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  1. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    07 Aug '14 17:26 / 4 edits
    I don't really have the time to write this, but I need to, so I'm making the time.

    I was in Phoenix airport yesterday. I had a little time before my flight and so I found an empty gate and sat near a wall outlet so I could charge my iPhone. So, I'm sitting there minding my own business and I notice off in a corner are two young plainly Arab men (though dressed in western style clothing) setting out mats and praying, complete with the bowing down and the plainly audible "Allah Hu Akhbar." To be completely honest, the first thing that passed through my mind was nervousness. I was wearing a skullcap and thus was easily identifiable as a Jew. But I banished the thought quickly and went back to what I was doing. I thought for an instant about going over when they were finished praying and saying something nice to them, but I couldn't really think of anything to say and didn't know if they wanted to be bothered, so I didn't do anything.

    A few minutes later, one of the fellows walks up to be and said "Shalom." I smiled and said "Salaam." We got to talking a little, he in plainly non-native broken English. He had a phone app that translated phrases into Hebrew and we discussed (in English) the similarity of the Hebrew and Arabic languages and brief other pleasantries.

    He asked me when I "came over here" (to the US). I replied that I was born in the US and asked him where he was from. I was expecting of course something like Saudi Arabia or Egypt. So, he said "Palestine" and then hesitates for a moment and corrects himself "Gaza" (perhaps assuming that I might take offense to use of the word Palestine - which I would not have). I couldn't really think of anything to say so I put on my most sympathetic face and shook both of their hands (the other had come over in the meantime) and said "well... at least WE'RE friends, right?" We talked for a couple of more minutes. They asked me if I'd heard anything on the news about whether the truce was holding and I said I did not. We soon had to board our plane.

    By the time I got to my seat, there were tears in my eyes. I was kind of hoping to be sitting near them so we could talk, but I didn't see them again.

    The only thing I could think of was WHY? Why does some damn politician or cleric have to tell us that we have to be blood enemies? They're nice people. I'm a nice person. We're both regular human beings. I'm sure all 3 of us just want to live in peace and provide for our families. I'm sure that if the three of us had to sit down in a room and figure out what to do about Israel, the WB and Gaza, we could figure something out. I certainly don't want his family bombed by F-16's and I really don't think they want my family attacked with Qassams or to put me in a gas chamber.

    We can point fingers all we like. It's Netanyahu's fault. It's Haniyeh's fault. It's the Balfour Declaration. It's the Hamas Charter. It's Oslo. It's Arafat. It's Begin. It's Liberman. It's the IRA. It's the British. It's India. It's Pakistan. It's Putin. It's Bush. It's Obama. It's everyone's fault. Fine. We get that.

    But why do we as people put leaders in charge or invest clerics and politicians with the authority to turn us into a bunch of monsters? What about human nature allows the world to be run to the point that under different circumstances, I and the two nice young men I met at the airport yesterday would be trying to kill each other. What's wrong with us?

    I know. I'm probably not making much sense and my questions have answers. I also probably sound like a gullible radical hippie. But I can't help it.

    Is there anything we can do as a species to stop trying to kill each other?
  2. 07 Aug '14 17:43
    Originally posted by sh76
    Is there anything we can do as a species to stop trying to kill each other?
    Live and let live.

    Easy cop-out answer, but it's true none-the-less.

    Don't let negative things in the world drag you down. The vast majority of the world is good people wanting good things for each other.

    There's a good chance those two guys felt the same kind of... emotion as you are feeling.

    If you really want to to do something you could consider trying to organise a rally where jews and muslims come together and hold hands. Those little symbols might inspire other people to do something similar.

    Don't give up on positivity.
  3. Standard member vivify
    rain
    07 Aug '14 17:55
    Keep in mind that not all Palestinians are "nice people", just like not all Palestinians are bad people. The same goes for any other group of people. I say this because the issue between Israelis and Palestinians aren't as superficial as who is "nice" or "bad". It's much more complex than that, though I'm sure you know that. It's just that encounters with individuals from each group can make you forget that.

    Human beings, unfortunately, are evil, petty creatures. As long as humans exist, there will be conflict, much of terrible, as sad as that is. However, encounters like the one you had do give hope; not only because of the pleasantness of the people you spoke to, but your own willingness to extend an olive branch as well. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope many more encounters like yours happen.
  4. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    07 Aug '14 18:13
    It's about pride and property.
  5. 07 Aug '14 18:33
    Originally posted by sh76
    Is there anything we can do as a species to stop trying to kill each other?
    Start by getting to know each other as you did. The biggest problem with the Israel situation, is the apartheid system of separation. If there were no demarcations of where people could live, or which schools children can go to etc, then the problems would reduce dramatically. The current situation is simply inexcusable.
    You can also join organizations like Servas which encourage people to get to know people of different cultures and from different parts of the world.
  6. 07 Aug '14 18:45
    Originally posted by vivify
    Keep in mind that not all Palestinians are "nice people", just like not all Palestinians are bad people. The same goes for any other group of people. I say this because the issue between Israelis and Palestinians aren't as superficial as who is "nice" or "bad". It's much more complex than that, though I'm sure you know that. It's just that encounters with ...[text shortened]... branch as well. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope many more encounters like yours happen.
    "As long as humans exist, there will be conflict, much of terrible, as sad as that is."

    People tend to classify humans as unique among living things in having such conflicts, but it is a characteristic of life itself. We aren't special that way.
  7. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    07 Aug '14 18:56
    Originally posted by JS357
    "As long as humans exist, there will be conflict, much of terrible, as sad as that is."

    People tend to classify humans as unique among living things in having such conflicts, but it is a characteristic of life itself. We aren't special that way.
    Quite right - that is not the way we are special. The way we are special is having the capacity to communicate using language and to enable abstract concepts such as law to arbitrate our disputes in place of violence.
  8. 07 Aug '14 19:06 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by sh76
    I don't really have the time to write this, but I need to, so I'm making the time.

    I was in Phoenix airport yesterday. I had a little time before my flight and so I found an empty gate and sat near a wall outlet so I could charge my iPhone. So, I'm sitting there minding my own business and I notice off in a corner are two young plainly Arab men (though dress ...[text shortened]... I can't help it.

    Is there anything we can do as a species to stop trying to kill each other?
    Sh76, it's good that you have had an opportunity, however brief, to meet
    some Palestinians. I hope that you now will reconsider your earlier comment
    that the Palestinians have 'no self-respect' and 'no sense of purpose'.

    "I was kind of hoping to be sitting near them so we could talk..."
    --Sh76

    Do you think that you would have enjoyed the same opportunity to talk with
    these Palestinians if you had met them in Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza?
    My point is that when you were meeting these Palestinians in the USA, you
    were meeting on equal terms. If you had met them in the Israeli-occupied
    West Bank, the Palestinians would have perceived you as a Jew holding a
    gun at them or, at least, as backed by Israeli soldiers with guns. You would
    not have been meeting on equal terms. During the apartheid era, some
    white South African businessmen visited the USA and made deals with black
    American businessmen on equal terms. When they returned home, however,
    they resumed their lives in a society of extreme differences in power and rights.
    Jews and Palestinians can be friends in a place where they have equal rights.
    But Israel's apartheid-like system has driven them to act as enemies toward each other.

    "We can point fingers all we like."
    --Sh76

    The historical context cannot be ignored. The Palestinians will not and should
    not accept any proposition (which is extremely loaded in favour of Israel) of
    "Let's just forget all that's happened in the past, and start becoming friends
    from now on (in 2014)."

    "Is there anything we can do as a species to stop trying to kill each other."
    --Sh76

    You could begin by attempting to understand why you think some people
    want to kill people in the group with which you strongly identify. Please
    read what Palestinians have written of their senses of identity and history
    and attempt to understand their grievances.

    Here's a book by an Israeli Jew who has made that journey before you:
    _The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine_ by Miko Peled
    (Miko Peled now lives in the USA, and some of his best friends are Palestinians.)

    Would you have allowed Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said (who were among
    the best of friends) to make peace on behalf of the Israelis and Palestinians?
  9. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    07 Aug '14 19:46
    Originally posted by sh76
    Is there anything we can do as a species to stop trying to kill each other?
    They are our cousins, after all. We both come from our father Abraham.

    But I don't care anymore. It's time to stop this...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdIEm1s6yhY
  10. 07 Aug '14 20:07 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Seitse to Sh76
    They are our cousins, after all. We both come from our father Abraham.
    But I don't care anymore. It's time to stop this...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdIEm1s6yhY
    http://www.youngjewishproud.org/about/
  11. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    07 Aug '14 20:13 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.youngjewishproud.org/about/
    Go away, ISIS-lover. Jerusalem is our capital. That includes the "East".

    When I spoke about "this has to stop" I meant taking our whole
    country to ourselves, not making concessions to those who
    murder Christians, Jews and Yazidi while hiding behind children.
  12. 07 Aug '14 20:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by vivify
    As long as humans exist, there will be conflict, much of terrible, as sad as that is.
    Minor conflict yes, but I see no reason why major conflict is unavoidable. Many parts of the world manage to go long periods without serious conflict, and almost all conflict follows certain predictable patterns that could be identified and precautions taken.
    Almost all conflict involves group identity. One solution is to reduce the strength of group identity, another is to make more, smaller groups. Generally the worst conflicts occur when there are two or three main groups. When you have 10 equally sized groups there is far less conflict.

    So for example if we introduced another 5 groups of people into the Israel area, conflict would be significantly reduced.
  13. 07 Aug '14 20:41 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    I don't really have the time to write this, but I need to, so I'm making the time.

    I was in Phoenix airport yesterday. I had a little time before my flight and so I found an empty gate and sat near a wall outlet so I could charge my iPhone. So, I'm sitting there minding my own business and I notice off in a corner are two young plainly Arab men (though dress ...[text shortened]... I can't help it.

    Is there anything we can do as a species to stop trying to kill each other?
    It's truly a touching story. I believe that most individuals merely want a good life for themselves and their families. From that point of view, everyone is the same.
    It seems to me that is far more common for governments than individuals to create situations where they need to round up individuals, go to a different geographic area and kill people. Perhaps when he can look at people as individuals instead of philosophical groups we can be far more humane and tolerant.
  14. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    07 Aug '14 20:49
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Go away, ISIS-lover. Jerusalem is our capital. That includes the "East".

    When I spoke about "this has to stop" I meant taking our whole
    country to ourselves, not making concessions to those who
    murder Christians, Jews and Yazidi while hiding behind children.
    Hilarious. The IDF targets children because the children are hiding the enemy? That's okay then. Fire away lads.
  15. 07 Aug '14 21:31 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by finnegan to Seitse
    Hilarious. The IDF targets children because the children are hiding the enemy? That's okay then. Fire away lads.
    I posted a link to the website of 'Young, Jewish, and Proud'.
    (I don't speak for YJP; their members can speak for themselves.)
    And in response, Seitse called me (an atheist) 'ISIS-lover'!

    By the way, I did not notice any statements at the YJP website about Israel's
    borders or East Jerusalem or anything else that Seitse was ranting about.
    One wonders if Seitse even followed the link to the YJP website and read anything
    there or was capable of comprehending anything outside of Seitse's prejudices.

    Evidently, Seitse hates all Jews (such as members of the Jewish Voice for
    Peace) who disagree with Seitse's fanatical Zionism and support of Israel.
    My point is that Jewish people are diverse, including in their views of Israel.
    But a fanatical Zionist like Seitse would like to misrepresent the Jewish
    people as monolithic in their suppose support of Seitse's political ideology.