giving a glimpse of an occupied childhood witnessing an Intifada against a military power. The knock on the door, in the middle of the night, is all too familiar. The Nakba’s inherited trauma, the dislocation of statelessness and exile, the suspended evanescence of interim periods, and never-ending processes of “peace” are all there.”

– This Week in Palestine

“an intensely personal journey of the protagonist … that explores every facet of life — heritage, birth, childhood, love, livelihood, friendships, dreams, neighborhoods, memories, and aspirations.”

Ashok Subramanian, Author

“I was engaged from the start of the book and had to see how it would end, even in a world where there is no end in sight. Hanhan’s suggestions toward the end would serve all of us, no matter what your challenges may be. I recommend this read to all who want to understand and honor all of the ‘others’ who people this Earth.”

– Ned Tillman, Author of Good Endeavour, The Big Melt and Saving the Places We Love

“A scream that comes from the mouths of an entire generation. … This book is full of shocking, poignant, and sublime moments, and it is delightfully fascinating, vividly evocative, and emotionally honest throughout.”

The Bookish Elf

Where to Buy

Author Ramsey Hanhan with a copy of Fugitive Dreams in front of Busboys and Poets
Support your local bookstores! (photo by the author)


You can ask any bookstore to order it for you by ISBN number:


USA (or eBooks)


Middle East Books and More

Barnes & Noble

(Nook version)


Educational Bookshop, Jerusalem

Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Ramallah















ITALY and Middle East














Ramsey Hanhan 🇵🇸 🌍

Author. Tree spirit trapped in human form, I speak for the voiceless: children and the Earth, nature, justice, truth, freedom, love and Palestine. 🇵🇸 🌍