Thursday, April 27, 2006

Out of the Fire, Into the Frying Pan...

Before you write to correct me on the title of this blog entry, the way I wrote it is indeed correct as you'll see when I explain my situation coming from Palestine and landing here in Canada, where a similar situation has been brewing for many years.

Canada was settled by French and English explorers out looking for a quicker way to China...battles broke out between them for territory in the 'New World'. The bottom line being that England won what is now defined as Canada. However, a large French speaking population remains.

Today, there are about 8-million French-Canadians living in Canada, primarily they live in the province of Quebec and make up just over a quarter of the Canadian population. The problem was that in the first 100 years in Canada, that if you were French Canadian you were considered a second class citizen. French Canadians as recent as the the 1970's weren't allowed into managirial positions or positions of authority, they were more likely to get the subserviant roles and were essentially held down by an English power base. Canada has two official languages but outside of Quebec you wouldn't know it. This has changed since the Quebec separtist movement began. Not only has the movement made practical changes but they have also sensitized Canadians of the French history of this great country. The first parliamentary system was actualy based on that of France...later changed to reflect British parliament. Even the word 'Parliament' is based on the French ward 'Parle', to speak...but I digress.

So here I come, a new refugee from Palestine out of that firey situation into what became know as the October Crisis. Quebec separtists kidnapped and killed a political leader...the Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau - a French Canadian himself, call's out the army and declare's martial law! Pretty bad from a Canadian point of view...a step up from a Palestinian point of view.

The difference was I still have my rights.

Natural political process took place and a Quebec separtist party took control of the provincial government in 1976, who called a referendum in 1980 on the separation of Quebec from Canada, to turn Quebec into it's own country. After losing that referendum (and scaring away a good portion of the Quebec English population, not to mention a good portion of corporate Canada who had head offices here in Montreal, the resulting 'depression' if you will stunting the growth of this great province) they vowed to try again, which they did in 1995...this time getting an increased number of voters to vote 'Yes' for separation...but alas again not a majority.

Now, before you jump to conclusions and liken the Palestinians situation to that of the Quebec my separtist friends like to believe...that is not what I have in mind for this blog article.

Could you imagine if the British had held a referendum amongst Palestinians (pre-1948) to decide whether they wanted to separate and create a Jewish only area and another area for Muslims and Christians? What do you think the outcome of that would have been??

How about if after the October Crisis in 1970 the United Nations stepped in and gave Canadians a 'partition plan' to divide up the country between it's French speaking population and everybody else...but gave Canadians no say in the situation?

Here's another thought for my readers in Europe: imagine if after decades of abuse from English Canadians the French population decided they wanted to go back to France and create their own "Quebecois" nation within the borders of would that have gone over!?!?

The greatest injustice ever done to the people of Palestine was the creation of a 'Jewish only' nation within their territory, it defies any sense of logic! This injustice needs to be reversed, amends for the 500 or so destroyed Palestinian villages need to be made and finally Palestinians need to be allowed to return home. How can Israel proclaim to be a democracy if it wasn't created democratically?

If PEACE is the goal, we need a united and FREE Palestine now!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Palestine: The ORIGINAL Melting Pot

Easter EggFinally it's done, another Easter... another year of explaining why 'my' Easter (Orthodox Easter) comes at a different time than everybody else's, another year of explaining to people that "yes, I AM Palestinian and I'm Christian". "No, not ALL Palestinians are Muslim...some are even Jewish..." I usually say. gets tiring!

One of the greatest things about Palestine is it's people. People who have many different kinds of backgrounds. Linguistically, ethnically and religiously. I've often called Palestine "The Original Melting Pot". We were accepting people from all over the region all of the time.

I'm not an expert at the 'movement of people', but probably because of geographical location, all kinds of people were wandering in and out of the region throughout history. Jews, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders and others have all settled in the region and intermarried. Many of their descendants converted to Christianity and later to Islam and spoke different languages depending on the language of the given time period. My family traces it's roots back to the Canaanites some of the earliest inhabitants!

Here's an interesting fact for you: so much intermarrying has taken place among Palestinians and the people who came and went through history that DNA testing has shown that today the various Jewish ethnic divisions and Palestinians are genetically closer to each other than either is to the Arabs (of Arabia) or non-Jewish Europeans.

Like the United States, Palestine is made of many kinds of people. Which is why it's silly for any one group to claim it as their own. For the world Jewish population to claim Palestine as there own is as naive as the Italians (or Roman descendants) to call it theirs or how about the Christians to claim it as an exclusive Christian state!

Fueled by religious extremism we need to turn the heat down before this melting pot boils over! A free Palestine is for everyone!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Passover Demonstration in Boston

Well, this looks like a good place to start:

This article was just published by the Boston Independent Media Center Young Jews Support Palestinian Rights, they held a Seder outside of the offices of the

Man, that picture just about says it all...

Is it just me or does there seem to be a building movement of Jews who see being 'Jewish' and 'supporting Israel' as being two different things?

Now, I'm not only talking about the Neturei Karta Orthodox Jews, who are so often marginalized by other Jews and in the media as being 'crazy'. Below is a picture of such a demonstration right here in Montreal.

The majority of my friends are Jewish, yeah, a 'Palestinian' friendly with Jews... who would have thought that was possible?? (*sarcasm*) And I've had conversations with them about the situation and they seem to feel that if they don't support Israel they are turning their back on their religion. The problem is that they can't spiritually support what Israel is doing in the name of Judaism! It's a tough position to be in especially as the media here in North America is starting to actually report what Israelis are doing!

Even before the creation of the state of Israel in Palestine there were questions from well known Albert Einstein:

"I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish State. Apart from practical considerations, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish State,with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain"’...

And not just scientists but Jewish spiritual leaders:

"A Jewish Home in Palestine built up on bayonets and oppression [is] not worth having, even though it succeed, whereas the very attempt to build it up peacefully, cooperatively, with understanding, education, and good will, [is] worth a great deal even though the attempt should fail."” Rabbi Judah L. Magnes, first president of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, quoted in "Like All The Nations?"

And Jewish actors:

"“For me, this business called the state of Israel is finished...I canÂ’t bear to see it anymore, the injustice that is done to the Arabs, to the Beduins. All kinds of scum coming from America and as soon as they get off the plane taking over lands in the territories and claiming it for their own...I canÂ’t do anything to change it. I can only go away and let the whole lot go to hell without me."” Israeli actress Rivka Mitchell, quoted in Israeli peace movement periodical, "“The Other Israel"”, August 1998.

I feel that if enough opposition within the worldwide Jewish population is created Palestine can eventually be re-united and peace restored to the Middle East and subsequently to the world.

After all, peace is what we all really want, isn't it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Welcome - مرحبًا

As a Palestinian living in exile I have learned to adapt. I have been told that my country doesn't exist, that in fact I don't exist... Somewhere along my path I decided to adopt the world as my country...thus the title for this blog.

Where ever I go, there I am!

I hope you will join me as I discovery what it is to be a Palestinian living in the 'Western World' which has a confused idea of what a Palestinian is!

ابن عيسى