Blood Brothers is roughly one-third personal memoir, one-third history lesson and one-third a meditation on peace. It takes as its central theme the dangers when outside forces stress and forcibly disrupt a community’s peace. This done by disregarding its inherent dynamic.
Chacour was born in pre-partition Palestine isn 1937 and retired in 2014 as an Archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in post-partition Palestine. He seems uniquely qualified to both describe and address the issues facing Palestine today, as well as the Christian’s role of peacemaker.
His memories of pre-partition Palestine are almost idyllic: a poor, but generally happy, place (the way many of us remember our childhoods). A place in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians were able to live, work and celebrate life in seeming harmony.
The middle-third of the book outlines the long history of Palestine, in an even handed, if somewhat simplistic, way, through partition and the subsequent conflicts. Surprisingly, some facts are omitted, but the book is not a polemic on the evils of colonialism. Father Chacour stays squarely focused on the practical quest for conflict resolution. He clearly believes in the healing power of the Spirit working through the hearts and hands of individuals. And what it means for an individual to take on the role of peacemaker.
Within its limitations, I would recommend the book as a good primer. Father Chacour provides both a deeply personal and historical backdrop to the partition of Palestine and what has since evolved into the “Palestinian question” through the lens of his father’s admonition that it should never be forgotten the “Jews and Palestinians are blood brothers.” Reviewed by Randy Hurt