Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The quintessential Palestinian experience,” historian Rashid Khalidi has written, “takes place at a border, an airport, a checkpoint: in short, at any one of those many modern barriers where identities are checked and verified.”

I know how frustrated some of my readers become when I blog about the plight of Palestinians but it's how I was raised. You find the courage to speak out if you think something is wrong hoping, that if the roles were reversed, there would be someone somewhere, speaking out on your behalf.

New Zealand divided itself over apartheid in South Africa during the famous 1981 South African rugby tour of New Zealand.
For 56 days in July, August and September 1981, New Zealanders were divided against each other in the largest civil disturbance seen since the 1951 waterfront dispute. More than 150,000 people took part in over 200 demonstrations in 28 centres, and 1500 were charged with offences stemming from these protests.

It's in our nature to speak out, perhaps to make up for our colonising past or perhaps it's having an understanding of the consequences of colonisation, that wound that rarely heals ... who knows.

But maybe it's enough if I simply quote someone else writing of the plight of Palestinians, locked out of or into their country that is slowly being erased.

“In this place, adds Robyn Creswell, “connection” turns out to be only another word for separation or quarantine: the loop of airports never ends, like Borges’s famous library. The cruelty of the Palestinian situation is that these purgatories are in no way extraordinary but rather the backdrop of daily existence."

And if you're wondering what inspired this post, then visit Laila's blog - over at

I have no idea what history will make of the world's acceptance of this truly horrible situation.

1 comment:

paris parfait said...

I don't think the world accepts the horrible situation; I think the world is frustrated by the players, who don't necessarily make the wisest decisions - and of course by the Israelis, who seem determined to maintain the open air prison that is Gaza. Checkpoints and border crossings have been a way of life for the Palestinians since 1948. All this time, many, many people have tried to find a solution, but various politicians - on both sides -have stood in the way of peace. I still have hope that resolution will be find in our lifetime. But it will take strong leaders on both sides to create any semblance of peace and a two-state solution. Alas, leaders on both sides at the moment seem flummoxed - Abbas by the divisions with and within Hamas; Netan. by his incalcitrance and conservatism. He didn't do a good job the first time he was prime minister; there's no reason to think he has improved his approach or way of thinking.