Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
There's a big bright sun over Amman. And I have a fantastic roof. Sun + roof = sitting outside soaking it up, reading the newspaper. Not in the Middle East, not in Amman. I went up with my paper and sunglasses, debated whether I could take my shirt off at least through the cartoon section and let my skin photosynthesize that vitamin D and soak up natural anti-depressant.
I have a dream, that one day in Jabal Weibda, man will be able to read his newspaper shirtless on his roof without feeling like he's in the nude on Broadway.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
1. I just saw George Bush on TV. I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying, because I just noticed how much he looks more and more like my grandmother. Seriously. It's disturbing.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
1. I was re-reading the short text by Kant: "What is enlightenment ?". Always a pleasure.
Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why a great proportion of men, long after having reached the age of maturity, gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their "guardians".
It is easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, I need not exert myself at all. Others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (especially women) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult.
Having first made their livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the cart to which they are harnessed, these "guardians" then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts."
I was glad to learn that Barack Obama won t
he nomination of the Democratic party. After all, this long fight against Hillary yielded a lot of exposure, and also toughened him for the fight to come with McCain, so in the end it was a good thing.
3. Even when the sun shines in Europe, it's never as much of a sun as the one in the Middle East. Actually, I doubt it's even the same. I'm glad to feel its rays back on me again.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Should I apply my reason only to things confined to my country of citizenship, or do I have the right to observe, study, and build a reasonable informed opinion on things related to the rest of the world ?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
In a world where nations and peoples increasingly intermingle and intermarry at will; where cultural and national impediments to communication have all but collapsed; where more and more of us have multiple elective identities and would feel falsely constrained if we had to answer to just one of them; in such a world Israel is truly an anachronism. And not just an anachronism but a dysfunctional one. In today's "clash of cultures" between open, pluralist democracies and belligerently intolerant, faith-driven ethno-states, Israel actually risks falling into the wrong camp." (see full article)
Tony Judt is, might I add, Jewish. Like many other Jews, he questions this philosophy of mixing ethnicity and State, as clearly a notion of the infamous past. Other Jews who think like this include Ilan Pappe, Jeff Halper, Rony Brauman and others. Google their names + "One State Solution" and you'll get plenty more references.
Since it's Israel's birthday, I mention only the Israelis who question the ethnic principle, but of course plenty of Palestinians also think the same, starting with the late Edward Said.
So there is hope. You can see it, for example, in Galilee - where Jews and Arabs live in a region relatively free from state interference. I saw the other day a BBC report on the city of Jaffa, where Jews and Arabs have always and still live together, in stability. Jaffa is not particularly exceptional, this situation can be repeated everywhere.
I also meet more and more Jews and Palestinians (Christian and Muslims) who see in this option a better way to achieve stability, long-term security, and economic prosperity.
One State Solution means a secular state, with clear separation of religion and politics, under the protection of the UN and the US, that would protect and guarantee the rights of Jews and Arabs, equally, that would actively mix them in schools, and develop the poorest parts of the country (Gaza), like the reconciliation process did in South Africa.
What about past grievances ? Already a number of Palestinian and Israeli historians started working together to achieve a common narrative for the history of this land. In his book, Ambassador Dennis Ross, chief US negociator during the Oslo process, argued that "the problem was the differing narratives of the two sides and the failure to reconcile the conflicting perspectives". Re-writing a common history book for both sides is one of the tools of engineering a reconciliation process.
Some have said that Israel is reproducing South African apartheid, so indeed there is hope. What South Africa did 15 years ago, ending the apartheid and starting a process of peace and reconciliation within ONE single state, seemed almost impossible at the time. Yet they did it, and although South Africa is not home yet, the violence of the 80's is long gone, and it's the most vibrant economy on the continent. It has a Black President, and the Blacks did not start killing the Whites frantically.
Many Jewish organizations are not happy with the state of things (to mention a few: “Rabbis for Human Rights”, "Israeli Human Rights Group", "Israeli Peace Group", "Fellowship of Reconciliation", etc). Hava Keller, an old grandmother who was once an Israeli soldier, now speaks for Palestinians, much like White activists were advocating for Blacks' rights in South Africa. There's hope. Check Yesh Gvul, that group of Israeli soldiers who protest against their army.
This anniversary is the oportunity to say "Israel is not home yet. Maybe it was wrong of the UN to create it that way 60 years ago. Let's not deny Israel its right to exist, but let's give it the chance to become, at last, a modern, open democracy, with equal rights for all, so that Jews and Palestinians can live in peace together on the same, undivided land."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Many people infantilize traditional societies, like those performing Honor killings and FGM, with a demagogic, twisted discourse based on a terribly wrong interpretation of Max Weber's famous "axiologic neutrality", and a misuse of the word Respect.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
- I certainly do not. Please be specific. At an administrative level, being French means I hold a French passport, which I do. At a philosophical level, being French means to want to live in a certain culture, which I do too. We happen to be a diverse nation, with blonds, brunettes, tall, short, etc. So, again, please be specific and I would be very interested if you could define, in your opinion, what constitutes a "French".
- Er... Very well, what is your religion ?"
- Oh but wait! Wait!...
I raised my hands to my head and closed my eyes
- What is happening to me?... I... I... I feel I'm about to convert. Yes! I just converted to being a Buddhist. Ok, scratch that religion line from before: I'm a Buddhist now. Let's hurry, I'm not sure how long it'll last.
- ... But you dais your grandfather is jewish.
- (sigh) Yeah
- So if you're Jewish, why didn't you immigrate into Israel ?"