Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Palestinian Awareness Week

That's right, it's that happy time again- Palestinian Awareness Week on the U of C campus. I had never been aware that there was such a week, but why not? It also happens to be a "love your body" week, being pushed by the Hillel, so apparently there is no cause too silly to get a week of its own.
I'm not entirely sure how to relate to this week. Obviously, the tendancy is to simply ignore it, but careful Israel Advocacy training sessions (yes, our seminary actually had those) scream at me to do something. Not that it would do any good- in fact, it would just seem petty, vicious, and counter-productive. But still.
One of the events for the week is a speech, on the topic "Will the "Gaza disengagement" really lead to peace?" Now, this could go either way. In my fantasies, I suppose it would focus on the impossibility of peace in a country run and dominated by crazy terrorists. In my more bitter expectations, it focuses on Israel's continued this or that. (For some reason, I don't think the answer is simply yes. That tends to make for a short speech. Funny how that sort of thing always works out. Someday I should advertise a speech with a topic like "Can the disengagement really bring about peace", walk into the room, say "yup" and then wander back out. Not that I think that it can, or at least, is at all likely to. But I digress.) I must confess, I wonder about the quotation marks. What, is the term "Gaza disengagement" really a controversial one? In my somewhat limited experience, the people who weren't calling it that were calling it the transfer or the evacuation or the racial cleansing...
There are also various cultural shows, movies, etc, planned. One of them, a movie called Amo's children, is about some woman whose theater group "engaged children from Jenin, helping them to express their everyday frustrations, anger, bitterness and fear. Arna’s son Juliano, director of this film, was also one of the directors of Jenin’s theatre. He filmed the children during rehearsal periods from 1989 to 1996. Now, hegoes back to see what happened to them."
Again, it could be fascinating. It could be saccharine. It could be a lot of things. But it probably is going to be blaming all of that "frustration, anger, bitterness, and fear" on a certain someone, and I don't think that it's going to be Mr. Arafat, either.
Suddenly noticed tonight that in the background of the posters scattered around campus and the dorm is a map of Israel. The entire Israel, from sea to sea. Interesting, no? I'm not sure whether the week is to be aware of Palestinians, in which case I can see portraying them as living in the entire Israel, or of Palestine, in which case that really, really worries and frightens me. Not that there is anything I would do about it, per se.

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