The family of the Institute for Palestine Studies mourn the death of colleague and friend Dr. Reja-e Busailah, who died on Monday December 7, 2020 in the United States.
Reja-e Busailah was born in Jerusalem in 1929, he earned a BA in English literature from Cairo University and a PhD in the same field from New York University. He taught that subject for thirty years at Indiana University (Kokomo), with visiting professorships at Birzeit University (West Bank) and Muhammad V University (Morocco). Earlier, with an MA in special education from Hunter College, he taught at a school for the blind in Kuwait which he helped establish. Dr. Busailah was blind himself. In 1967 he founded Project Loving Care, dedicated to helping Palestinian children, which he directed until 1991.
In 2018, he won the Palestine Book Award (awarded by Middle East Monitory in the UK) for his memoir, In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood, published by the Institute for Palestine Studies. The book narrates his coming of age as a blind child in Lod during the turbulent years leading up to the Nakba in 1948. Dr. Busailah's passion was poetry, and a number of his poems have been published in various literary journals. In 2019, he published Poems of a Palestinian Boyhood where at age 90, he revisited his childhood
IPS colleague, Elias Khoury, mourned his friend with moving words:
My big brother and companion of a torturous journey in Lod. The blind poet, professor, and intellectual، who saw what we could not see, son of Palestine whom he loved with the light of his heart and mind, and the author of the most beautiful Palestinian memoir.
The beautiful Reja-e has died in exile in the United States and left us his love, his words, and a glimmer from the light of his vision.
Reja-e Busailah, farewell.
We convey our deepest condolences to his family and friends.