Thursday, January 29, 2009

On the Right Side of History

Yesterday I ran into a Palestinian pal downtown, one of just the plain old nicest guys I know. (Guilty, perhaps, only of being disturbingly attractive, but that's not his fault.)

I stood and listened as he ... well, it's this thing humans do: when we witness something unbelievably horrible, we seem to need to talk about it over and over. Such things just don't make sense, so we keep repeating the details, trying to get a grip.
I listened as he told me about Gaza, how he has friends and family there, how he learned that some of them have been killed, he can't get through to others. His shock reminded me of how I felt after my mother's suicide.

"I never liked Hamas!" he said. " I don't like their religious views. But... Who is defending us? I'll tell you, this is not about religion. There are Israeli Jews who protest what their government is doing! They marched and blocked the air strip in Tel Aviv to stop the jets that attack my people. They are doing more for us than Saudi Arabia. What are they doing to help us? Nothing!"

I just listened, the way you would if you were standing with someone who's just seen their family wiped out.

When I went home, I looked up Israeli protests and found, among other things, this:

"Demonstration against the Madness"
Saturday 17/01/09
"On the third Saturday of the war, while the Israeli cabinet was in session, discussing the cease-fire proposal, 3000 Israeli citizens marched from Tel-Aviv to Jaffa in protest against the war."

I don't know anything about the group that posted this, Gush Shalom: Israel Peace Bloc. They say they are "the hard core of the Israeli peace movement."

I was glad to read on the site Uri Avnery's column of Jan. 24, 2009:

"On The Wrong Side"
"Of all the beautiful phrases in Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, these are the words that stuck in my mind: “You are on the wrong side of history.”
He was talking about the tyrannical regimes of the world. But we, too, should ponder these words...."
(More along these lines in post above, about Rabbis for Human Rights.)


Rudyinparis said...

A good friend of mine from college is a Jewish-American living in Palestine (that's what she calls it.) I can assure you that she is protesting. She's actually, via Facebook, my main source for media representing the average Palistinian citizen. Tangentially, I must say it's been very odd and sad for me to read comments by people I knew in college--Jewish-Americans-- essentially denouncing her for her sympathies. It always seemed that came from... old people... religious fundamentalist... people off the spectrum... and instead, to read it from a fellow that I remember as making a great gazpacho is beyond disturbing and sad.

Word verification: waileast

fresca said...

In this craziness, I find myself looking to the best of the religious people I know. So I just posted something about Rabbis for Human Rights, nudged by your good comment.

How can you make great gazpacho and not be a great human being? All that garlic should make your soul beautiful! Alas, it does not seem to work that way...

momo said...

Thank you for posting this.

fresca said...

You're welcome.
It's all so heartbreaking, I hardly knew what to say, but it felt wrong not to say something...

bink said...

Very good post. Brought tears to my eyes.

poodletail said...

How awful it must be for your friend to be a world away from loved ones, and with so little support from his neighbors here. Thank you for this post.