Thursday, March 18, 2010

My BLOG has been dormant for eighteen months because I was not in Palestine so my knowledge of Palestine was the same as my readers, second hand. For many months I filled in with articles I thought my readers would appreciate. Eighteen months ago, I returned to my house in Palestine. So much has happened during my return, I feel it necessary to rejuvenate my BLOG. I will begin by reposting the first entry of March of 2005 because it gives the history of why and how I ended up living in Palestine.

Living in the Village
by Bronwin Peel

For fifty years my life was influenced by an inexplicable attachment to a man with whom I rarely lived happily. I traveled to occupied Palestine in the fall of 2005 to care for him. In 1994 he had left the US to return to the village on the West Bank where he was born and grew up. Thirty years of breathing toxic chemicals while employed as a research and works chemist in the US had destroyed his lungs. He was dying a slow and agonizing death by asphyxiation. He spoke only once of his dread of the concluding moments of his life, saying he hoped the final suffocation was over quickly. I was thankful he was unconscious when the end came.

He is buried now not 30 yards from my front door in the family cemetery. Another 30 yards behind his grave is the front porch of my father-in-law’s house where my memory sees him in 1982 holding court for dozens of villagers. They gathered from miles around to visit on his first trip home from Jordan in three years. Tired by his many years, the guests rejuvenated him. He entertained his audience for hours with stories that spanned his nine decades of life, from his military service with the Ottomans to modern life in Amman. His wit was such that even though his stories were translated to me from Arabic and spanned two cultures I laughed aloud. He left us a few years later and now Sami’s grave is located a few feet from his. In the evenings as I dress for bed, I see the framed portraits of our grandchildren glowing with their young beauty and I think of the future.

A dozen spring kids from an exotic breed of goats frolic and bleat in the nearby barnyard. Young children play on the only road. Of the 120 people in the village 75 are under the age of sixteen. The children seem friendly and unspoiled. The charming shyness of one five year old has motivated me to improve my Arabic so I can talk to her. She has large dark eyes and a mop of shining, black hair. In the mornings I’m sometimes awakened by a pair of mourning doves cooing at my window sill. A family of feral cats gathers occasionally at my door and begs for food. Sami fed them before his illness compelled him to leave the house in November for the warmer hotel in the city. An older cat remembers. He leaps up boldly on to the window sill and meows shrilly. They have lived for generations on human food disposed of in the dumpsters. Last week I recognized one of my beggars lying dead beside one of the dumpsters, run over by a passing car. I hesitate to feed them as they will depend on me and then I will leave. One kitten with a long snout and bushy tail resembles a small fox; I’m tempted to tame and adopt.

When my sons and I arrived here from the city in February a week after Sami’s death the almond trees were in full bloom. The blooms are gone now and almonds encased in their fuzzy spring green cocoons hang from the trees. The wild cyclamens that covered the ground in front of the house are fading. The space is colored by red wild poppies intermingled by blooms of blue that resemble wild asters. Yellow flowers crowd most of the space and dance in the spring breeze, their exuberance matched by the brightness of their color. Interspersed throughout the plant life are ancient stones jutting two to three feet from the ground. The stone outcroppings are loaded with fossils created a million years ago when the area was under the sea. The family has used many of the stone fossils to build terraces for planting flowers around the old stone house that was built by Cidi (grandfather) sixty years ago. Not far up the incline from my house are the ruins of Saul, a town mentioned in the Old Testament.

A young neighbor, Naseer, spent an hour with me last evening, updating my computer and sharing the plans he has for turning the forest beyond the village into a public park. The trees in the forest were planted by my father-in-law, when he worked as a forester for the British Mandate, during the thirties and forties. A lovely stone fence borders the road leading up the mountain and into the village and the forest beyond. Sami supervised the building of it when he was in high school back in the forties. It’s now in danger of being removed to widen the road to make space for the hundreds of people who drive up this mountain on the weekends to picnic and enjoy the beauty of the place. I discussed with Naseer charging these visitors enough money to finance cutting a new road farther down the slope to save the fence. He agreed and said if people would pay; it would finance building the park and would provide jobs for some of the young people of the village. If the activities of the visitors were supervised they might behave better. They’ve been found cutting down trees and they litter the forest with trash.

Heba, an eighteen year old sister of the five year old charmer, cleaned house for Sami while he was ill. She came by this afternoon with another sister to return laundry she had taken to her house yesterday to wash. Her stocky build and firm square jaw speak of her dependability and I wasn’t surprised when she told me she enjoys housecleaning. I’m glad to see the dangling silver earrings I gave her add to her charm. Playful, they have softened her sturdy face. She refuses to take any pay, seems insulted at the suggestion, so I’ve been generous with gifts. She’s a storehouse of useful information for me. I showed her today where I was having a problem with a leak in the bathroom. She told me immediately who I must call for help. Her English is rudimentary. I’m helping her with new English words while she teaches me a few new Arabic ones each day. I’m learning slowly. Though I enjoy learning new words, I’ve decided I don’t have a talent for languages. Maybe time and persistence will give me an adequate vocabulary. I hope.
I’m certainly practicing the simplicity of my Quaker brethren. I came with only the 140 pounds of luggage allowed by the airlines, much of which was used for gifts. I’ve discovered the advantages of living simply. My one concession to extravagance has always been my wardrobe as I enjoy beautiful clothes. Now I have a few changes of everyday sports clothes, two dress-up outfits for weddings and funerals, a denim jacket and a dressier coat, three pairs of shoes, pajamas and underclothes and nothing more. I’ve found a sparser wardrobe is easier to care for and I don’t waste time deciding what to wear for the day. In the past my protein has mostly been chicken and fish. Fish is hard to find and chickens are scarce since the Avian flu scare announced from Israel last week. I’ve ceased eating eggs. The goats raised on the farm supply me with goat cheese. That and some veggie burgers I found at the supermarket in the nearby town are my sources of protein. A vegetable peddler comes to the village daily in his truck so I have a steady supply of fresh vegetables and fruits. I buy yogurt and milk from the grocer in a nearby town as I find the flavor of the goat yogurt and milk too strong for my taste. Tomorrow I’ll go into the city where I can buy whole wheat bread from a grocer. I like pita but not as my only source of bread. Though mayonnaise is available I’ve found yogurt makes a good substitute and is healthier. I’ll buy mustard and catsup tomorrow and perhaps some ground beef. I find that I anticipate eagerly my weekly shopping excursions. I’m learning first the Arabic words for different foods and fee? (Do you have?) was the first question I learned to ask.
I’m tempted to retire to this house in the village. My sons and I own it now. My money is adequate to live on here and would provide me with a trip back to the states at least once per year. Though I would miss my grandson, the granddaughters live so far away I rarely see them anyway. Before they returned to the states, both sons spoke of traveling here in the summers with their families for vacations, but I doubt if it will happen often. The quiet peace of this place encourages me to write, sketch, and catch up with all the things I planned to do in a hectic, hurried life that interfered with my best intentions. The village is very safe and I’m treated like a star as they’ve never had anyone of my background living among them before. Before he died, Sami said it’s unimaginable to them that an estranged wife would travel all the way from the US to care for an old sick man. That surprised me as I find them to be more generous and hospitable than westerners.
I plan while in the city tomorrow to buy a microphone for my computer so I can make international calls through it at a much cheaper rate than by phone. I miss my friends but the world is truly a global village. With the Internet, I’m still in touch with everyone. Once I have the microphone, I can speak for free with anyone in the US who is willing to download the web page and buy a microphone. I’ll have the whole world available to me from my little house in the village where I am familiar with the cycle of life in dramatic and intimate ways.
This Shangri La, this heaven exists in the midst of a hell created by the Israeli occupation. I listen daily to stories of the cruelty meted out by the Israelis to the inhabitants of this land they continue to occupy and steal. Neighbors of mine, the village muktar, and his wife had a quarrel with their teenage son last week concerning his study habits. He left the house angry and threw rocks at a nearby settlement, a settlement built on land stolen from his village neighbors. The settlers arrested him, and then went to the family home to threaten further arrests and the destruction of their home if another family member throws a rock. They forbade the parents to see their son for three months. If the Israelis follow their usual policy the boy will be tortured and remain incarcerated for three years.
Muhammad, the keeper of the goats at the family farm, must walk from his village and cross the valley near the settlement to arrive here. The settlers often stop him and force him to sit in the hot sun for hours before letting him continue. This is done only because he is Palestinian.
My late brother-in-law, who grew up here and inhabited the village at various periods of his life, is buried now in the family plot. He died five years ago from bone cancer. When the physicians at the American hospital where he went for treatment x-rayed him they discovered every bone in his body had been broken. They hurried into his room to ask what had happened to him. What happened? In the sixties he led a strike against an Israeli employer. He was arrested, thrown into an Israeli prison and tortured to the point of near death. A brave and compassionate Israeli attorney, a woman, came to his rescue, represented him in court, and obtained his release.
I visited my sister-in-law, Jamilah, this past weekend. She told me stories of the incarceration of other Palestinians. Sickening stories! Soldiers take a cup, four or five of them spit into it, then force the prisoner to drink it; sometimes they urinate in the cup or on the prisoner. She spoke of a villager who in 2001 was painting a fence near the settlement. The settlers kidnapped him, cut out his eyes while he lived, murdered him, then threw his body under his house where his twelve year old daughter discovered him the next morning. Jamilah struggled to describe the composure of the young widow, the mother of five, as she received her visitors at the funeral. She became overcome and said she wished she had not remembered because now she would have trouble sleeping.

I, an American accustomed to freedom and security, explained to Naseer I was reluctant to spend money on renovation of my village house because the Israelis might take it from me and my money would be wasted. His reply was an incredulous, "But why?"
The villagers do not hesitate to remodel their homes. Tomorrow night I’m invited to the wedding celebration of a neighbor. I’m urged daily to come for tea by others. When I go for a walk a woman asks me to come in for candy to welcome the birth of a new baby. The mournful wail of the call to prayer interrupts the village quiet five times a day. The majority of the people continue to celebrate their weddings, pray to their God, educate their children, care for their neighbors, and have their babies while they practice passive nonresistance. The American newspapers continue to emphasize only the suicide bombers.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

The American tax payers give these people $5 billion a year!!!

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

A reprint from The Huffington Post emailed to me by a friend.

The Return of Benjamin Netanyahu

By Mustafa Barghouthi

February 26 , 2009

The return of Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party does not bode well for the prospects for a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. Throughout his campaign, the cornerstone of Netanyahu's policy toward the 'Palestinian Question' suggests an intention to deepen the conflict rather than solve it.

Netanyahu has stated repeatedly that he does not want to get tangled up in 'final status issues' -- the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, the rights of Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem, Jewish settlements in the West Bank and water rights. These issues form the core of what must be negotiated between Palestinians and Israelis. Yet the man most likely to become Israel's next Prime Minister does not want to discuss them.

Instead, his plan for the 'economic development' of the Palestinian Territories is a euphemism for intensifying the Apartheid regime that exists there. Rather than move toward the solution that the majority of Palestinians, the United States and the international community embraces -- an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel -- Netanyahu would have the West Bank divided into disconnected Bantustans. Palestinians would be given "business projects" as compensation for the self-determination Israel has denied them for more than four decades.

Netanyahu wants to better accommodate life under occupation, not lift the occupation itself, in the hopes of pacifying Palestinians' desire for freedom and our demand for the recognition of our most basic human rights.

This has been tried many times in the past. It has always failed. A process with no prospects for peace, as was Annapolis under Olmert, is no different to Palestinians than no process and no prospects for peace under Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has also clearly stated that the occupation of Palestinian lands will increase rather than decrease during his tenure. He has promised not to build any new settlements, but to allow for the 'natural' expansion of existing ones -- so as not to 'choke them'.

According to international law, and a number of Israeli human rights organizations, there has been nothing 'natural' about settlement growth from the beginning. The population of settlements over the last two decades has grown at an average of 4-6% annually in sharp contrast to Israeli society as a whole at 1.5%. In 2008, during the ongoing Annapolis 'Peace' Process and amidst condemnation from the United States, settlement construction in the West Bank increased by 30%. If settlements continue to grow as 'naturally' as this, they will soon devour the entirety of the West Bank.

Furthermore, it is not only the settlements which constitute the occupation. By themselves, the settlers consume only 3% of the West Bank; however, the public utility and military infrastructures which unite them to the state of Israel consume over 40%. Total control of our borders and economy is compounded by 700 checkpoints and movement restrictions, a race-based regime of roads and tunnels, a massive cement Wall and barrier which is twice the length of our internationally recognized border and built almost entirely inside the West Bank, and on top of this, we play host to nearly half a million hostile ideologues who consume 80% of our water resources.

Netanyahu seems only too eager to continue 'managing' the conflict long enough to pass it onto our children and grandchildren. However, given the make-up of his likely coalition, he may not have a choice in the matter anyway.

Far-right parties such as Shas and Yisrael Beitenu have gained more strength proportionally in these elections than Likud and will surely be part of the new coalition. They call for more than 'management' of the status quo and a refusal to negotiate a solution; they offer extreme measures of their own - solutions which would be marginalized in any modern democracy. These include more disproportionate violence aimed at 'teaching Palestinians to respect their masters', more institutionalized racism within the 1948 borders, more settlements and even full-scale population transfers - a more palatable expression for ethnic cleansing.

These parties have proven their ability to collapse a government if any meaningful negotiations with Palestinians are to take place and will most likely maintain that pledge with an increased mandate in any new governing coalition.

In sum: meaningful negotiations may not even be feasible on the Israeli side; and if they are, the 'offer' from Israel will most certainly be unacceptable to any Palestinian leadership interested in viable statehood. The status quo of 'occupation with no end in sight' looks set to continue into the foreseeable future.

The result of this election will not bring us closer to a one or two-state solution; it will bring us no solution. And if we continue down this path much longer, 'no solution' will manifest itself in the death of the two-state dream and continued Apartheid for the Palestinian people.

Mustafa Barghouthi is the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI). The opinions expressed here are his own and can be found regularly at

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 11:09:10 -0500
Subject: Jesus as understood by Muslims and Christians

I thought this message might hearten many of us. I received it from a
Muslim friend.

Greetings of Peace and Joy to all my Christian friends on these very
joyous days for the Christiandom worldwide. I did think of getting
each of you a more personal and tangible gift; but after a look at the
list, the numbers and my wallet I realized that a bailout would have
been necessary. However, since I don't think I'll qualify for it, then
the next best thing I can give you is this essay from one of members at
ADAMS. Ibrahim is my best friend's husband, and I have known him for
over a decade. So I can tell you, with direct knowledge, that these
words are very heartfelt. With his words he gives a voice to the
feelings of millions and millions of Muslims in this country. So,
without further ado, here's the essay:

Love for Jesus Can Bring Christians, Muslims TogetherBy Ibrahim Hooper

"Behold! The angels said: 'O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a
Word from Him. His name will be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, held in
honor in this world and the Hereafter and in (the company of) those
nearest to God.'"

Before searching for this quote in the New Testament, you might first
ask your Muslim co-worker, friend or neighbor for a copy of the Qur'an,
Islam's revealed text. The quote is from verse 45 of chapter 3 in the
Qur'an. It is well known, particularly in this holiday season, that
Christians follow the teachings of Jesus. What is less well understood
is that Muslims also love and revere Jesus as one of God's greatest
messengers to mankind.

Other verses in the Qur'an, regarded by Muslims as the direct Word of
God, state that Jesus was strengthened with the "Holy Spirit" (2:87)
and is a "sign for the whole world." (21:91) His virgin birth was
confirmed when Mary is quoted as asking: "How can I have a son when no
man has ever touched me?" (3:47)
The Qur'an shows Jesus speaking from the cradle and, with God's
permission, curing lepers and the blind. (5:110) God also states in the
Qur'an: "We gave (Jesus) the Gospel (Injeel) and put compassion and
mercy into the hearts of his followers." (57:27) As forces of hate in
this country and worldwide try to pull Muslims and Christians apart, we
are in desperate need of a unifying force that can bridge the widening
gap of interfaith misunderstanding and mistrust. That force could be
the message of love, peace and forgiveness taught by Jesus and accepted
by followers of both faiths.

Christians and Muslims would do well to consider another verse in the
Qur'an reaffirming God's eternal message of spiritual unity: "Say ye:
'We believe in God and the revelation given to us and to Abraham,
Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and
Jesus, and that given to (all) Prophets from their Lord. We make no
distinction between any of them, and it is unto Him that we surrender
ourselves.'" (2:136)

The Prophet Muhammad himself sought to erase any distinctions between
the message he taught and that taught by Jesus, who he called God's
"Spirit and Word." Prophet Muhammad said: "Both in this world and in
the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all people to Jesus, the son of
Mary. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different,
but their religion is one."

When Muslims mention the Prophet Muhammad, they always add the phrase
"peace be upon him." Christians may be surprised to learn that the same
phrase always follows a Muslim's mention of Jesus, or that we believe
Jesus will return to earth in the last days before the final judgment.
Disrespect toward Jesus, as we have seen all too often in our society,
is very offensive to Muslims. Unfortunately, violent events and
hate-filled rhetoric around the world provide ample opportunity for
promoting religious hostility. And yes, Muslims and Christians do have
some differing perspectives on Jesus' life and teachings. But his
spiritual legacy offers an alternative opportunity for people of faith
to recognize their shared religious heritage.

America's Muslim community stands ready to honor that legacy by
building bridges of interfaith understanding and challenging those who
would divide our nation along religious or ethnic lines. We have more
in common than we think.

[Ibrahim Hooper is National Communications Director for the
Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the
nation's largest Muslim civil liberties group. He may be contacted at:
mailto: ihooper@cair. com ]

With my best and purest love,



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Monday, November 17, 2008

Is Rahm Emmanuel really a dual American and Israeli citizen?

Text of an email received from James Zogby,founder and president,of The Arab American Institute.

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 16:21:42 -0500
To: Bronwin Peel"
From: "James Zogby"
Subject: Washington Watch: Lessons That Should Be Learned
Washington Watch

November 17, 2008

Lessons That Should Be Learned

by Dr. James J. Zogby (c)

On November 5th, my office sent an email to tens of thousands of our members and contacts congratulating President-elect Barack Obama. In our message, we noted the historic transformation his victory represented and commended the thousands of Arab Americans who participated in this winning campaign.

The initial and near universal response was heartwarming, with many sharing moving anecdotes of their campaign experiences, their reactions to the victory, and their hopes for change.

One day and one announcement later, the tide turned.

With the naming of Congressman Rahm Emanuel as Obama's White House Chief of Staff, the euphoria of some, not all, turned to despair. The emails and calls to my office were both troubled and troubling because much of the reaction was based on misinformation and because of what the entire episode revealed about the larger political dynamics involved.

First, the facts.

Rahm Emanuel is a brilliant strategist and a practitioner of hard-ball politics who in campaigns, his time in the Clinton White House, and more recently in Congress has demonstrated that he knows how to get a job done. Because there will be critical legislation the President-elect will need to move through Congress, from an economic recovery package and health care reform to a comprehensive approach to alternative energy, Obama has tapped Emanuel for his proven political skills. It is that simple.

This, of course, was neither the content nor the concerns raised by the emails I received. Some charged that Emanuel was an Israeli citizen or a dual U.S.-Israeli national (he is neither, he was born in Chicago in 1959); or, they alleged that he served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and lost his finger confronting a Syrian tank during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon (he did not serve in the IDF, and lost his finger in a freak accident while working as a teenager in an Arby's restaurant). A few accused Emanuel of skipping U.S. military service to join the IDF in 1991 (also not true - in the midst of the 1991 Gulf War, while U.S. forces were manning Patriot missile batteries in Israel and the Arab Gulf, Emanuel volunteered for a few weeks, as a civilian, doing maintenance on Israeli vehicles). The most recent story alleges that Rahm Emanuel was fired from the White House in 1998 after being implicated by the FBI, together with Monica Lewinsky, in a Mossad plot to spy on then-President Clinton (a total fabrication, compliments of a shady character who claims to have been a U.S. intelligence official and is a purveyor of many bizarre tales).

That stories such as these have been circulating, and have taken hold, is as reprehensible as the "Barack Obama is a secret Muslim/Manchurian candidate" tale, or the anti-Arab anti-Muslim canards to which I and many of my colleagues have been subjected over the years.

Putting aside the fiction or, more accurately, the slanderous myths, the truth is that Emanuel is an effective leader in Congress. He is a strong supporter of Israel. But then, how many members of Congress are not?

Emanuel is Jewish and his father is an Israeli. Arab Americans should be especially sensitive to attacks on anyone based on religion or ethnicity. He has worked closely with and is liked by the Arab American Members of Congress from both parties, and he was the architect of the 1993 White House lawn signing ceremony for the Oslo Accords that brought Arab Americans and American Jews together. When, in 1994, Rahm accepted my invitation to a luncheon with Arab American community leaders, those who met him were impressed by his openness and honesty.

Beyond these facts, however, there are two concerns that must be addressed.

It is deeply troubling how quickly, for some, the excitement of Barack Obama's victory was eclipsed by cynicism and suspicion, and how receptive some were to wild tales. This could only occur, on one level, because the victory itself was not understood. If it had been, the excitement would have been tempered by an appreciation of political realities.

Obama's victory, no doubt, demonstrated that change is possible - but incremental change. Pressures remain, from the right and the left as well as the interest groups of all sorts that continue to have influence, limiting political options. The economy is in free-fall and, after eight years of Bush neglect and recklessness, dangers abound in the world. An Obama victory doesn't alter those realities. And so our excitement was justified, but our euphoria should never have taken us so high as to lose our grounding and understanding of the limits of what is possible.

My concern is that, for some, the need for change became so great as to make them susceptible to wild swings - from unrealistic expectations to unwarranted despair and, therefore, to become prone to believe the worst.

But the fault here should be shared. I am concerned by the slowness of the Obama camp to respond more quickly or effectively to address the situation. Modern political operations have learned the need to confront false stories, to manage perception, and to anticipate problems -- and, here, the Obama team had been especially masterful.

During the campaign, for example, they repeatedly demonstrated how tuned-in they were to public perception - and in particular to matters that might have created discomfort in the Jewish community. They knew that these stories needed to be shot down quickly. (American Muslims understood much of this, despite feeling slighted, at times.) But in this most recent instance, the Obama camp displayed both inattentiveness and tone-deafness to Arab misperceptions about who Rahm Emanuel is, and what role he will play. (Aside from the flap over the comments made by Rahm's father, for which Rahm, himself, has now profoundly apologized.) As a result, the situation festered.

The campaign is now over, and the President-elect is playing on a world stage with more than one audience at stake. And in the Middle East, especially, sensitivities are as great and (perceived) sleights are felt as acutely as they are among any people in the world. With feelings having been rubbed raw by decades of U.S. policy miscues, with U.S. favorability ratings at all-time lows, and with extremists preying off resentment and fear - perceptions matter.

If we are to succeed in making changes in U.S.-Arab relations - and I believe that an Obama Administration can - greater attentiveness and sensitivity is in order.

Bottom line - there are lessons to learn and work to be done. Arabs and Arab Americans need to ground their expectations in political realities and be wary of slanderous attacks smacking of anti-Semitism, and U.S. political leadership must learn to be as attentive to Arab sensitivities as they are to the concerns of others.

Washington Watch is a weekly column written by AAI President James Zogby. The views expressed within this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Arab American Institute. We invite you to share your views on the topics addressed within Dr. Zogby's weekly Washington Watch by emailing

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dear Readers:
Three months ago I had major surgery, a total knee replacement, and have just now returned to my BLOG. My apologies for my absence. I'm feeling much better though have not fully regained my stamina.

What an exciting week we've just lived through. I thought you might enjoy the following communiation I've had with a friend of mine from England regarding Obama's election.


I wrote my friend that this week because of this presidential election I have felt prouder of being an American than I can ever remember feeling. Following is her reply:

> Dearest Bronwin,
> And you should feel proud - it is absolutely
> fantastic and brought tears to
> my eyes all day yesterday.
> I was working at home so had the TV on in the
> background - everyone in the
> UK is absolutely thrilled.
> One of the things that touched me most was seeing
> people queuing up to vote
> with pictures of their dead relatives (Mothers,
> Fathers), in order to take
> them to vote on this historic day.
> America has not had good press in the last few
> years, but it must be a truly
> great country to have achieved this. I read somewhere
> that in a generation
> its changed - in Virginia when Obama was little it
> was illegal for his parents
> of mixed race to marry - to being the President of
> the USA. That is
> something. You should rightly be proud.
> I was up and up all day yesterday and footage on the
> telly showed that
> everyone was so happy in the States and almost a
> wave of euphoria. We stayed up
> till about 11.45 pm on Tuesday night, but results
> not really in here till
> early Wednesday morning.
> What's the reaction in your neighbourhood?
> Anyway, will stay in touch
> All my love
> Kathy xx

I'm isolated on a fifty acre horse farm so don't know
my neighbors. At the Senior Center I have made friends
with a couple from Ramallah. They are thrilled. My
housemate voted for Obama, but the only emotion he
ever shows is anger, so I don't know how he feels. I
belong to the Arab American Institute and worked with
them to encourage people to vote. I was invited to a
big victory party held at a local Hilton hotel but I
still lack stamina because of the knee surgery so I
didn't go. It was held late.

My first cousin back in Alabama told me months ago
that she didn't trust Obama. I know it is because of
the color of his skin. She has two biracial great
grandchildren and she told her granddaughter, the
mother, that she must never return to that town with
"those children".

I loved my father but he was a rabid racist,
absolutely hated blacks for no cause. One of his
grandmothers grew up on a 3,000 acre plantation in
Alabama where the family owned many slaves. I never knew that
until about five years ago.

I can remember as a child in Alabama walking on a
sidewalk toward a black man. When he saw me he
immediately stepped off the sidewalk and bowed his
head until I had passed. Behavior like that was
typical then. To save their hides blacks always
groveled before whites. Even as a child it made me
very uncomfortable. Once when a car of blacks passed
us on the road the black children and I waved at each
other. My father became livid and told me if he ever
saw me wave at a black again he would beat me until I
couldn't sit for a week. Actually he used the "N" word.

When Sami and I married my father flew home from
California where he lived to hire an attorney to annul
the marriage. The law in Alabama at that time forbade
whites from marrying Asians as well as blacks. The
attorney talked him out of it.

What has occurred encourages me about the Israeli
Palestinian issue. There are now more Arabs in the US
than Jews. The young ones are organizing. If the
blacks achieved this, the Palestinians can turn things
around also.

Stay in touch.


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Monday, July 21, 2008

The following email just arrived from a friend of mine.

Subject: FW: Israeli soldier filmed shooting Palestinian

Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 18:43:27 -0400
Israel---Bastion of democracy in the Middle EAst!!! so sayeth Fox News and our President.

Subject: Israeli soldier filmed shooting Palestinian
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 03:02:34 -0400
Please copy and paste the following to read and see story in full:

An Israeli human rights group has released graphic video footage obtained during clashes between Israeli troops and demonstrators protesting against the separation barrier on the West Bank.
The video has sparked outrage, as it shows what appears to be an Israeli soldier shooting a Palestinian at close range.
Watch the Video:

More Information:


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