David is become Goliath…

August 24, 2009 at 2:51 am (Uncategorized)

In the biblical story of the struggle between mighty and minute, privileged and impoverished, the roles in the Middle East have ironically reversed. Israel plays the role of the nuclear behemoth, while the Palestinians, denied the right to self-defense, are reduced to rock-throwing and unending patience.

Israel is the largest security threat to the region, which is ironic, given the prevailing Western stereotype of the Palestinian Muslim as terrorist. I didn’t meet any terrorists this summer, only lovely, wonderful Palestinians and Westerners horrified at their experiences in and with Israel. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter?

My American friend said the Israeli border guards could have killed her in detention (they were so horrible that at one point it crossed her mind) and no one would know. The US would never challenge Israel because we have always been allies.

On the other hand, if an American disappeared in Jordan, there’d be hell to pay. An international outcry would likely ensue, with calls for the person to be “liberated from terrorists.” Please note that in all my time in Jordan I felt safer than I do here in the states, and that the Israeli border is easily the most frightening (certainly the most militarized) place in the region.

As I begin to digest my summer experience, I’d like this blog to become a space for Palestinian voices, since I don’t hear or see them anywhere in our country. I owe it to the folks I met this summer, and I simply think it’s a good idea.

I also don’t think there needs to be this either/or dynamic anymore, where you’re either on one side of the issue or the other, with no space in between. Call me naive, but I think dialogue is important. We can’t have dialogue, however, unless both parties speak and I’d like this blog to be a chance for Palestinians to do just that.

Barack Obama said in his big race speech in Philadelphia during the Reverend Wright affair (part I) that we can continue to ignore race, if we wish, and nothing will change. Or, we can take the more difficult course and begin to talk about the barriers between us. I think it’s worth a venture in this direction for not just those who live in the Middle East, but for anyone whose life is affected by the unrest, namely, most of us.

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2 Comments

  1. Tim said,

    Diana:

    I’m glad you got home safely! It’s hard to believe I’m coming up on my second holiday season in a row away from home….

    Miss you!

    Tim, SJ

    • Diana said,

      Dear Tim,

      I was just thinking of you the other day; funny timing!

      Are you in Kosovo these days?

      I miss you too. I’m house-sitting (and cat-sitting) in the Castro for a month, which means I’m being ignored by tons of handsome, well-dressed, polite, clean, well-behaved gay men!

      It sounds like you’ve found meaningful work with our troops. I’m starting a Master’s program at the Monterey Institute for International Studies in the spring. My folks are well, though Dad’s Alzheimer’s continues to progress. He’s such a gentleman.

      Love to you–stay warm!

      dvg

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