Once an Arafat Man: The True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life, Softcover
Fascinating Story of Hope
"Once an Arafat Man: The True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life" is a fascinating read. As the title indicates, this is a true story of a former Fatah fighter. Tass Saada was born in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza strip. His parents left their land in Israel at the encouragement of the neighboring Muslim countries. After the failure of the 1948 war, they (with many others) were displaced. He grew up in Saudi Arabia and later Qatar.
Saada, like many young frustrated Palestinians, grew to respect Yasir Arafat and his rhetoric about Palestinians standing up for their rights. He fled from his home and joined the movement in its infancy. As a teenager he became a sniper and fought in many terrorist skirmishes.
Eventually his father's influence brought him back out of the Fatah, just before Black September's chaos, and he wound up ultimately in America. There for many years he succeeded in business and lived the American dream, with its money, prestige and also its sinful vices. Then he met Jesus, and the rest is history!
His story of conversion is amazing, and the transformation in his life and family is dramatic. God had his hand on this man and eventually he became the founder of Hope for Ishmael a non-profit organization that aims to reconcile Jews and Muslims, and that also aids the many Palestinians caught in the crossfire of the Middle-East conflict. God took Tass from being a one-time chauffeur to Arafat, and allowed him to share the Gospel with the Muslim leader in the final years of his life.
Saada's story is a celebration of God's grace. Along the way, Saada has some wise Gospel words to speak about the Middle-East conflict. He finds the Bible's honorable treatment of Hagar and Ishmael to have special significance in our understanding of this conflict. He also stresses God's promise in Ez. 47: 21-23 that "the aliens [foreigners] who have settled among you and who have children... along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel." (NIV)
His story will also challenge you to see God's hand at work in your own life. This book will open your heart to the suffering of the Middle-East and give hope! I highly recommend this quick read. May Jesus be exalted in the Middle East!
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
May 23, 2011
"Once an Arafat Man" is a well-written memoir about a man who was born a Muslim in Palestine in 1951, who grew up hating Jews, killed both Jews and Christians, but then later became a Christian and worked to bring reconciliation between Arabs and Jews. It's a fast-paced story that kept my interest from beginning to end.He described how his family became refugees, why they were moved to Saudi Arabia, what life was like there for Palestinan refugees, how he learned to hate Jews, how he met Yasser Arafa and later came to join the PLO, what he did in the PLO, how his parents tricked him to get him out of the PLO, why he went to America and what he did there, how and why he converted to Christianity, how his family reacted to his conversion, and how he made peace with his family as well as with Jews. Having read quite a bit on the conflict in the Middle East, I thought he did a good job showing both sides of the issue, though he didn't go in-depth.Overall, I'd highly recommend this interesting and well-written book to those who are interested in the Jew-Arab conflict in the Middle East or to those interested in what it's like for a Muslim to convert to another religion.
September 21, 2010
Some books are just confrontational. You know how some books make you realize that assumptions you have had are not correct or that they are wounding to people? Some books confront ideas that you have long had or make you see the other side of the issue.Once An Arafat Man has been one of those books for me. It is subtitled the True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life yep, not exactly light reading.However it is a fascinating book. Because of Tass Saada, I no longer see things the way I did before. While I now understand even better what a confusing mess it is in the Middle East, I also have to say that Once An Arafat Man left me feeling more hopeful at the end. It also showed me one of the ways that God is working in that mess.God worked a miracle in Tass Saadas heart and now God is using Tass to do more work.
February 18, 2010
Tass Saada was a terrorist. Trained by Fatah as a sniper, Saada rose to the level of personal driver for Yasser Arafat. Saada tells his story as, I am sure, only he can tell it. He was born a Palestinian Arab in the Gaza Strip. At a young age he joined Fatah to help remove Israel from former Palestinian land, land he saw as belonging to his people. At the age of 22, after living life as a trouble-maker, Tass immigrated to the United States. He got married as a ploy to get his permanent resident status, then fell in love with the woman he married. He worked many years in the restaurant business, achieving some real success. One of his regular customers, who became a friend, introduced Tass to Jesus Christ and Tass became a Christian. He remained in the restaurant business for some time then felt God leading him into ministry. His vision is to reconcile Jews and Arabs based on a relationship with Jesus Christ. Saada has gone on to found a humanitarian ministry called Hope for Ishmael.I found this book to be an easy, but not always comfortable, read. The first part is devoted to Saadas lifestyle of hatred and anger. He describes in enough detail some of the violent acts he committed. The second section of the book is about his conversion and growth into the founder and leader of a ministry. It is a joy and blessing to come alongside Saada as his heart breaks to lead Jews and Muslim Arabs to Christ. the third section of the book is devoted to the idea that peace in the Middle East will not be found in politics or diplomacy. It will only be found in the reconciling power of God through Jesus Christ. This was an interesting book that I would recommend. Anyone with even a remote interest in world affairs, especially the Middle East, would enjoy and appreciate Once an Arafat Man. I was provided a copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers for review purposes.
January 15, 2010