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August 06, 2004

Hooray For Everyone

In one of Edward Said's books -- I think it's Oslo and After -- he tells a story about trying to arrange a meeting in England between some up and coming youth from the PLO and representatives from the ANC. The idea was that the PLO could learn from the ANC about to how to conduct a successful international political campaign. But the youngsters from the PLO weren't interested. Said writes that they scornfully told him: "We are not blacks."

OUTSTANDING!!! I believe this could be rephrased in many ways and mean the same thing. For instance, the youthful PLO members could have told Said:

1. "We are not intelligent."
2. "We are not people who actually want to win."
3. "We are not capable of perceiving the world around us."

I was reminded of this when I read this interesting article about the new South African ambassador to Israel (via The Head Heeb). Not because it contains more wonderful statements like the one above, but just because the story of South Africa, the ANC, Israel and the Palestinians is a tangled and fascinating one that has never been fully told.

Just for instance, Israel apparently -- in an act of true genius -- helped apartheid South Africa with its nuclear weapons program during the seventies. Then South Africa turned around and sold Iraq some of its new nuclear weapons technology. I guess Israel's perspective had been: hey, if we can't trust a racist hate nation built on quasi-Nazi ideology, who can we trust?

Posted at August 6, 2004 01:03 PM | TrackBack