Hello - I am a molecular biologist working on cancer, hailing from the city of Ramallah in occupied Palestine. I follow the Middle East (specifically Palestine and also Cyprus), US politics, science, cancer, motion picture scores, and Apple. I also have a fascination with the history of religion (see below).
|This user contributes using Mac OS X|
|This user is a lifelong member of the general public|
I was at a lecture recently on the Palestine / Israel conflict in Washington and was struck by the following statement by Aaron David Miller, and thought I'd add it here to the best of my recollection (emphases are the speaker's):
Nothing angers me more - nothing - than when people here use the word "We". I can listen to an [Arab] deny the Holocaust. I can listen to a [Jew] talk about transfer. But I cannot listen to anybody here in this country come up to me and use the word "We", and tell me things like "We cannot accept this proposal". Who is We? There is no We. There are the people in the region over there actually living the conflict, and then there's you, sitting in Washington or Fairfax or Chevy Chase.
I don't really have hobbies, I have interests. One of my interests is trying to come up with lyrics to sequels of famous songs. For example, I'm working on a follow-up to Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why" called "I finally found out why and wish I hadn't", and also to The Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You" called "Ode to a Urinal". My favorite project is a sequel to "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder; it's called "I Can't Believe You Hung Up On Me, B*%$@".
Speaking of sequels, and on a more serious note, I am also considering starting a new sequel to the holy books (Bible and Quran). I have decided that the original books are outdated and detrimental to the lives of people living in modern civilization. In the words of someone much wiser than I, "More people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason". So why not replace those old texts that have caused so much misery with something much more amenable to the 21st century? Being a native of the 'Holy Land', I can safely conclude that anybody who follows the outdated holy books and claims to have the solution to our conflict is in fact a huge part of the problem. The Holy Land is definitely full of holes (hence the name).
|The Barnstar of Liberty|
|for highlighting issues of basic human rights with the utmost grace and fairness Tiamut 10:00, 5 October 2006 (UTC)|
- I agree with Thomas Friedman, who once wrote that Palestinians may not be the most oppressed people in modern history, but they are certainly the most humiliated (From Beirut to Jerusalem).
- I support peace for all, and supremacy for none.
- I view a person's choice of using a Mac versus a Windows machine as an indication of that person's intellect.
My answers to many common arguments over Palestine:
- "The Israeli checkpoints and restrictions on movement are an unfortunate necessity to protect Israelis against suicide bombers."
- Answer: Checkpoints and restrictions on movement were set up immediately after the start of the first intifada in 1987, as soon as the first sign for the desire for Palestinian freedom appeared, and seven years before the first suicide bombing.
- "There was never a political entity called Palestine."
- Answer: Perhaps not, but that is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that there are a whole lot of people living on that land, and the right to self-determination is a human right that cannot be denied based on the racial superiority of others.
- "The Palestinian people are a modern creation to serve a political agenda."
- Answer: Again, I may be called Palestinian or Donaldduckian, it doesn't change the fact that I and my ancestors lived on the land of Palestine, and nothing justifies taking away basic human rights that are enjoyed by every other citizen of the world regardless of what I am called.
- "It isn't stolen land, since Israel won it fair and square in war."
- Answer: Egypt and Jordan were occupying countries as well. Now Israel is. "Stolen land" does not refer to the fact that the lands are "occupied" (which they are), but to the fact that thousands of acres of land that belonged to non-Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza, and to which these non-Jews had title deeds, were forcefully confiscated by Israel since 1967 and given to Jews who arrived from foreign countries. So "stolen land" is just that - land to which title deeds issued by whatever governments were in place before (and honored by subsequent governments until Israel came along in 1967) were invalidated for purposes of constructing colonies.
I believe that one thing that must happen for peace to prevail is for Israelis to answer a pressing question - what kind of nation do we want Israel to be? Zionism has not worked, at least not as intended, because over 100 years later the land is still in bitter conflict. The notion that Palestine is a "land without a people for a people without a land" has clearly been proven to be a myth. Israelis have to reconcile how to apply a 19th century ideal - Zionism - to a 21st century world. The 19th century was a time of colonialism and conquest; the 21st century is a time for freedom and democracy. Israelis - and particularly Zionists - must solve this internal dilemma that they have so far refused to even realize exists. We Palestinians cannot answer this question for them, it must come from within. Zionists must answer for themselves if it is conceivable to remain both occupiers over another people while at the same time remain true to the Zionist ideals of the the Chalutsim.
Euphemisms and improper language
I really have a disdain for euphemistic, redundant, or blatantly incorrect language. I have recently been encountering more of it, and I don't like it. For example:
- I will not say issue when I mean problem. When I was growing up, an "issue" meant a "topic", a "subject of conversation." I have received no official notification that it is now a substitute for the word "problem."
- I never use rest rooms, I use toilets. The bedroom or any room with a couch is a "rest room." Conversely, very few people use the toilet to "rest" on (as far as I know), especially after a jalapeño burrito combo washed down with lager.
- I may tell you where I am, or a location I am at. I will never tell you where I am at.
- I will take no interest when a commentator begins a response to a question with the phrase: Well, it's interesting.... That is just a ridiculous attempt to sound more self-important. Of course it's interesting, apparently that's why you are on an internationally-broadcasted program talking about it. And incidentally, where does the word "commentator" come from? Is "commentate" a word? If it is, why is it never used?
- I usually say words, I do not like words nor do I go words. When I describe a conversation, I will tell you what I said and what somebody else said or responded. I will not tell you what somebody else goes, nor what I was like in response.
Please feel free to correct me if I ever use this type of language.
I was born in the 1970s in Palestine, and am descended from Ibrahim the Great, the first Palestinian who developed the concept of self doubt, at least on days he thought he did. My childhood years in Ramallah were serene: my cousins Ahmad and Rivkah and I used to take weekly trips to the local plastics market where we would buy knobs for operating uninvented electrical appliances. Sometimes we would make flip-flops out of grape leaves. When I was older my uncle Sally (so named before the surgery) took me to the monthly meeting of the local chapter of "Arabs on Ladders", a secret PLO-funded organization comprised of disgruntled utility pole workers aiming for higher places. It was during that meeting, which happened to be bowling night, that I met Avi, a young Palestinian activist whose real name was Abdulhakeem and who never quite understood why many considered him untrustworthy. Avi introduced me to many techniques to intimidate the occupying Israeli soldiers with, including blowing party whistles, gesturing with reverse-worn gloves, and using bullhorns to sing "Jerusalem of Gold (Yerushalaym Shel Zahav)" in Vietnamese. Avi was later arrested by the Israeli Authorities for incitement, after publishing an op/ed in which he argued that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was a Zionist conspiracy aimed at inducing collective neck sprains. With the advent of the Palestinian Authority, Israel offered to free him, but the Authority passed over him and instead chose Abu Akhdar, a guerilla leader who was the only person Arafat could trust to properly groom his beard. Avi refused to be freed in subsequent years, claiming he would never ride out of jail in a bus which has doors on the right side. He died a few years ago in an Israeli jail under mysterious but insignificant circumstances. It is to his memory that I dedicate my edits on Wikipedia.