27 May 2010: Nakba, Shoah, and May 14-15
Today at Washington, DC's, Palestine Center, Dr. Mark Ellis, a university professor of history and Middle Eastern Studies at Baylor University, spoke to a packed room about "The Ongoing Nakba and the Jewish Conscience." This eloquent and forceful academic and activist has authored twenty books.
Having walked in deciding that I am pro-Palestinian-yes, pro-Palestinian-I added this to being pro-Israel without canceling myself out, because ultimately I am pro-peace and anti-suffering of the innocent, the true Nakba (catastrophe) that afflicts so much of the world.
Many years ago, three months after my daughter was born and because she was delivered by a Muslim Arab, I wrote a play titled Solution to the Near East [that's how we referred to the Middle East back then]. In it an American Jewish woman is stuck in a small, windowless hospital room with her male, Muslim obstetrician/gynecologist. After she tries repeatedly to throw him out as he fills the room up with Tiparillo smoke, she gives up and remembers how she resented the small amount of time he spent with her while she was in labor. So she initiates a conversation about a vexing issue:
She: "What's it like to be an Arab?" He: "Oh, you have to go there."
After an expectable trade-off of ideas, a policeman enters the room and offers to remove the doctor. The woman says she doesn't see anyone, so the policeman shrugs his shoulders and leaves. She bids her doctor good-night and each rolls over to face his/her wall, back to back in narrow hospital beds.
Read the play at www.wordsunltd.com/Both_Sides_of_the_Wailing_Wall.htm, and the entire trilogy of which it is second, if you believe that my take on the situation will "reward" further reading, if you believe, along with the good doctor, that "You can't keep birds out of the trees very long." This play focuses in on the issue, while the first and third treat feminism and ethnic ironies and slapstick, satiric comedy, respectively.
My idea was the fifty-fifty solution offered to the long-at-odds Palestinians and Israelis by the British: they got Jordan, the Jews got Israel. Israel today looks like a caterpillar crawling up Jordan's torso-the one country is so much bigger than the other.
The situation turned out to be far more complex than sharing a hospital room fifty-fifty, however. I had oversimplified. Chalk it up to postpartum mania to recreate the world now that I had recreated myself (vastly improved, actually).