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18 November 2009 @ 01:11 am
I was expecting my computer science problem set to take a few hours at least, like all the previous ones did, but suddenly I'm done after like...an hour and a half. 8D This means I should get started on my ODE problem set, since I have a million and one other things to do besides that tomorrow night, but a small break first...


I've accepted the fact that I'm probably never going to have time to write up my J Street conference report before I forget everything I was going to say about it. But there's one thing Jeremy Ben-Ami said that really resonated with me, so I'd like to muse a little bit about that.

No one has a monopoly on truth.

Mr. Ben-Ami, I certainly don't agree with you about everything. But the fact that you acknowledge this, the fact that you think it's important enough to say it multiple times at your first national conference, makes me a lot more inclined to support your organization.

Really, I think it applies to many areas of life, not just the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I've said in the past that the world's problems are caused by people not wanting to admit they were wrong. This is a slightly weaker statement, I think: People need to admit that there is a possibility that the "other side" could be right, that their own beliefs, their own narrative, could be missing part of the truth.

Everyone comes to the Israel debate bringing their own experiences, and this shapes their viewpoints. My friend Shaina is an example--she has very radical views after spending a summer interning in a refugee camp in the West Bank and seeing firsthand the suffering of the Palestinians. And of course, someone might have radical views in the opposite direction if someone they were close to was a victim of a suicide bombing in Israel, etc. (And experiences don't need to be extreme--my own experiences since coming to college have certainly shaped my views on the conflict.) The point is, a person's personal narrative, the narratives they've heard from friends and relatives, and the ones they learned in history class all contribute to that person's personal "truth". If we realize that this is probably not the whole truth, I think that's one step towards greater understanding, and therefore towards peace.

In short: It doesn't have to be about right or wrong. Maybe it can be about listening and understanding. But that's not quite what I was trying to say...that sounds too magical and touchy-feely.

It doesn't have to be about right or wrong. There are multiple, real narratives in this conflict, and getting stuck in the blame game just creates a vicious cycle. I'm definitely guilty of this from time to time. We need to move beyond the blame game, beyond thinking that we're right, beyond monopolizing truth. We need to seriously think about what the hell the next step is, beyond all that. J Street and many others say it's two states. I'm not opposed to that idea. (Is it the best idea? Does it matter if it's the best idea? Further contemplation required.) But how to actually get there is a whole new question that I really don't know the answer to.
Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: Girlyman//You Were The Lie
calligraphe: gardencalligraphe on November 18th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Somehow, you're beautifully articulate at 1:00 in the morning!

&congratulations on your problem set
Syomimashou on November 18th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you~ I didn't end up getting any ODE done, but at least I got this out of my system a little bit and got more sleep than originally expected XD
calligraphe: gardencalligraphe on November 18th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
Sleep is yummy. You are right to prioritize it.