Review of My name is Musa

I am awed by the power displayed by Patricia Rantisi in this, her second novel. I read her first, Miriam’s Legacy, a few years ago, and recommended it to many who were interested in how the conflicts in Israel and Palestine affected ‘ordinary’ human beings.

My Name is Musa is better than her first novel. She somehow manages to show deep sympathy toward all opposing factions. Moslems and Jews, Moslems and Christians, Christians and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis, all.

In this simple, yet very complex story, Patricia Rantisi has a Jewish couple find a Moslem newborn infant, have Christian nuns aid them in getting that baby to medical help through a Christian hospital in Bethlehem.

Taking that child from Israel/Palestine to England and getting him heart surgery, before adopting and rearing him, introduces the reader to more complex regulatory hurdles. One discovers the amazing number of walls that have been erected, through prejudice or law, or both. And one learns of the power of love that finds ways over or through those walls.

Human beings, living within the terribly restricting environment of today’s world are given assurance that love and persistence are powerful.

One finds much to weep over in the story. But there is a thread of hope and joy throughout. The principal characters portray persistence, and ancient prejudices are overcome.

I have known Patricia Rantisi for a quarter of a century, my wife and I worked with her as volunteers in the Christian orphanage she and her husband, Audeh, had in Ramallah, West Bank. The deep fears and prejudices, the anger, the near despair, the hatred, of human beings for the different I have experienced.
Prejudice stemming from cruel history over centuries makes us fail to remember that God is the parent of us all.

The Moslem baby, Musa, in the arms of a Jewish woman, who accepts him and adopts him even after he has been baptized a Christian, may be an impossible plot. But I consider it an allegory. I relearned a lesson. By whatever Name we call the Creator, that Creator has commended us all to Love one another.

Rt. Rev. Robert McKewin