Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

I made a new friend in the past couple of days.  Her name is Laila Lalami, originally from Morocco but she now makes her home in Portland, Oregon.  She doesn’t know me, but I feel like I could sit and drink coffee with her and chat for hours.

Laila Lalami is the author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (2005), her first, but I hope not last, book about the human experience of living and surviving in Morocco.   The book jacket describes it well.

In her exciting debut, Laila Lalami evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco and offers an authentic look at the Muslim immigrant experience today.

For reasons as different as the lives they are leaving behind, four Muslims illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. What has driven these men and women to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger? Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a gripping book about people in search of a better future.”

Hope for a better life, for opportunities not found at home, for a chance just to prove “I can do this if given just half-a-chance.”   I know several friends in Gaza who are experiencing the same feelings, I think, that Laila shares in this book.

Is it dangerous to hope, as the book title implies?   Never.   But it takes a special kind of person to keep the flames of hope alive in Gaza in times such as the present.    My friends in Gaza are special.   I wish they could join Laila and me for lunch at the local cafe.

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