Monday, October 18, 2004

Woman with no boundaries

I called up my girlfriend who lives in that "tough" settlement right next to the village where I picked olives yesterday and told her I thought of her as we were so close, but unfortunately could not meet. When I told her where I'd been she was like "ARE YOU CRAZY!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HELPING THOSE PEOPLE??!" I thought I'd have a morning of compassionate listening. I told her we were helping them pick olives because the groves were too close to the settlement fence. She said her adopted son was ambushed recently and beaten up by those villagers and that they come waay too close to the fence not only to pick olives but to wreak havoc on their community.

"But you guys burnt a part of their olive grove last week." Wondering what came first the beating of the kid or the burning of the olive groves. I think they each were a result of the other.

She continued "They used to come into our place and steal all the toys in the kindergarten. All the kids in that Palestinian village are playing with FISHER PRICE toys." I laughed. It did sound funny. But she was appalled at my actions.

"How can you help those people. They want to destroy us. They don't want us here. Any chance they get they'd kill us." I told her the police and army were there yesterday to protect both her place and their place.

What about the shepherd I saw yesterday who was able to go freely into their territory.
"That's because we don't kill people and ambush them and blow them up to bits. Don't you remember the lynching in Ramallah?"
Yes, I do. I told her all this hate was because they don't understand Jews.
"Terrorists in Gaza and suicide bombers do it because they don't understand Jews?" she asked incredulously.
"That's surely part of the reason."
"You are so misguided lady. By helping them you're giving them more of a reason to attack us!!!! They get strengthened by that."
"Don't you think it will change their minds about some Jews at least" I said, thinking about the 3 orthodox-looking Jews with "kippot" on their heads who were with us yesterday.
"No, don't you read the Koran where it says they should kill us?"
"I don't read the Koran but I do have some of it read to me, where it talks about peace."
"Why don't you help Jewish people who are victims of their terror?"
"I think I am helping prevent more terror by doing what I'm doing."

I told her I would love to see the head of her community meet up with the head of their community for a peace pow wow. I told her about the beautiful fresh spring and how nice it would be if they could go there just to see it. Now they couldn't. Anyone looking like they come from that community would be a target for at least a good beating. There's just too much bad blood right now between them.

I thought - why did I have to start with the toughest settlement in the West Bank and even bring up the idea of peace?? I must be totally certifiably nuts. But I figured if anything ever comes of this, the rest will be a piece of cake.

My friend continued - "My husband won't believe it when I tell him what you did yesterday. Do you want to come up to our place for this Sabbath and be our guests?"

This is a good sign folks. She did not want to excommunicate me from the Jewish people!!! She and the rest of the townsfolk will definitely want to talk me out of my "evil" ways of consorting with who she considers the devil, but I have to see if I have the strength and guts to deal with that too.

She went on about what she knew about me and sewed it all together. "You have no boundaries. This is the way you are with your husband and this is the way you are with your kids. You think if you continue on the same way, it'll all fall into place and everything will be ok, if you don't put boundaries. But you're only fooling yourself. Without boundaries it won't get any better. And this is the way you think with the Arabs."

What she was saying about boundaries is very perceptive of her. I have it tougher than most because I don't put boundaries around other people. I don't want to impose boundaries on others. I want everyone to feel free, I guess. I don't like borders and I don't like boundaries. She was certain correct with that.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Leah, I can't tell you enough how badly I want to come to Jerusalem and work with you, mostly to be your friend. I was struck by the irony of her comments, about you not having any boundaries. Sometimes our problems arise from misunderstandings, but what about when they arise from situations when both sides understand all too well? She thinks your not having any boundaries is your problem.. too short-sighted to understand the implications of her statement.

Did you join them on the Sabbath? I'd be interested to see if you got through to anyone or were just harangued for your beliefs. Don't they see that the next potential suicide recruit may think twice after knowing you did what you did for the Yasouf village?

Oh.. and about what the Qur'an says about Jews in particular, they (along with Christians) are to be protected as people of the Book (Ahl al-Kitaab). That isn't to say that non-monotheists should be targeted. I guess in studying the Qur'an, my most valuable lesson has been to take it both as a historical and living text. Some parts are specific to a historical context while eternal guidelines can be gleaned with a bit of critical thought, or itjihad. Sorry for the long post, but thanks for the uplifting post.

Anonymous said...

Leah, I can't tell you enough how badly I want to come to Jerusalem and work with you, mostly to be your friend. I was struck by the irony of her comments, about you not having any boundaries. Sometimes our problems arise from misunderstandings, but what about when they arise from situations when both sides understand all too well? She thinks your not having any boundaries is your problem.. too short-sighted to understand the implications of her statement.

Did you join them on the Sabbath? I'd be interested to see if you got through to anyone or were just harangued for your beliefs. Don't they see that the next potential suicide recruit may think twice after knowing you did what you did for the Yasouf village?

Oh.. and about what the Qur'an says about Jews in particular, they (along with Christians) are to be protected as people of the Book (Ahl al-Kitaab). That isn't to say that non-monotheists should be targeted. I guess in studying the Qur'an, my most valuable lesson has been to take it both as a historical and living text. Some parts are specific to a historical context while eternal guidelines can be gleaned with a bit of critical thought, or ijtihad. Sorry for the long post, but thanks for the uplifting post.

apple said...

Oh, that was me, Amna. I've finally started keeping a blog. It's a bunch of nonsense, though.

Keep well!

apple said...

Sorry for doubling up. Blogger sucks.

timx said...

The problems all seem to arise from Generalisations (e.g. All Muslims are terrorists: All Jews hate Arabs: All Arabs hate Jews etc. etc.)