Saturday, March 18, 2006

Irshad Manji: `How I learned to love the wall'

Muslim writer Irshad Manji is an absolute gem, for those who haven't experienced her. If Islam has a future, it's with Muslims like Irshad Manji. Here, she muses on Israel's defensive barrier and what it means:

... "I'd bet my last shekel that I'll continue to hear the phrase "Ariel Sharon's apartheid wall." It's a phrase spoken — make that spewed — on almost every university campus I visit in North America and Europe.

Among a new generation of Muslims, this is what Mr. Sharon will be known for long after he leaves office: unilaterally erecting a barrier, most of it a fence, some of it a wall, that cuts Arab villages in half, chokes the movement of ordinary Palestinians, cripples local economies and, ultimately, separates human beings.

The critics have a point — up to a point.

They're right that Palestinians are virtually wailing at "the wall." When I went to see its towering cement slabs in the West Bank town of Abu Dis last year, an Arab man approached me to unload his sadness. "It's no good," he said. "It's hard."

"Why do you think they built it?" I asked.

The man shook his head and repeated, "It's hard." After some silence, he added, "We are not two people. We are one."

"How do you explain that to suicide bombers?" I wondered aloud.

The man smiled. "No understand," he replied. "No English. Thank you. Goodbye."

Read the piece here

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