Thursday, June 5, 2008


My younger daughter graduated from high school last week. InshaAllah we will have 3 in university next fall, since my oldest changed his major and isn't quite finished. I liked her school's graduation ceremony better than those of her older brother and sister, because they somehow made the old guys from the board of education make shorter speeches. Yay for brevity! I had better get used to graduations. I only cried a little at this one. Next year, inshaAllah #1 son should get his degree, then the year after #2 son finishes high school and my older daughter should get her degree, if she doesn't let getting married sidetrack her plans. INSHAALLAH. She is a pretty determined girl, so I guess if anyone can do it, she can. #3 son has another 6 grades left, so it will be a while yet for him, alhamdulillah. When I was their age, I was in such a hurry to grow up, but these days I keep wanting to scream "STOP!" Does anyone remember that commercial, "If they could only stay little 'till their Carter's wear out"? I am jealous because my friends are still looking at sweet little dresses with ruffles and bows for their daughters, and I have to start looking at wedding dresses. Well, I guess those might have ruffles and bows too...

MY younger daughter had another sort of milestone today. I downloaded Barack Obama's speech to AIPAC this morning, and we listened to it together. She was a real Obama fan, and although she knew that anyone who had any chance to become president in the US would have to be pro Israel, his speech shocked her none the less. She looked hurt when he said "Israeli children have to take a deep breath and summon uncommon courage every time they board a bus or walk to school." There was no mention of the fears Palestinian kids face. She has had to pass through checkpoints all 13 years she has been in school here. She went to school with the same friends from kindergarten to 10th grade, when it got too hard for to go back and forth every day. She ended up staying at my mother-in-law's house for the last quarter of 10th grade, so she didn't have to cross the Jerusalem checkpoint twice a day. Then for 11th grade she switched to another school in Ramallah, much farther from home, because of that horrible wall. For the last 2 years she has had to pass through downtown Ramallah on her way home, like her older sister, and hope they miss running into things like this:

That day they both just got home before the trouble started.

When Obama got to the part about how Jerusalem must remain Israel's undivided capital, that was it. I think her heart broke. It's hard to know the person you want to put your trust and hope in has no concern for you. No concern for international law or UN resolutions either, apparently. Not the ones that call on Israel to give back the territory occupied in 1967.

None of that was a surprise to me, but it was kind of odd to hear him laud President Reagan's strong diplomacy. A democrat praising Reagan? Global climate change must have made you-know-where freeze over.


Amy said...

Salaam -

You know, I don't even want to listen to his speech. I remember his talk to AIPAC last spring, which unsettled me then the way he seemed to favor Israelis so much over Palestinians, without a thought to their own plight. But yet--it was a speech to AIPAC, after all.

I don't want to listen to this one, I hear bits about it on the news, and I just get that sinking feeling in my stomach, he might as well be another neo-con. The speeches he makes aren't private, so he should know the world will hear his voice on the issue. I can only hope he is pandering for the Jewish vote, since Israel isn't actually one of his top talking points like it was for Republicans.

And while America should be able to elect its leaders without being under the thumb of Israel, it apparently can't--support from the Jewish Lobby is crucial to a politician's success.

What happened to his slogan, "Change?" "Change we can believe in?" Because the American outlook on Israel and Palestine definitely needs to be changed. He doesn't want four more years of the same, or so he said... but isn't that all he is promising on the Israeli front? Unconditional American support? Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Hearing his speech to the AIPAC this week was very disappointing.

I have just sent an email through his website with the title "Do Not Forget the Palestinian Children". Hope he reads it.

Congrats to all of your children on their milestones!!


Anonymous said...

Just received a reply from "Obama" - I am sure it is a "standard" letter but who knows!

Here goes:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting me about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

I traveled to the Middle East in January 2006, where I met with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as ordinary citizens in both communities. This visit increased my understanding of the challenges that confront the people who live in the region and our diplomatic efforts there, but also my resolve to make a difference.

The best solution to this difficult conflict is two states living side-by-side in peace and security. I believe the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians support this outcome. What is needed is a far more vigorous U.S. diplomatic effort to help them achieve it. But the current administration has sat on the sidelines for far too long. As president, I would make a personal commitment to this effort.

Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East, and we are obligated to help ensure its security. A negotiated peace with the Palestinians would make Israel more secure and allow the Palestinians to achieve their goal of an independent state. We should be doing more to strengthen Palestinian leaders who support a two-state solution, isolate those who seek Israel's destruction, and help the two sides reach negotiated solutions to all outstanding issues.

An agreement that fulfills the legitimate aspirations of both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples is the only path to peace, and I will continue to work toward this end. Thank you again for contacting me on this issue.


Barack Obama

alajnabiya said...

Thanks for your comments Amy and Pat. "Change we can believe in?" Sorry, I wish I could say something hopeful here, but at this point. I see nothing to hope for in the near future. "Peace" means shoving more concessions down Palestinian throats.

Umm Ibrahim said...

Really sad subhan Allah and what a devastating wake up for your daughter to hear the comments about Israeli children and the plight of the Palestinian children ignored. :(