"Liberate yourself, you liberate the land. We can always find others to blame, whether it's the British mandate or whatever. But we have to be our own force for reform and for justice." - Daud Mikhail



CircumstancesEarly LifeSchool



Born into the volatile situation of being Palestinian in the early years of Israeli power, Ashrawi was nurtured by her both of her parents into accepting her roots and shaping her role in the conflict. Their marriage was considered to be an unconvential one, but Ashrawi says this never influenced her until she was an adult and considering an unconventional marriage herself.



Her father Daud Mikhail was a doctor who was also involved in politics. He encouraged her to read, write, and embrace language on both artistic and practical levels. His influence on Ashrawi was one of devotion to the Palestinian people; she calls him “of the peasant tradition,” and therefore deeply connected to the fate of Palestine. While living in Jordan, he led the Nationalist Socialist Party and was imprisoned for it. Later, he was involved in recruiting for the PLO. His legacy was a passionate feeling that the Palestinians had to liberate themselves from their troubles instead of looking for someone else to solve their problems.



Wad’ia Ass’ad, Ashrawi’s mother, was a warm, caring woman originally from Lebanon. She was also a devout Episcopalian who felt that Westerners had appropriated Christianity for their own uses. Much more dedicated to religion than was her husband, she was the one who went to church with her daughters. The fact that Hanan Ashrawi is Christian and not Muslim is still a major part of her identity as a Palestinian, a part which she inherited from her mother.