Just a shout-out to anyone in the north Jersey area interested in attending this event, #OpenGaza: Trauma and Hope, First Hand, taking place this Tuesday, October 27, 8-10 pm at the Palestinian American Community Center of Clifton, New Jersey, 388 Lakeview Ave., Clifton, New Jersey 07011. Speakers include Dr. Yasser Abu-Jamei, Executive Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, and Ran Goldstein, Executive Director of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel. The event is free. I’ll be there, and easy enough to pick out of the crowd–the fiftyish woman with stylish glasses, suave, oddly masculine looks, and black nail polish. (ht: Mondoweiss)
By coincidence, last month I spent a weekend “conferencing” with Izzeldine Abouelaish, founder of Daughters for Life and author of I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey. Izzeldine, whose daughters and niece were killed in 2009 by Israeli rocket fire in Gaza, is one of those supposedly mythical Palestinians committed to peace despite having endured trauma at Israeli hands. More on Izzeldine’s book once I finish it; for now, I just couldn’t resist mentioning the coincidence of “two-doctors-from-Gaza-with-messages-of-hope-amidst-trauma.”
Mention Gaza to the average American news junkie, and the immediate association is “Hamas” and “Islamist fanaticism.” Not that those things don’t exist, but there are more things in Palestine than are dreamt up by such stereotypes, and I’d like to think that events like the PACC talk and like Izzeldine’s book and foundation will eventually break the reflexive associations of “Palestinian” with “wild-eyed religious psychopath” and replace them with something more respectful of reality. The audacity of hope, to borrow a phrase.