looks like business as usual.
looks like business as usual.
Every time, the first few results after Wikipedia are Zionist propaganda sites, some even on tripod or blogspot or whatever else. I’m writing some bulletpoints of background information out for a draft of a paper and I just want to check dates etc. of events I already know about, and I keep running into this crazy shit about Palestinians being a made-up ethnic group. Persistently. If it were just the trolls misspelling shit on like, xangas from 2001 maybe I’d be able to laugh it off, but more and more I seem to run across this idea glossed in some kind of scholastic veneer, and it’s really getting to me. The helplessness of watching someone erase your family’s history, even if that someone is just some anonymous internet asshole, is really quite devastating. I’m not even furious right now, like I normally would be, just weirdly hurt. How can anybody stand up and say no, your father’s father, his father, his father before him, and so on didn’t live on that land - and if they did, they had no sense of pride or belonging, didn’t know who they were? It’s dehumanizing, and it’s scary that this kind of propaganda can still be taken seriously, let alone prevalent, in the 21st century.
I know you’re just trying to take a balanced and sensitive stance when you make sweeping generalizations such as “everybody just wants peace” and “taking a hard stance, one side or the other, just ignores the human element of the whole conflict” but actually what you are saying is
I AM NOT AN EXTREMIST, I AM JUST PAYING ATTENTION.
Today I went to the Rue de Rosiers, center of the Jewish quarter in the Marais, to get a sandwich for lunch. It was the only place I could think of that would provide me with a pita full of vegetables on a Sunday, so I was willing to brave the mobs of people that cram themselves into the tiny medieval street seeking “authentic Israeli felafel” (don’t get me started) every weekend around lunchtime. That said, I had forgotten two key points: firstly, I was wearing a keffiyeh, and secondly, the Jewish Defense League recruits on Sundays. Walking back with my sandwich, I crossed paths with the JDL kids, who were tabling as usual, handing out fliers. Because the keffiyeh has made its way into mainstream fashion, they’ve started handing out these bullshit printouts about how wearing one means you support terrorism and “jew-hatred.” They stopped me (physically) and tried to hand me one, and the following dialogue ensued (in French):
JDL kids: Miss, stop! Do you know what that pretty little scarf of yours means? Do you know why you wear that scarf?
Ali: I wear it consciously, I wear the keffiyeh because I’m Palestinian and because I’m proud.
JDL kid: Oh, you’re Palestinian? Do you know what that makes you? It makes you a whore. It makes you a filthy, fat whore. You’re a filthy Palestinian whore.
This continued, complete with the jeering of the others. There were probably about 8 or 10 of them, adolescent/young adult boys, lined up and jeering at me. I wanted to say something in retaliation, at least make a smart alecky remark about what their mothers would think if they heard them talking like this, but I got scared. It was in broad daylight on a crowded street, nothing would have happened - though notably, they were yelling at me and nobody so much as turned a head - but there were a lot of them, all bigger than I am, and instinctively I felt scared. So I crumpled the flier, threw it on the ground and walked away without saying anything else. I still can’t decide if that was wise or cowardly.
For an incident that lasted no more than a clocked minute, it was surreal and supremely degrading. As a woman being called a filthy whore by a cadre of cocky teenagers I want to say that I felt furious, incredulous, empowered to kick ass, but the truth of the matter is that I felt sick. I kept my calm and I looked those bastards in the eye when I told them I was proud because I meant it but as soon as they started to call me names I lost my nerve and left.
We could call this a case of some asshole kids raised in ignorance and nourished by a popular culture that encourages degrading female sexuality. That wouldn’t be wrong, but it wouldn’t be specific enough. What really makes my stomach lurch about this situation is the fact that these kids aren’t just some random punks - they’re the carefully-crafted products of an intense propaganda machine. None of those boys were born hating Palestinians, but all of them have been indoctrinated into a culture that requires dehumanizing them to thrive. You can’t have a one-race state without racism, and you can’t subjugate an entire population without believing that you are above it. The JDL uses scare tactics - most offensively, the history of the Shoah - to frighten Jews into paranoid “vigilance,” presenting itself as a militaristic organization that fights terrorism and racism… with terrorism and racism, in the ever-convenient guise of “defense.” The role of youth in all of this is the saddest to me. The state of Israel has long tried to link Jewish identity inextricably with radical Zionism, and its efforts to raise Jewish youth in that mindset have been astronomical. Between birthright trips and youth outreach from organizations like the JDL, there is nothing coincidental about the notions Jewish kids wind up with about Palestinians. This is all explicitly constructed to justify the goals of the state of Israel - it couldn’t be more transparent, and it smarts of former fascist youth movements.
I am disgusted by the experience I had today, admittedly less than articulate about it, and generally disheartened by the Sisyphean battle that is supporting the Palestinian cause. Mais je suis toujours fière, salauds.