22 September 2011

Is one passport too much to ask for?

M. isn't anyone noble. He's a sweet, weak sort of guy trying to make a decent life for his family. He would like to live where he grew up, in the land of his father and mother and forefathers and foremothers. But ten years ago, he asked me if I could help him move here, or to some other country where I have friends: Turkey, say; or the USA–somewhere that his children wouldn't have nightmares of being shot, somewhere with a chance for his family to live in dignity and his children could dream of a different future—somewhere that, when you look up in the sky, you only expect to see stars, not starbursts. He told me that he felt guilty wanting to escape, but he didn't see any other way.

I tried hard to help him, but couldn't. Legally, his kind isn't wanted anywhere.

"I'll do anything," he said. "Wash dishes for the rest of my life, dig holes. Work every day. I don't care what I'm paid. Can't you sneak me in?"

Righto, an illegal immigrant who's a Palestinian. If he got caught, he could look forward to quite a future.

We're still friends though I as a Jew, am encouraged by Israel to live in his land, while he is expected to grasp the short end of history. He once told me that he felt that he was a victim of antisemitism.

As Gideon Levy has just said: "The Palestinians are The New Jews . . . The great powers supported partition at the time, the great power is now opposed to a state. But the moral validity remains the same, there is no longer anyone in the world who can seriously claim that they don't deserve what we deserved, without being a racist, a chauvinist or a cynical opportunist."

M. also said that he found it odd that he as a Palestinian, has no passport, while many of the Israeli "settlers" have two.

We still "hope" together, but to be asked to be "patient" now, in a speech that never even mentioned the euphemism "settlements", is to be asked told to, well, Steve Clemons put it best in his column in The Atlantic: Obama Tells Palestinians to Stay in the Back of the Bus

Also recommended:

Robert Fisk: A President who is helpless in the face of Middle East reality
"I couldn't believe what I heard. It sounded as though the Palestinians were the ones occupying Israel. There wasn't one word of empathy for the Palestinians. He spoke only of the Israelis' troubles."
—Hanan Ashrawi, quoted in Haaretz
Israel's Anti-democratic enterprise

Israel's anti-democratic impulses grow


JP said...

Just saw this: http://imgur.com/gallery/DTWAK

I'm a little surprised that India, ever more mindful of toeing Big Brother's line, is in the green. Perhaps hedging our bets against China becoming the Bigger Brother?

anna tambour said...

Interesting! But could there actually be a more laudable reason? Like respecting human rights? I'm ashamed but not surprised to see Australia's stance. All the way with USA.