Some one send me this joke today-
Two Arabs boarded a flight out of London. One took a window seat and the other sat next to him in the middle seat. Just before takeoff, an American sat down in the aisle seat. After takeoff, the American kicked his shoes off, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the Arab in the window seat said, "I need to get up and get a coke." "Don't get up" said the American, "I'm in the aisle seat. I'll get it for you." As soon as he left, one of the Arabs picked up the American's shoe and spat in it. When he returned with the coke, the other Arab said, "That looks good, I'd really like one, too."
Again, the American obligingly went to fetch it. While he was gone the other Arab picked up his other shoe and spat in it. When the American returned, they all
sat back and enjoyed the flight. As the plane was landing, the American slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened.
"Why does it have to be this way?" he asked.
"How long must this go on?
This fighting between our nations?
This spitting in shoes and pissing in cokes."
I usually like off-color jokes, but I'm not sure I liked this one - promoting suspicion of the Other. Because it all seems so true.
Reminds me of the first time I went into an Arab home when I was 17 (20 years ago or so)(the family assisted us when our rented car got stuck in the mud in their village). I had never tasted mint tea in the early 1970s - never mind ever hearing of it. This was before the herbal tea thing started to become popular. They offered me mint tea and I took one sip, and not recognizing the strange taste, suspected it to be poison. I wouldn't drink the rest of it. Well, the sip didn't kill me, in fact I drink mint tea quite regularly these days - and sage tea is quite popular among Arabs here as well. But I'm sure the suspicion of us Jews is quite prevalent unfortunately among the Palestinian population as well.
Unfortunately, I see fear and suspicion as having caused great tragedies for the two peoples living in this land. So the best way to eradicate it - the way I see it - would be to have these intefaith/intercultural meetings grow and involve most of the population. There's now a very small minority involved in such meetings, but as people get sick of the violence, the only option is this - to get to know the other, which will eventually cause a breakdown of suspicion and fear.
Look what's happened in the past - two examples - in 1929 there was a massacre of Jews living in Hebron because the Islamic religious leaders told their people that the Jews were going to annihilate them. And when Baruch Goldstein feared that the Arabs in the Hebron mosque would kill all the Jews going to celebrate the holiday of Purim in the Cave of the Patriarchs, he murdered 39 Moslem worshippers while they were praying. It's tragic, and those tragedies could have all been averted had we all not been suspicious of one another.
There are so many interfaith/intercultural activities going on, it makes me dizzy. I missed one this weekend at the Druze village of Ramah where we were going to go with women and the youth of that village on a hike and get to know their village, etc. In the States I hear of tremendous stuff going on that my friend Eliyahu is involved in - Two interesting ones were:
"Next in DC on Jan 11th, I was the guest speaker at an Arab-Jewish dialogue
group that meets monthly in a well known restaurant, Mimi's Bistro. It is
owned by an Iraqi-American who hosts the dialogues and was excited to see
the Sulha video and get copies sent to his friends."
"Back in Philadelphia on Jan. 20th, I attended a special event called
"Search for Common Ground" - a dialogue between Dr Akbar Ahmed, the
Pakistani chair of Islamic studies at American University in DC and Dr.
Judea Pearl, father of the Jewish journalist who was murdered in Pakistan.
It was a powerful discussion about the obstacles to and the possibilities of
reconciliation between Jews and Muslims and Islam and the West. Dr. Ahmad
invited me to speak later to his students, as I will describe later."
The next 'Sulha' gathering will take place Aug 17-19 in the Galilee. There will a
children's space, talking circles, a tent of Hagar and Sarah, a Bereaved
Parents tent, shared kosher/halal meals, and live music. I am helping to
organize a space within the gathering for many peace and dialogue groups to
share their work with the wider public. Please see this website for details
and come join us if you can! www.metasulha.org
- If this keeps up, there'll be a shortage of these kinds of jokes! Who can we pick on then?
Friday, July 02, 2004
Some one send me this joke today-