(Ben Hubbard’s and Hwaida Saad’s article appeared in The New York Times, 3/22; via Pam Green.)
BEIRUT, Lebanon — In a measured voice, the middle-aged woman in the blue dress recalled how a colleague had come to her hotel room during a work trip years before and tried to rape her, retreating only after she had screamed to alert the neighbors.
In tears, she hid in the bathroom to ponder her dilemma: Should she tell her boss? Would that make matters better or worse?
Complicating her decision was the fact that her boss had been a father figure to her since she was a child. He was also, as it turned out, the iconic and controversial father of the Palestinian nationalist movement, Yasir Arafat.
With that story began the sold-out closing performance last week of the autobiographical one-woman show “Where Can I Find Someone Like You, Ali,” written and performed by the Palestinian writer Raeda Taha and directed by Lina Abyad at the Babel Theater in Beirut.
Ms. Taha’s show has drawn large crowds and critical acclaim since it opened here last month because of its deeply personal and often ironic take on a life shaped by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Ms. Taha’s pedigree gives her a rare tie to the Palestinian struggle: her father was a militant killed by Israeli commandos after hijacking an airplane in 1972. Mr. Arafat then virtually adopted her and her sisters, lavishing them with gifts as the daughters of a “martyr.” As an adult, she worked as Mr. Arafat’s press secretary.
And in an unlikely twist, one of the Israeli commandos who participated in the raid that killed her father was a young man named Benjamin Netanyahu, who won an election in Israel on Tuesday that will likely give him a fourth term as prime minister.
Ms. Taha still hates him.