by Botrus Mansour, author of Looking from the Precipice: Reflections from Nazareth of a Palestinian Christian Evangelical
As long as I can remember, we were raised in my childhood on news, journalism and books. My dad was the first Arab Palestinian in Israel to work as a journalist in a Hebrew paper (Haolam Hazeh at first and in Haaretz most of the time).We were breathing journalism and politics at our home especially that he did not have an office but worked from home.He would of course leave the house to hold interviews or attend special events that had news importance but the writing , as well as telephone calls were held from our small apartment in Nazareth. It was fun having dad at home, although he was occupied mostly with something else. I remember vividly that all our meals together as a family had the voice of news (specially in Hebrew) in the background. My dad always had his transistor with him as he “had” to be updated with the news in the country of plentiful news and news updates were given every half an hour. My mom called the transistor the "Infusion”. As a journalist my dad would bring home 4 copies of newspapers daily . As a kid I produced an appetite for reading…the sports section at first but also political news later.
This germ/virus of journalism did not skip any of us, the 3 children. My brother Bader who owns today an international software company published a school paper while in high school. It was even called by his name (Bader in Arabic means “Full moon”). My sister Samar, a food engineer, also had her share with writing articles in different stages in her life.
In the early eighties my dad partnered with a local owner of public relations office who had a dream of publishing the first Arabic weekly commercial newspaper and they actually did. So me and my brother spent holidays working in the newspaper in semi editing jobs. My brother served as the sports section editor. I used old journals to write horoscopes…
Although I went to the legal profession and school administration, writing and editing was always something done from the side.
In 2006 a war erupted during the summer vacation between Israel and Lebanon. We were ordered to stay in closed areas attached to an interior wall so we don’t get hit by a bomb flying from south Lebanon (and Nazareth was hit 3 times during the war). My wife Abir encouraged me to write my memoirs as I had just turned 40. I did that but in the Hebrew language but it was published in English 5 years later! These memoirs were released in my first book in English “When Your Neighbor is the Savior”.
Living in these parallel worlds of church, school and community as a citizen of the world- brought the need to tackle different forces and to reconcile tensions between them. I started writing, sometimes in Hebrew and sometimes in English but mainly in Arabic for my own people.
I pray the pieces I wrote will be a blessing for those that read them: either making them love Jesus more or widen the horizon of the readers and as a result loving the neighbor more.