April 27, 2006

An Egyptian's drive to Israel

Josh Scholar posts a great link on Michael Totten's blog. It's a translated except from Ali Salem's A Drive to Israel:

In 1994, after the signing of the Oslo accords, Ali Salem did the unthinkable. He hopped in his 14-year-old Soviet-made car and drove across the Sinai into Israel. He spent over three weeks in the country, touring and meeting Israelis from all walks of life. On his return, he published a book, A Drive to Israel, which sold over 60,000 copies—a runaway bestseller by Egyptian standards.

It is very interesting to read him report on some things that I take for granted:

The most interesting point is that the young boy, in that brief moment after a driver told him he didn’t agree with the slogan, didn’t feel angry or frustrated. Instead he quickly moved on to another car. He didn’t scream: "You creep, why don’t you agree? … You must be an agent of the Syrians and the Arabs."

We must focus on this point in raising our children. It is a person’s right to hold differing views and ideas, as long as he doesn’t espouse violence or aggression. Let ideas do combat with each other, theory against theory, for the benefit of the nation.

Public debates here are not confined to the offices of political parties or newspaper columns. You see them transformed into banners held by groups of young men and women on street corners. Sometimes you find a demonstration of two persons carrying a banner announcing their joint political position. There is a well-known group that stands on a certain street corner in Jerusalem wearing black clothes and holding signs saying: "Leave the West Bank … Leave the Golan … Leave Gaza."

You’ll find another group in the middle of Jerusalem raising signs saying: "The West Bank begins here," meaning that if we vacate the West Bank, we’ll wind up withdrawing even from Jerusalem.

And this fine piece of sarcasm:

My mind turned to the topic of the Israeli cultural invasion of Egypt...

"Oh, what a wretched, helpless victim am I! How can I protect myself from this invasion? What should I do to confront these lethal weapons?"

"Don’t speak with them, listen to them, or read them. Convince yourself that they don’t exist. Imagine that Israel is the temptress of the folk tales, the voice of seduction luring you to desire and destruction, the siren of Greek mythology and of the Thousand and One Nights. She sings a captivating song, she possesses an enchanting voice that will lure you away and drag you to the bottom of the Nile. Plug your ears and become deaf. While you’re at it, blind your eyes too, since a nuclear film or something like it could invade you … "

"Okay, I’ll plug my ears and blind my eyes to protect me from the cultural invasion."

"But this isn’t enough, my friend! They’ll attack with advanced new weapons capable of penetrating your mind without passing through your ears or eyes."

"Oh, what a lost soul am I! How can I possibly protect my mind?"

"Shut it, shut down your mind. That’s the solution."

"Okay, I’ve closed it."

"Now your ears are plugged, your eyes are closed and your mind is shut. Praise the Lord! You’re saved—from the Israeli cultural invasion. Now you are safe and secure in your own heritage, in your national and ethnic culture."

Posted by David Boxenhorn at April 27, 2006 12:27 PM | TrackBacks
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