I had an odd experience a while ago, and I don’t know why I’m thinking about it today, but I really wanted to post about it.
When I was 14, I took a trip to Israel. It was a chartered thing, planned tours and the like. I was told a lot about the history, and about the inhabitant’s views on the Arab / Israeli conflict. It never occured to me that the stories might have some slant to them, and I always took them as truth.
A year or so ago, I was taking a class where one of the students was a young woman of Palestinian descent who had recently visited her relatives there. She started talking in one class about their views, and I began to realize that a lot of what she was saying was a mirror of what I had heard. I challenged her on a few things, just on principles, and it started a very interresting discussion. By the end of it we both realized that what we both knew to be ‘true’ was political rhetoric. Both sides couldn’t possibly be right.
Like I said, I don’t even know why I’m posting this. I just think it’s a bit of a shame that two cultures are so deeply immeshed (word?) in their politics and their hatred for eachother that it looks as though they may never untangle.
As a side note, she and I planned to have a more in-depth discussion about it outside of class, but it never came to be. Now that I write that, I realize how oddly fitting that is for the situation in that area of the world in general.