On the flight from Kiev to Palestine (aka Israel, the state organisation for zionist and jewish communities of Palestine) I sat next to a couple that told me they are just back from a “roots tour” in the Ukraine.
Roots tour, I asked surprised. What do you mean?
The obliged readily to explain. Explaining is an activity a fair few people seem to do enthusiastically in Palestine – regardless of their sectarian affiliation. ..And so I gathered that the grand parents of the couple sitting next to me in the Boing 747 immigrated before WW2 to Palestine. The couple were born in Palestine, one in Haifa, another in Jerusalem. However they took part in this roots tour to the Ukraine, based on where their grand parents were born.
This tour is an organised trip. ie, they were a part of a group, or groups that travel to countries where parents, grand parents, and even great grand parents, immigrated to Palestine from.
Given the dire social situation and inter sectarian violence that seem to stem from that immigration, I was a bit puzzled.
Hold on, what is meant by “roots” here? Didn’t your grand parents migration to Palestine come because they – and zionist communities – perceive Palestine as their roots? As a place they feel some special connection with in terms of where they actually “come from”?
This prompted smiles, hard to tell whether embarrassed ones or some sense of pity over me, and a further outpour of explanations to do with having to have a state to be safe at, and that the biblical link, in a sense, is rather handy.
I couldn’t believe my ears.
The couple next to me, essentially seem to say that despite being born in Palestine, in spite of the violence that seem to follow their grand parents migration to the middle east while claiming Palestine as their “historical” home from which their ancestors were expelled, and the seemingly civil people next to me accepting a future smeared with human blood to continue that homeland occupation there are these – their identity roots were from the Ukraine?
These people had a “historical home” based on biblical myths, questionable histories, and their dodgy interpretations – for which they are ready to kill, die and send their grand children for similar life ending missions.
Apart from this historical home, I was assured that each jewish and zionist community in Palestine had social, cultural and family roots based on where rather contemporary ancestors immigrated from.
Indeed, as far as life within the zionist and jewish communities in Palestine, these roots affiliations, such as from morocco, from russia, from france, etc. – formed sectarian affiliations. People are called sometimes by where their community immigrated from, moroccans, french, etc..
If they feel so strongly linked with what they call their respective country/area of origin, why do they stay in Palestine while depriving indigenous population of their homes? Indeed, why have their ancestors, parents or grand parents, immigrated to Palestine if they themselves were so eager to keep alive their cultural and social links with home countries – while claiming Palestine as their home?
Here I was surprised again. Rather than claiming some sort of similarity with other migrant populations, eg US based communities that following a fair few generations of being in america still live together based on country of “origin” and perceive that territory as a “root”, I was assured that their experience is very uniquely jewish. Something that only by living in the area/state/organisation called “israel” with a respective jewish community that has “roots” in some other land/country and culture, would I ever have a hope to understand that.
Curious, I thought, given the stated attempt and promise to “explain”. Mind, it kind of helped to end what turned to feel as an embarrassing conversation. If I can never understand according to these guys, then might as well read a book? Perhaps I have a better chance of getting to grips with art’s aesthetics according to gianni vatitimo’s art’s claim to truth?
in my opinion, the bigotry displayed in the conversation, the sense of self righteousness whatever the circumstances are and the right to alter stance at will according to self serving circumstances and perceptions – such as the question of roots and their meanings, as well as explaining abilities – is a thread that seem to cross sectarian divides in Palestine.
I wonder whether this bigotry has a link with the brutalisation of people in the area? Also wonder whether there is a term for bigotry in arabic and hebrew. It the hebrew case, I noticed the nearest terms are actually the words for a righteous person and one that keeps with their beliefs, respective friends and communities. Perhaps culturally a “bigot” in that area of the owrld is perceived as someone worth aspiring to be?
Another thing I could not figure out.. 😉