Birzeit University, north of Ramallah. Photo: Pamela Olson www.pamolson.org
by Meryl Ann Butler
President Obama plans to visit Palestine in June in the quest for peace in the Middle East.
An instructor at Birzeit University - the most prestigious university in Palestine - recently gave a class of English students an intriguing assignment: after they had researched President Obama’s foreign policy on the Middle East, they were to compose a letter to him.
21-year old Salem Nazzal, who says he has been fascinated with the English language since he was a little child, took the assignment to heart in his letter, below:
Dear Mr. President:
First of all, I congratulate you on your new position. I congratulate you for the actualization of the American dream, the dream of black people and the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.
Sorry, Mr. President, I did not see the inauguration ceremony. At that moment while you were being inaugurated, I was busy watching the war on Gaza and numbering the victims of children, mothers, and fathers.
You are one of the dreamers. You are the one who achieved the long held dream of the American black people who were suffering for hundreds of years ...
Palestinians also have a dream. I’m Palestinian. I still have hope to get to my dream, to live in peace in an independent state as you have ...
But I wonder how to get that dream, knowing that you support Israel in everything — like the man who led America prior to you.
During the war on Gaza you said, “Israel has the right to self-defense...”
What is the right you are talking about?
Is it the right to brutality or the right to kill children and steal lands in Gaza and the West Bank?
And you want more peace, but what kind of peace?