I can’t speak with any authority whatsoever on the subject of Israel and Palestine, but I’m trying to learn more. What I’ve learned so far has mostly shown me that I have a lot to learn and that it is a problem without an easy answer. A situation where it seems everyone involved is culpable, and where every step forward is tiny and slow while backward steps seem gaping and (recently) rushed. I was interested to hear Sir Gerald Kaufman’s take on the situation, though I still don’t know quite what to make of it.
On the BBC’s website I read about how all sorts of folks rang in the New Year. I couldn’t help but pause when I read, “In Greece, Palestinian protesters staged a demonstration near an outdoor concert in Athens during New Year celebrations, chanting slogans and burning Israeli, US and EU flags.”
A couple of thoughts cropped into my head. One, these protesters seem to be angry with half the world, and almost all of the first world nations. At some point it seems like you have to take a long hard look at who you are angry with and ask why people are bothering you. I am not saying that the US, all the EU countries, or Israel are blameless or righteous, but maybe there’s a fair share of blame for Palestine as well.
I also question how productive burning flags is. I’m guessing it is a reaction to feeling helpless and angry, but I don’t think it does much of anything besides adding a squirt of lemon juice in an already festering wound. I can’t think any political or social problems that fire has done a good job of solving. Sure, it took care of the Frankenstein monster, but that was a long time ago. Maybe it’s time to look in a new direction.
I can only hope that the next generation of Palestinians can look past the tools of anger and work towards creating a dialog or at least effecting policy in a way that benefits them and does not seed hostility. I also hope they can learn to forgive the mistakes of people in their country and in places like Israel, so that they can move forward with their lives and prosperity and ensure and greater life for the generation behind them. For the part of the US, I hope we can begin to do what’s right and work towards these same things. And most of all I hope that somehow Israel tries to understand the value of human life and seeking a compromise that will ensure tranquility and peace for themselves and their neighbors.
The mideast has many problems, I hope that my generation sees those problems dwindle rather than grow.