Saturday, October 10, 2009

The story that wasn't . . .

Friday afternoon I went to an event sponsored by Partners for Peace, an organization that, since 1989, "has sought to educate the American public about key issues in the effort to secure peace and justice among Palestinians and Israelis."

Two women who have lived the realities of the Palestinian conflict for much of their lives have come thousands of miles to invite us safe and secure Americans into their unsafe and insecure lives. Yesterday, at James Madison University's Memorial Hall, we heard from a Christian, Jala Basil Andoni (left) and a Jew, Ruth El-Raz (above, right). A Muslim woman, Hekmat Besisso was supposed to be traveling with them, but was inexplicably denied a visa.

Ms. Andoni and Ms. El-Raz did not talk about policy or history or religious differences. Instead they talked about the simple realities of Palestinian life inside the Green Line, of life behind a wall, often without adequate water or sewage and always--and this brought a laugh from their audience--without asparagus. It is just the kind of reality check we Americans, who love nothing better than debating foreign policy over our own out-of-season asparagus, need. It reminds us that ordinary people, like us, must suffer the consequences of distant others' decisions.

So why will you not hear about this on WMRA? Because there were technical difficulties with the event's sound system. Such bumps don't happen often, but when they do happen, there goes the story. So, I'm using this post first to say that I'm sorry I can't bring you this story on the radio. And then to ask you not to ignore the message these women bring with them, just because the messenger fails to deliver it to you in sound.

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