Saturday, October 12, 2002

Farid Lancheros left me a comment suggesting I linked to him, as a Palestinian blog. I visited his blog and I really enjoyed reading it. He seems to be a lovely person. His blog is a far cry from pro-Palestinian blogs I have visited in the past, most of which have managed to deeply offend me personally after about thirty seconds. Farid’s blog is nothing like that. It is a pleasant and gentle place to visit, very peaceful.

I understand that Farid suggested I link to him to show that Palestinians are not only the conflict, which is something I wrote yesterday. But the thing is, reading his blog, I initially thought he’d given the wrong URL. I could find nothing to suggest that a Palestinian wrote this, apart from the fact that he had attended an anti-war rally and made some pro-Palestinian comments. Delving further, while enjoying Farid’s description of his life as a New Yorker, I found that Farid is of mixed Palestinian and Colombian descent. I found his poignant and frank descriptions of his life as an openly gay man and a rehabilitated alcoholic moving. But Farid is first and foremost an American. This is quite evident from his writing. Describing his blog as a Palestinian blog is misleading. A few pro-Israeli bloggers are Israeli-born or have lived in Israel, some grew up in Israel, but they don’t describe their blogs as Israeli blogs.

I was elated with the Oslo Accords. I fantasized about Peres’ “New Middle East”. I could envision Israelis and Palestinians evolving together as a confederacy, two independent states working together to create an economic and cultural heaven. I read excitedly about development projects in the Palestinian Authority. I hoped I would soon be able to spend my holidays in the lovely new Palestinian hotels. I once went shopping in Kalkilya and was excited to see Palestinian policemen directing the traffic and Palestinian taxi drivers waiting for fares. It reminded me of the stories of the early days of the state of Israel when every little thing was a great achievement. I thought the Palestinians should surely succeed economically. The merchants were growing rich. Israelis queued for hours (literally), every Shabbat, to get to a West Bank town called Bidya, known mainly for its cheap furniture. Israelis flocked to the casino in Jericho. I know of the universities, the schools and the hospitals. I’ve seen the high-rise apartment buildings in Gaza (sadly only on TV) and the Gazan families sitting at cafes on the beach. I had been to Gaza City before Oslo, so I could appreciate the difference. I know that Palestinians are not just the conflict, Farid.

But why, oh, why are the Palestinians so wrapped up in their anger and vengefulness that they would rather side with the hate-filled fanatics and bring this whole delicate pack of cards down? As anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to be part of that rare institute, a happy marriage, even for a short while, knows, building a life together requires endless patience and compromise, giving each other time and space to grow, side by side. I accept that Israel also has a lot to learn in this respect. But the Palestinians seem set on murdering the spouse.

Farid, all this has very little to do with your life. You live somewhere else, in a peaceful place, where you are free to pursue your personal goals, and even your sexual preference. I very much doubt you will be coming to live in the Palestinian State when it is established (and may we all see it established in peace in our lifetime). Yours is not a Palestinian blog.

I will link to your blog, Farid, not as a Palestinian blog, but as an interesting blog I would like to visit again, written by an American Palestinian.

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