If this hadn't happened to me, personally, I would have written this story off as so much humanist propaganda.
During the fourth week of the current war, I was in a hotel in England - where the elevator wasn't working. This ancient grandfather, yours truly, found himself trudging up to his second floor hotel room several times a day. On some of these trips, I would pass a fellow from the third floor. We'd exchange pleasantries like:
I: Every time I see you come down from 3, I realize things could be worse!
He: No, we are still young, we can do this!
On our last such meeting (I was going up), I said "Good News! They're fixing the elevator!". He replied that that was indeed good news, then...
He: By the way, you are Israeli, are you not?
I: Yes, I am.
He extended his hand in friendship, and with a smile said: "I am Lebanese, we are enemies.".
I was astounded. He continued, "Do not worry, I am Christian."
I vigorously shook his hand, and the conversation continued as follows.
He: Your air force is destroying our cities, I had to flee with my car, no other way out!
I: Your people have to break away from Hizbollah!
He: We cannot! (Moves his forefinger across his throat) They will kill us! Do you not see what they have already done in Beirut against those who oppose them?!?
I: (At a loss for words) I don't have to look to Beirut. I see what has happened to your people in Bethlehem.
He: That was a terrible mistake! Look what you have done, giving so much power to Arafat. See how strong you have made them!
Our conversation continued for a few more minutes, on a more personal level, but I will not reveal further information that could somehow endanger him in the future. I came away from that encounter, dizzied with the realization that we have comrades in spirit on the other side of the line. I wanted to meet him again, and apologize for the treatment my government had ultimately given to the South Lebanese, but given my short stay, another such encounter never materialized...
How can we get our OWN people to think so rationally?
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Thursday, August 17, 2006
Posted by Jameel @ The Muqata at 8/17/2006 04:06:00 PM
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