Patient Cancer


“Hitler hak.” He flicks his lighter and illuminates the dashboard of his taxi and the flashing insanity of humanity.
“Hak” in Jordanian Arabic means “this.” The Palestinian taxi driver was pointing my attention to the flame of his lighter and giving me a visual clue to how Hitler burned the Jews during the Holocaust, just in case I didn’t understand his appreciation for the Nazi leader’s actions when he voiced them in Arabic. It all became more clear.
The Holocaust has always fascinated me. The idea of modern man systematically eradicating others somehow seems as distant in my mind as the notion of an endless sky.
But as far as I can see, the sky is endless, and man continuously breeds an unhealthy hatred.
The reality of it all hit me in the small West Bank village of Azzun watching as bulldozers, backed by Israeli settlers and hired guns, took over Palestinian land systematically like a determined and patient cancer.
Palestinian villagers tended to their gardens, served tea, and sat down on seats made of brick. They talked of the moving earth and trees in front of them in past tense. It was as if life had always had this element of disease and the tiresome battle against it.
After crossing the Hussein Bridge over the Jordan River into Jordan, I flagged down a crowded bus on its way to the capital, and my home away from home. I was given a seat on the floor next to a father and his kindergarten-aged son. The son asked his father if I was a Jew, and after checking it over with me he assured him I was no such thing and that I was just a harmless Canadian. The father continued to talk to the child about Jews and how I clearly wasn’t one of them. I was, and still am, an American, which, in a bus full of Palestinians, would have been just as incriminating as admitting to being Jewish.

Posted January 8th, 2006 in Uncategorized.

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