Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Presenting Palestine

As I mentioned, the most notable event of my day was attending the first of six parts of a documentary called Chronicles of a Refugee that deals with the Nakba and the subsequent hardships of the Palestinians. The film itself was fairly well-done and provided a human face for the tragedies of the late 1940s, but the speakers afterward were inappropriate in much of what they had to say. As someone in search of the most balanced view of the Arab-Israeli conflict, I was offended at remarks aimed at minimizing the gravity of the Shoah and those suggesting that the economic downturn and any ill effects it had for America would somehow benefit the Palestinians. While I realize that for these speakers, all three Palestinian, the issue is particularly salient and emotionally charged, the only way to solve anything will be through compromise and the acceptance that the other side is indeed human as well.
I chatted with my neighbor Catherine and some of our Egyptian friends about the event before heading to get koshary and then to my apartment. Maged called me while I was sitting down to type up an entry and I joined him and his friends (who, together with a dozen or so others comprise a Christian worship band who perform on Egyptian television, or so I gather). Most of the conversation was in Arabic, so I spent time trying to pick out words I knew and trying to read the Arabic on ketchup packets and signs in the street.
Most of my pre-documentary hours were spent retooling my paper for my intro class. I'm now writing about the relationship between the evolution of the nation-state and immigration and refugees. It already seems like a pretty interest subject to delve into.

Egypt beefs up police presence on border with Gaza
US State Dep't to encourage online youth movements (including one in Egypt) to fight terrorism, political oppression
Sectarian clash in Ain Shams (the neighborhood where I teach English)

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