We almost never send anyone's
editorial writing, but only authentic, personal experiences of
Palestinian-Jewish relationship building.
This is an exception, from a college fraternity brother of Len's who reconnected with us after 45 years.
His writing and language reveal that.
He is also. . .changed, and changing.
Something in him is opening up -- seeing, hearing, learning about the reality and humanity of the "other."
"The lines of worshippers were so much alike, so parallel. But however close the distance, parallel lines never meet."
Richtel describes the "static" he now appreciates -- diverse sounds, voices, landscapes, narratives.
"The dream. . .will not be realized until each side learns that its own clear message alone cannot prevail and that it must live with the static of hearing the other message."
He concludes: "My hope for this holiday season is that in the next year, more Israelis and Palestinians will step out of line, creating and living with the static that is necessary for peace."
There are many stories of others changing, hundreds residing at http://traubman.igc.org/messages.htm .
Murray Richtel has described his own opening-up with fresh language that calls to us hopefully.
Let us all help people step out of line and get face-to-face -- listening, relating and cooperating as never before.
Published in The Daily Camera --
Static in the Peace Forest
Can Israelis and Palestinians learn to live together at last?
I have learned a lot over my nine fall semesters in
Nothing is easy. Buying stamps, going to the bank, picking up the cleaning the simplest daily task is an adventure for the newcomer. One of my best learning resources has been Reshet Gimmel, FM Radio 98.7. "Kol Muzika, Kol Muzika Israelite," (All Music, All Israeli Music) which I religiously listen to while running up and down Jerusalem's hills three or four times a week.
From its hourly five-minute news reports, I have learned to understand the weather forecast, when the Supreme Court has rendered a significant opinion or, during the years when there were never-ending terrorist attacks, how many people had been killed, how many injured and how seriously. It took me awhile, actually several years, to learn that my favorite song was in fact a commercial for a sore throat medication.
On those runs which in better times have taken me to Bethlehem, on occasion around the walls of the Old City, and on a regular basis from my apartment past the president's house, down the hill to the olive trees of the Valley of the Cross where tradition has it the tree used for Jesus' crucifixion was cut, up the rosemary lined path near Israel's Parliament and back home passing the Prime Minister's residence I have often reflected on what I have absorbed about the political situation here.
Last week I did just that as I set out to run to the biblical Hill of the Evil Council, another standard route. In the 20 minutes it took me to get there, I heard only Israeli music from FM 98.7. At its summit and my turnaround point, I had one of
As I sped up on the downward trail through the
As the week progressed, I couldn't get the static in the
And again when the doors of Arabs' shops in the
The lines of worshippers were so much alike, so parallel. But however close the distance, parallel lines never meet.
And that, sadly, is my perception, that there are still parallel lines here. Yes, there has been progress: fewer deaths, and the withdrawal from
But I continue to hear disturbing things from Arab drivers who operate most of the taxis I take home from the
Assah told me: "The Towers came down in
"I read it in the Quranthis morning," Hussein, another driver, said, "as soon as the Israelis finish their security wall, we will win." When he told me that he considered Palestinian President Abu Mazen to be a thief, I asked if that meant he supported Hamas. "No," he said and, "they are bad people created by the Israelis. But, I am not worried about it, someone will come to lead us. It is in the Quran." When I hear these things I worry.
When I repeated Assah and Hussein's comments to my Jewish Israeli friends, they argued among themselves about the implications of my conversations. Anat thought the statements were made for the shock value they would have on me as a "tourist" and should not be believed, while Yehuda vehemently agreed that Assah spoke the truth about the plight of the Palestinians. His wife Myan expressed anger toward him: "The Palestinians hate
And so it goes, more or less nothing changed for nine years. The static on FM 98.7 brought home to me the most obvious lesson I have learned as an outsider here during those years and the hardest lesson for Israelis and Palestinians to accept: The dream of the Peace Forest will not be realized until each side learns that its own clear message alone cannot prevail and that it must live with the static of hearing the other message.
As I approached the Jaffa Gate to the
Murray Richtel, a district court judge in Boulder from 1977 to 1996, is writing articles from