I received this book from Tyndale for read/review in December. I was very reluctant to read anything to do with the Middle East. I felt that since I picked it I had better give it a chance. It turned out to be very interesting and an easy read. This is not the type of book I typically read but you have to step outside of that box once in awhile.
Synopsis from Barnes and Noble
“At age 17, Palestinian Tass Saada ran away to become a PLO sniper, onetime chauffeur for Yasser Arafat, and a Muslim immersed in anti-Israeli activity. As a man he moved to America, started a family, and eventually became a Christian. Then he risked retribution as he returned home to share his faith with his family and former boss. Once an Arafat Man is a story of the ultimate triumph of love over hatred, of reconciliation over divisions. Its a story that can inspire us all to overcome the conflicts in our own lives.”
Pub. Date: December 2009
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Format: Paperback, 256pp
Tass Saada is a man who started his life hating the Jews and when he was old enough at the age of 17, he ran away and joined the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) as a Fatah fighter. Tass and his friends killed Jews in Israel. They attacked Christians in Jordan. They even went as far as throwing hand grenades in to their homes. Tass was born in Gaza and raised in Saudi Arabia where the Palestinians and Jews hated each other and were constantly fighting. The more violent the better, he once even tried to assassinate a prince of an Arab country.
The first part of the book goes into this part of Tass’s life as a terrorist, about the strict rules of his Muslim religion, and of course his family. He tells how he became a friend and chauffer of Yassir Arafat (thus the title). Arafat was a hero to Tass and he would gladly give up his life for this hero.
The second part of the book tells how Tass comes to America in 1974 and moves to Columbia, Missouri where he had a friend. He stays with this friend for awhile, gets his GED and meets Karen (his future wife). She at first wants nothing to do with him but he does win her over. Karen had a baby to raise and she does agree to marry him. At the beginning he did marry her so he could get his Green card. Tass and Karen had a daughter together and with a son (Karen’s from a previous relationship) and they settled into married life. Tass’s family of course were not accepting of the marriage as he was supposed to marry a girl within his own Muslim religion. Tass goes on into the restaurant business, starting at the bottom and working up until he was managing a restaurant with the goal to open his own at some point.
The third part of the book tells how Tass meets a man, Charlie Sharpe, and with Charlies help over a period of time learns to love. Charlie teaches him about Jesus and and the Bible. He realized in his heart that God does exist and he wants Jesus in his life. As the story goes on to tell how Charlie wants to open up a church in Missouri and have a Christian community where he could also have a school for troubled kids who needed guidance. Tass sell their restaurant and move to Missouri to do what they can to help. Tass ends up working in the kitchen, starting all over at the bottom, Karen started teaching 4th grade at the school.
Tass, after becoming a Christian feels that it is his duty to educate the the Muslims and Jews and how they need to accept God into their lives and to live peacefully with each other. As a result Tass travels around the country, giving talks and speeches. He even goes back to Gaza to again try to educate the Muslims and Jews.
I did enjoy this story and I learned more about the strife in the Middle East and why they were actually fighting. I had never heard of Tass Saada of course and I was impressed by this man who overcame his hatred and learned to love because he brought Jesus into his life. He was also willing on his travels back to Jordan to face whatever charges there might be because of his PLO actions. I would recommend this book highly.