Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

Having my cynicism defied

It’s easy to be cynical about claims that travel encourages tolerance and breaks down prejudice. It’s particularly easy in Palestine to be dubious about the idea that ‘sustainable tourism’ can help to bring about peace and justice in the face of military occupation and the constant threat of military closures or incursions. But sometimes it’s good to have your cynicism thrown back at you. Today I got an email back from a veteran Palestinian tour guide whose contact details I was confirming for the guidebook, and he had this to say:

[I hope your guidebook will] promote, attract and contribute to bridging, connecting and leading to more understanding between the cultures and human family. I lived this minute by minute while doing my duty as a tour guide and this feeling was very alive while walking in the mountains along Masar Ibrahim/Abraham’s Path or other trails with different groups from different backgrounds from all over the world. Walking side by side not face to face… walking shoulder touching the other shoulder, taking care of your group and your group as well. Sharing our snacks, water, memories, childhood stories, hopes, desires and dreams. Sharing a shade of an old olive tree in the stunning terraces… walking and talking. Then borders melted, the stereotype CHANGE…

I found that extremely moving. Sometimes it’s nice to have your scepticism defied.

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2 comments on “Having my cynicism defied

  1. Mark Bernadiner
    February 22, 2011

    hstry of “plstnns”:

    rb ldr n By bdl-Hd told th Pl Cmmssn in 1937: “Thr s n sch cntry s ‘Plstn’; ‘Plstn’ is trm th Znsts nvntd!”
    n 1946, rb hstrn Phlp Htt tstfd bfr the ngl-mrcn Cmmtt f nqry tht “thr s n sch thng s Plstn n hstry.”
    n 1947, rb ldrs prtstng th UN prttn pln rgd tht Plstn ws prt f Syr nd “pltclly, th rbs f Plstn (wr) nt (n) ndpndnt sprt … pltcl ntty.”
    n xctv cmmtt mmbr f th PL hr Mhsn cnfrmd tht thr is n sch thng s sprt “plstnn” ppl f rb dscnt. n n ntrvw wth th Dtch nwsppr Trw n Mrch 31, 1977, h sttd th fllwng:
    “The palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.
    n rlty tdy thr s n dffrnc btwn Jrdnns, plstnns, Syrns nd Lbns. nly fr pltcl nd tctcl rsns d w spk tdy bt th xstnc of plstnn ppl, snc rb ntnl ntrsts dmnd tht w pst th xstnc f dstnct “plstnn ppl” t pps Znsm.”
    Wh “plstnns” re: gng f gntc thvs wh stl thncty, hstry, lnd, nd ntrl rsrcs; mrdrrs wh klld thsnds f mricns, rpns, nd Isrls; nd pthlgcl lrs. Thy hv cls ts t Htlr, Nz nd SS; nvntd nd mplmntd thnc clnsng fr thsnds f yrs nd Hlcst n 1920s-30s-40s.
    “Plstnns” hv n plc n hmn scty, tht s why n mslm cntry wld lk t hv thm.
    Wh bbs s: fk prsdnt f th fk nd nvr xstd cntry nd fr fk-thncty ppl; gntc thf, pthlgcl lr nd mrdrr; KGB pppt; Nz nd SS dscndnt; Hlcst dnr.
    Death to this piece of Islamic shit abbas. Death to islamofascist organizations of Fateh and PLO.

    • Sarah Irving
      November 4, 2011

      This is an example of disemvowelling, a technique for dealing with troll comments – in this case by a particularly psycho Zionist (I’ve left the final 2 sentences intact as an example of quite how psycho). It was quite fun to implement, although it is a little laborious so I won’t be making a habit of it.

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