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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Helping the Homeless

The always interesting Susanna Cornett offers an Arab News primer on the Palestinian situation in her June 15 post "Palestine-Israel 101 for Americans" [it's waay down, she's busy and I can't figure out how to make these links point]. She reprints a letter from, oh, let her tell it:

"The Arab News, always a good source of amusement, is at it again, this time with a primer for understanding the Palestinian-Israeli situation. Apparently the article is actually a letter responding to something mentioned as "your presentation", which is never specified. Worth reading the whole thing, to get the other perspective, but the meat of it is in this (lengthy) analogy:

Let me tell you a story and after that make your own judgment on what you think is fair and right: You are sitting at home which you have had in your family for over 1400 years when all of a sudden..."

And I'm thinking, whoa, contact your P.R. firm, is this a letter to the average American, or the average Native American? Most of us have not been sitting around dealing with hard times for 1400 years, or even 140. We left Europe or other places to flee religious persecution or start a new and better life, we moved to the sunbelt, we moved North after the Civil War, we move around, we move on. And forget about Palestine, what was the deal with Serbia, these folks just stay in one place for century after century getting rained on, it's even less plausible than being a Red Sox fan.

And then I wonder, in a rare burst of empathy, just how big a cultural gap we are dealing with. Big, sure. Too big to cross?

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