October 19, 2003
Currently, I am traveling extensively. My thoughts and views of the Mid-East conflict are from outside, recently seeing Norwegian, Greek, Italian, Dutch, German, English and American TV and papers.
First, with tongue in cheek, allow me to paraphrase something from the booklet that covers the histories of the cities of Bergamo and Milan. (I have recently been ‘enjoying’ the pleasure of using Milan’s ‘3rd Airport’, Orio di Serio, outside Bergamo). In the ancient city of Bergamo, the history of which goes back several hundred years BC, you can find the beautiful Venetian Walls. When they were built, many homes had to be destroyed – families relocated – and fields were sliced in half. But today, the walls are a thing of beauty and interest; tourists come from far and wide to enjoy them, to walk through the many romantic gates.
So have patience; allow the wall between Israel and the Palestinians to be built. Bear the current hardships, for one day, it will bring pleasure to many.
Ayodhya – how often have you had the name of this place forced upon you? You don’t remember? You don’t recognise the name? Shame on you. This is the place in India that is forever causing trouble between Hindus and Moslems. It is the site of an important mosque destroyed many years ago. The Hindus claim the land for themselves, planning to build a temple on the spot. Now you remember? How easily we forget a story which has already cost the lives of perhaps 3,000. If fighting over a piece of property in UK, or road rage on a US street causes just 1 death, it’ll hit the papers.
But we don’t seem to be interested in Ayodhya. Let’em kill each other….
So why do I bring up the subject? Several mullahs have made strong statements about this crisis, saying that it is against Islamic law to build on holy land. I wouldn’t disagree with that; Israel often has crises when the bulldozers dig up some ancient holy land.
“Hypocrisy”, I shout. It’s OK for them in India, but what about Jerusalem? I don’t think anyone, including most Moslems, would deny that the Temple Mount is the site of the original Temple, the most important spot in Judaism. I am SURE that Mohammad was a good man, and cannot imagine that he would choose just that very spot to mount his white horse and ascend into Heaven. I strongly believe that it was his followers who decided that it was exactly that spot, not somewhere 5 km. down the road. And it was on that holy spot that the Moslems then built the current 2 mosques – which in turn have caused so much death and heartache.
How blind we all are…
Further to my last e-mail, that ‘horrible’ e-mail from my niece did have a point – albeit a very sad one. It really was the first time she had felt the need to send a ‘topical’ communication. (It may surprise many to discover that most of Israeli society, especially the youth and younger adults want nothing to do with politics. They want to get on with their lives, their fun, the struggle for jobs, feeding the kids, finding spouses. Yes, they vote, they do feel that extent of responsibility. But don’t ask them to give their opinions of the situation. They leave that up to us).
That photo was….of what remained of the female killer.
I have to add that I was very aware of my reaction to that photo. It was not reactionary – immediately blaming the Palestinians – or her personally. I blamed conflict, the stupidity of the leaders, the causes that led the Palestinians to such desperation and the mullahs who convinced them that it’s OK to tear up the bible – and I blamed the company that made the explosives, I blamed her family, and I blamed the millions who actually make the future killers think they’re doing the right thing.