Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Little Rude: Settlers Stab a Palestinian Working with B'TSelem.

Every well-mannered activist knows that ethnic cleaning doesn't make for pleasant dinner conversation. There's something about military occupation that turns the stomach and if you want to keep your guests happy, best to keep the conversation light. Olives, tea, cute children - those are the polite things about which to speak.

It's rude, after all, to point the finger of blame. So, talk about the children of Tuba and Mayger Al Abeed, but don't mention who it is who beats them up on their way to school. If you talk about the Israeli army arresting Palestinians as they graze their sheep, or build houses, or go to the doctor, be sure to mention who scared Israelis are - that they have a right to defend themselves from Palestinians going about their everyday lives. Be sure not to biased when you describe how it feels to see the Israeli army abduct three children and hand them over to settler to beat. After all, you'll only make everyone feel uncomfortable. The truth isn't polite.

You know what? I'm not afraid to be a little rude. A while ago - and I'm sorry it's taken me so long report on it - a friend of mine was stabbed by an Israeli settler. Would you like to know how I feel? I'm angry. Even more than that, I am bone-tired from having my heart broken over and over again by the same petty, greedy evil acts. And I think it's time for a few more people to be rude enough to speak the truth.


Anonymous said...

Its probably culture shock, but you do seem to be massivly over-reacting. In the article you reference, your friend didnt see a knife, felt something give a small cut to his hand, kept taking pictures, waited half an hour for police about another matter, then didnt need any medical treatment - "my friend recieved a small cut on his hand" seems to be what you were trying to say. "stabbed" evokes images of yes, a knife, deep thrusts, lots of blood etc.

joy_in_palestine said...

In a context where I have personally witnessed Israeli settlers attacking (including badly beating and shooting at) Palestinians and heard them repeatedly threaten the lives of Palestinians, myself and my teammates, I don't think that I'm overreacting. I'm very gretful that it was a minor injury, however. You might note that quoting the headline of the article.

Also, I would appreciate it if you did not psychoanalyze me, Anonymous-person-on-the-internet. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
anonymous here, actually, I intended no ill will when I mentioned culture shock. Having been in church circles many years, missionaries who return from exotic and risky places often feel frustration at the folk back home, who arent really interested, often seem very shallow, etc. Its corectly called "reverse culture shock", or "re-entry."
My comment re "my friend recieved a small cut on his hand" was likewise a failed attempt to help you see beyond your "Ive just been in palestine, its all about me and its really important, unlike your pointless lives here" post.
Sorry it didnt work.

joy_in_palestine said...

Thanks for the explanation of where you're coming from. However, I really do think that you're off the mark considerably. If I'm speaking from some place that can by physiological-ized, it's that of trauma. But that's really not the point I'm trying to make or where I'm coming from. There are some pieces of context that you seem to be missing - one is that it is incredibly difficult for people who are telling the truth about their experiences in Palestine to do so without being called anti-Semitic. Speaking out against that, in a creative/sarcastic way was the point of this post. Secondly, you seem to be largely unaware of the depth of violence that Palestinians live with - especially violence from settlers. To call this post an over-reaction is offensive to those people's experience and misses the point completely. Likewise to say that I'm saying "Ive just been in Palestine, its all about me and its really important, unlike your pointless lives here" is not helpful. I said none of those things. That's what you're reading into it, so your reactions say more about you than about me. I am well aware of the strain and difficulty of my job, but your not going to be able to "help me" through a comment on the internet, especially when you don't know me or seem to know the situation I'm talking about.

At this point, I probably have dithered on too much, but I thought that you, as some one you is trying to help, deserved to understand why you're not. I'm very sorry if you take my words bad and I do hope that you'll continue reading this blog.

PS: On the internet, identifying yourself in someway is good manners. No need to leave an email address or anything like that, but leaving name or handle would have probably gone a long way to showing me from the beginning you meant no harm. I've received a bit of harassment through this blog, so I'm all about people identifying themselves in some way.