FW: MD FYI - Palestinian reactions

From: Lawrence DeBivort (debivort@umd5.umd.edu)
Date: Tue Sep 25 2001 - 22:34:32 BST

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    From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <debivort@umd5.umd.edu>
    To: <memetics@mmu.ac.uk>
    Subject: FW: MD FYI - Palestinian reactions
    Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 17:34:32 -0400
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    Regarding our memetic comments on the reaction of the Palestinians to the
    Sept 11 attacks.

    > >From another list:
    > -----
    > 9/14
    > The following message was written by Rev. Sandra Olewine, the United
    > Methodist Liaison in Jerusalem.
    > Joseph Gerson
    > American Friends Service Committee
    > Dear Friends,
    > I've had numerous emails from people asking me to help interpret the
    > scenes they have watched of Palestinians 'celebrating' after the
    > event.
    > Yes, there were some gatherings of people, particularly in Nablus, who
    > were shown in the very early hours of the horrible attacks in the US
    > on the street, dancing and cheering, and passing out chocolate. But,
    > these expressions were few and certainly did not represent the feelings
    > or mood of the general population. The deep shock and horror of the
    > Palestinian people, the real sorrow for all the dead and wounded, was,
    > and continues to be, unseen by the world, particularly in the USA. It
    > is the story unheard.
    > Because those few scenes were disturbing, the easy response is to cast
    > judgment on the participants, naming those 'celebrating' as inhuman,
    > despots, or despicable. The more difficult response, though,
    > particularly in the midst of grief, is to ask the questions about what
    > might drive people, men, women and children, to such actions. One
    > might remember that the people who were seen 'celebrating' are a people
    > who for almost a year have been under a brutal siege, who due to the siege
    > have been unable to feed their families and hover on the brink of
    > poverty and despair, who have watched their children and their parents
    > killed by bullets, tank shells and guided missiles, most of which are
    > supplied to the Israeli Occupation Army by the USA. One might remember
    > such things as one watches those images. Attempting to understand
    > motivations doesn't discount our feelings of anguish at such scenes,
    > but does allow us to keep humanity a bit more in tack in a time of such
    > utter brokenness.
    > But, more importantly to me is what has mostly gone unseen by the
    > American public. I have to ask why these scenes of a few
    > Palestinians been shown again and again and again, as if they capture
    > the 'truth' of Palestine. How few cameras have caught the spontaneous
    > sorrow, despair, tears and heartache of the vast majority of the
    > Palestinian
    > people.
    > As the news unfolded here on Tuesday afternoon about the extent of the
    > attacks, people gathered, as people did everywhere, in front of
    > television screens to learn as much as possible. My phone rang and
    > rang as Palestinians from around the West Bank called to express their
    > horror and their condolences.
    > Yesterday following a prayer service held at St. George's Anglican
    > Cathedral, I talked briefly to the US Consul General in Jerusalem. We
    > talked about the scenes from here which were most prevalent on the TV.
    > He told me that his office had received a stack of faxes of
    > condolences from Palestinians and Palestinian Organizations 'this high'
    > (indicating a stack of about 12 inches). He asked his staff to fax a
    > copy of every last one of them to CNN to give a different visual
    > image from
    > Palestine.
    > When we left the cathedral after the service, we drove by the American
    > Consulate in East Jerusalem. Gathered there were about 30 Palestinian
    > Muslim schoolgirls with their teachers. Looking grief-stricken, they
    > held their bouquets of dark flowers and stood behind their row of
    > candles. Silently, they kept vigil outside our Consulate. But no
    > cameras captured their quiet sorrow.
    > When I got home, my neighbor explained that her son who is in 8th
    > grade came home in the afternoon and talked to her about the students
    > reactions at school. He told her that everyone was talking about what
    > had happened. He said that many were asking "how could someone do
    > that?" "Is someone human who can carry out such acts?" He went on to
    > tell her that many of the girls were crying. Friends, then, began
    > stopping by my home. Palestinian Christian and Muslim came together,
    > visiting me to express their sorrow and to ask what they could do.
    > Again, the phone rang incessantly with Palestinians asking if
    > everyone I knew was okay and asking if they could do anything to help.
    > As we talked many went on to tell of stories of their loved ones who
    > are in the States - relatives they were worried about having been
    > injured or killed or who had been subject to harassment in the last couple
    > of days. Others talked of having received emails from people who had been
    > supporters of their work who wrote saying "I can never again support
    > the Palestinian people," as if somehow Palestinians everywhere were
    > suddenly responsible for the attacks in the States.
    > The remarkable thing to me, though, was that despite such messages,
    > these same people still wrote letters of condolences, made phone calls
    > to friends, and asked what they could do to help. Despite the world,
    > and particularly the American world, not seeing them or seeing them
    > only as 'terrorists', Palestinians continued to express their common
    > humanity with people everywhere as they shared in the heartache and
    > dismay.
    > Trusting in God's everlasting presence,
    > Sandra
    > Rev. Sandra Olewine
    > United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem
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