NPR

'When We Were Arabs' Is A Nostalgic Celebration Of A Rich, Diverse Heritage

Author Massoud Hayoun has Moroccan, Egyptian and Tunisian heritage — and is also Jewish. He weaves in his family history with the politics that shaped their lives, including European oppression.
When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family's Forgotten History, by Massoud Hayoun Source: The New Press

Massoud Hayoun is a member of the Arab diaspora. With Moroccan, Egyptian, and Tunisian heritage, he is also Jewish.

His new book, When We Were Arabs, is an absorbing family history that spans continents and epochs.

Hayoun uses his grandparents' stories to illuminate the fading history of a once thriving Arab Jewish community. In the process, he delivers a scathing indictment against colonialism. He considers his Arabness "cultural," "African," and "Jewish," but "retaliatory" as well.

"I am Arab because it is what [we] have been told not to be,

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