Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I stand by my "brothers" metaphor regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While they see each other as evil-enemy-alien-other, they are more like each other than they are like anybody else. They hold their land as sacred, as if they could murder and steal their way into God's favor. Think of them as Cain and Cain.

I knew a (stunningly beautiful) Palestinian girl in high school, which was during the first intafada. I remember arguing with her, trying to convince her that Ghandian nonviolent resistance was more appropriate than armed struggle. She didn't believe that such tactics could work, saying, "They would just kill us." Well, yeah, I said, and that worked remarkably well for Ghandi, because the world came to see the Indians as victims and the British occupiers as horrible murderers. People who kill 12 year olds taking the bus to the store don't evoke the same international sympathy. She did not seem to get it at all. Both sides say of the other, "the only thing they understand . . ." Sadly, it looks like they may both be right.

Now Yassin's going to be hailed as a martyr. They're going to name schools and community centers after him. Kids are going to grow up thinking he was Malcolm X or something. He wasn't. He was a closed-minded religious fanatic who, like all fanatics, seemed incapable of applying reality testing to items of faith, or of understanding his opponents as fully human. I'm sorry it happened this way. I'm still glad he's dead.
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