Hanan Ashrawi broke on to the global scene in 1988 during an interview between Israelis and Palestinians on ABCs Nightline. Brilliant, articulate, pragmatic, and Christian - she surprised the world. Ashrawis father was a founder of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. She has been active in Palestinian leadership circles all her life.
Ashrawi is an Anglican, a feminist, an author, a poet, a diplomat, and a brave proponent of nonviolent resistance in one of the most violent and enduring conflicts in the world, between Israel and Palestine.
On a visit to Washington, D.C., in September 2004, she was asked about her family, and her response reveals the painful, textured complexity known as the "politics of the Middle East." Ashrawi was born in the city of Nablus in the region of Tiberias in 1946, two years before the formation of the state of Israel. Her family was forced to relocate to Ramallah during the subsequent reconfiguring of Palestine - what Palestinians call "Al Nakba," or "the Disaster."
"When I was very young we became refugees from Tiberias," Ashrawi said. But they were lucky because they had resources. "My father was a medical doctor, an intellectual," she said. "He was a writer, an advocate of womens rights quite progressive. He was Greek Orthodox. My mother was very much a believer and practiced her own faith as an Anglican Episcopalian. When they married it was in the Anglican church. Thats where we were born and baptized."