Nathan Thrall in Conversation with Ishaan Tharoor

  • October 14, 2023

The author of A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy comes to DC on Tues., Oct. 17th, at 7 p.m.!

Nathan Thrall in Conversation with Ishaan Tharoor

Five-year-old Milad Salama is excited for a school trip to a theme park on the outskirts of Jerusalem. On the way, his bus collides with a semitrailer. His father, Abed, gets word of the crash and rushes to the site. The scene is chaos — the children have been taken to different hospitals in Jerusalem and the West Bank; some are missing and others cannot be identified. Abed sets off on an odyssey to learn Milad's fate.  

It is every parent's worst nightmare, but for Abed it is compounded by the maze of physical, emotional, and bureaucratic obstacles he must navigate because he is Palestinian. He is on the wrong side of the separation wall, holds the wrong ID to pass the military checkpoints, and has the wrong papers to enter the city of Jerusalem. Abed's quest to find Milad is interwoven with the stories of a cast of Jewish and Palestinian characters whose lives and histories unexpectedly converge. 

In A Day in the Life of Abed Salama, Nathan Thrall — hailed for his “severe allergy to conventional wisdom” — offers an indelibly human portrait of the struggle over Israel/Palestine and a new understanding of the tragic history and reality of one of the most contested places on earth. 

Nathan Thrall is the author of The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine. His essays, reviews, and reported features have appeared in the New York Times Magazine,the Guardian, the London Review of Books, and the New York Review of Books and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. He spent a decade at the International Crisis Group, where he was director of the Arab-Israeli Project, and has taught at Bard College. Originally from California, he lives in Jerusalem. 

Abed Salama is a Palestinian living under Israeli rule in the enclave of Anata in greater Jerusalem. Salama’s story of losing his 5-year-old son Milad in a harrowing school bus accident provides the framework for Thrall’s depiction of Israel/Palestine. Salama is traveling to the U.S. to join Thrall in conversation about the book. 

Thrall and Salama will be joined in conversation with Ishaan Tharoor. Ishaan Tharoor is a columnist on the foreign desk of The Washington Post, where he authors the Today's WorldView newsletter and column. In 2021, he won the Arthur Ross Media Award in Commentary, a prize administered by the American Academy of Diplomacy. He previously was a senior editor and correspondent at Time magazine, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York. He also periodically teaches an undergraduate seminar at Georgetown University on digital affairs and the global age.

At Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC. Learn more here.

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