JERUSALEM POST BLOG 13 – And the winner is…
I happily wore sandals today. Not exactly the stuff of red carpets, but they do afford a sense of liberty and ease that helps the imagination cling on to summer. In Belgium you don’t wear sandals in November. One of the perks of working in development, I guess.
And yet, in Ramallah too, winter will come. It always sneaks up on me with swift poise, faster than I have the good sense to don a thicker, artificial hide. With three months to go, it’ll be my third and last hibernation in Palestine. The unspectacular rains of Brussels, strange as it may sound, beckon. Time to prepare a closing ceremony.
Hope, Despair, and Cynicism. These are my official nominees, representing respectively the years 2005, 2006, and 2007. What a rollercoaster ride. Those three words, no more than a mouthful, loom, larger and simpler perhaps than the multi-faceted reality of Palestine permits. But hey, a rough grasp of current affairs shouldn’t be the prerogative of a glamorous handful.
Precious little glitter twirls from the ceiling in this award show. Halle Berry cancelled at the last minute. Instead we’ve probably seen more of Condoleezza Rice than health professionals consider safe. Israelis nor Palestinians like or trust her very much, which can only mean one thing; she must be doing something right. But enough with the politics. Time for a little background info on our contestants…
Please welcome our first nominee; Hope. Throughout the ages Hope has provided glossy entertainment for the poor and destitute. Hope is something I had a lot of as recently as three paragraphs ago when I still expected to be able to write a solemn tract on open footwear, without descending into geopolitics, or mentioning a notorious Russian-speaking concert-pianist with a penchant for muscle diplomacy. Hope has a fickle personality, both strong-armed and scrawny, at once part of the in-crowd, the shakers and movers, and as laughable as Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s settee to declare love for a woman sixteen years his junior. The fact that Hope hasn’t featured prominently in any recent world event will not play in its favor once the voting starts. Indeed, what has Hope done for us lately?
Now, ladies and gentlemen, please extend a warm hand for our second nominee; Despair. History records a slew of instances where Despair, rightly and without much competition, reigned supreme. We need but to recall the momentous “o-oh” authored by Scipio Africanus when Hannibal marched a thunder of elephants across the Alps, or that sinking feeling, turning so quickly to anger when Kanye West lost out at the Grammys. Sometimes it’s not enough to have the best army, or be the best rapper.
Sometimes the other guy has elephants. But Despair, like fear, is not a very good counselor. Please bear in mind, when you SMS your vote, that elephants too have a weak spot. Despair will not help you find it.
Ladies and gentlemen of the audience, viewers at home, allow me to introduce our third nominee; Cynicism. Cynicism couldn’t make it tonight. Cynicism, according to its spokesperson, had better things to do. Typical. Where was Cynicism when Martin Luther King proclaimed his famous vision, or when Sadat flew to Jerusalem? In Africa perhaps, using dirt-poor proxies to fight another man’s cold war. Cynicism could well hang above our heads as we speak, not like a sword of Damocles, but on an actual plane to Teheran for some freelance speechwriting.
Or does anybody really believe that Ahmedinejad gives a rodent’s derriere about the Palestinians? Cynicism does enjoy plane rides though. Tomorrow it’s joining fire and brimstone Christians -a Zionist’s best friend- on a rapture-cruise to the Holy Land. Hey, everyone’s free to choose their own palls. Cynicism doesn’t care who got Biggie, or who shot Tupac. Live by the gun, it seems to say.
While Palestinians and Israelis get ready to cast their vote in Anapolis, I for one haven’t decided yet. I wonder whether tomorrow it will still be warm enough to wear sandals. Speaking of which, how often does the male toe get to see a red carpet? And why should only women wear open shoes at award shows…
1 | Keith T, Tuesday Nov 06, 2007 A wonderful piece. Really good. Hope and then despair can lead to cynicism in the old, but anger in the young. And the young are in a majority in many Arab lands. Expect Iranian support and take cover!
2 | Julie, Tuesday Nov 06, 2007 Repeat this 10 times and then every day until you understand that THERE IS NO PALESTINE. THERE IS NO COUNTRY CALLED PALESTINE.
3 | Michael Dar, Tuesday Nov 06, 2007 Before going back to Belgium, (I hope for good!), I would love to ask Mr. Kenis (Kenis by the way is the Flemish for Knowledge!) what he in fact knows about the history of the Jewish people, the region, about the Arab-Israeli conflict..for I presume he was spoon-fed by so-called Palestinian propaganda..and must consequently miss tons of essential elements of the equation! I would love to challenge him! firstname.lastname@example.org
4 | MarkC, Tuesday Nov 06, 2007 Wow, this writer took a full ten paragraphs to reveal that he has absolutely nothing to say. And that has a thoroughly inept sense of humor. Is this really all you can come up with after three years in Ramallah? I imagine that your contribution at whatever NGO you were working for is as empty as this article.
5 | Nancy, Wednesday Nov 07, 2007 Maybe if they are in despair they should look to their own, chosen, leadership for the reason. They could have had peace years ago. They are pathetic and there is NO Palestine.
6 | Juliette, Wednesday Nov 07, 2007 The jewish people during the various holocausts they’ve been through in History never let themselves fall into despair and cynicism – they never passed the stage of Hope and are still hoping and so they never killed out od rage, jealousy and revenge like the arab people of the midlle east – a lesson for the Nations and their culture…choose the right leaders and educate your children to hope and build – not kill and take.