03 August 2006

we must look into a crystal ball and only see the past.

Why do I even bother torturing myself like this? No one wants my input anyway, so maybe I should just shut my mouth and throw in the towel. I'm too critical to ever work for my own government, far too sympathetic to the Palestinian cause for the Israelis, and the fact that I'd even consider the preceding two options makes me an unwelcome racist in the Arab world. Is it really so absurd that I could support both the Israeli and Palestinian people but disagree with their governments (and my own)? Hezbollah's a terrorist organization, yes, and the Lebanese government has failed miserably at curtailing their influence in the country, but Lebanese civilians shouldn't have to pay with their lives. Likewise for Israeli citizens and the actions of the Israeli military, and likewise for Palestinian civilians. I care more about a peaceful solution than seeing someone "win," and if that's offensive, then so be it. I can't demonize entire peoples in justification of some greater moral cause. Everyone's been victimized, and everyone's done something wrong - it's time to stop trying to even the score and move on.

Why is it radical that I value human life, particularly civilian, regardless of their ethnicity or religion? What's wrong with believing that anything but killing each other is a better idea? (Has it worked yet? Am I the only one who thinks that should mean something?) Maybe I'm stupid and naive for believing peace is possible and that anything I do could make an impact, but I'd much rather be stupid than hopeless, and I'm sorry if my idealism is offensive or disappointing. If no one believes a solution is possible, then why do we kid ourselves even pretending to try? If I wasn't so damn stubborn, I'd be tempted to just quit now. But you know full well I won't, so if you'll respect my right to cling to a shred of idealism, then I'll respect your right to (respectfully) consider me a moron. Agreed?

Maybe I'll just go back to art and become a photographer with a penchant for provacative imagery. That way I can disappoint, offend, anger, and garner your disrespect without ever having to open my mouth. Would that make you happy?

Since the controversy at UF apparently isn't even about me, then I'm staying out of it. I'm not defending or protesting UF administration's policies in an argument I'm not sure I fully understand. Just count me as a silent pawn in this one. One of my favorite people has suggested a month-long vow of silence. I'm tempted... Your thoughts?

In other news, Ireland is beautiful, and has delicious drinks that aren't Guinness. And is very "green," in both the nature and eco-friendly sense of the word. I think I'm in love.

1 comment:

Sam said...

So I found my way here from Matt's blog, and I must say that I greatly enjoy your writing. You're incredibly insightful and honest.

I think what will make you a valuable voice in this matter is precisely your love for Arabic culture, your sympathy to the Palestinian cause, and yet your unwillingness to acccept killing for any reason whatsoever. America's foreign policy has been biased towards Israel for eons now, and the media portrayal of the Arab world is unfavorable at best. We have virtually no concept in America of the beauty of the Middle East and its peoples, be it of the Arab areas or the Israeli areas.

As for your idealism about the situation, I definitely understand where you're coming from. I watched the film "Promises" recently, a documentary about Palestinian and Israeli children, and while it was enlightening, it also left me feeling very cynical. Because the matter is at heart religious (which, I might add, is actually the exception to the norm -- usually religion is used as a decoy for politics), I really struggle with believing there is a viable solution.

That being said, where does that leave us? If we surrender ourselves to cynicism, then one thing is for sure: nothing will change. We can't sit idly by and let people die. Sure, maybe we can't envision a solution yet, but it would be foolish to simply give up.

Furthermore, I think that your interactions in Palestine and Israel this summer have themselves been just as valuable as macroscopic solution planning. The fact that you were able to show both Israelis and Palestinians that you care about them - even if only a handful - is very important in the long run.

Breaking down barriers, bringing redemption, one person at a time.

Keep at it JDucey. You've got my ear.

Oh, and Ireland is in fact one of the most beautiful places on earth. Do your best to get out to the countryside, like Glendalough.

Nice to meet you.

Sam Julien