“And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.” Gulliver’s Travels
It’s been pretty low key days recently, I have a test next Wednesday so I’ve been attempting to memorize vocab, millions of vocab words. Though somehow studying yesterday with a classmate at a coffee shop ended up being one hour of testing vocab flash cards and two hours of smoking argileh and trying to figure out this logic game that our waiter gave us to solve (well, he bet us we couldn’t solve it, which of course meant that we had to prove him wrong… which we couldn’t).
It’s really interesting how informed and politically passionate even young people are here. I’m lucky to have had friends in DC who also are nerds and have long conversations about the meaning of life, etc, while out for a drink. Especially in DC, it’s a politically-charged locale, but worries about what you say ending up in the media or coming back to haunt you later often stifles certain discussions. And that is just not the case here. My roommate and I were out for drinks on Thursday night to celebrate the end of the week and the table next to us had three young guys, at least two of them internationals (and one definitely American – love how that accent sticks out here). Now, three young guys, Thursday night, beautiful weather, outdoor bar/patio… talking about the intifada, America in Afghanistan, Hamas-Fatah split, etc etc.
And that’s not the first time I’ve seen that happen here. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, people – young, old, male, female – are talking politics or the conversation inevitably is drawn to politics. After we got home that night, we then had another two hour discussion with a Palestinian on the feasibility of a one-state or two-state solution. Surprisingly, maybe for me because all that is discussed as viable in the US is the two-state solution, most Palestinians I’ve talked to have said the only solution they can picture is a one-state solution. If Palestine were given its own state, it would be too carved up territorially-wise to be a functioning state. I’m really looking forward to hearing more opinions and thoughts on this, as the negotiation talks wind up over the coming weeks and months.
So back to studying, though maybe a little side trip today to the Qalqilya zoo, the only zoo in Palestine!
And I leave you with a comic I found rather amusing: