I have gotten the infamous “bird” twice in my life. Both times it was while I was driving. The first time I was on the highway and was going 72 or so just to get around a couple semi-s, but there was this truck behind me and it was right on my patushka. Like RIGHT there. Way too close for comfort or safety.
Now while driving, and most of the rest of the time, I try to be considerate of other people. I’m the one who always gets over in the right lane to let someone by, when someone’s trying to get out into traffic from a driveway, I like to let them in… you know, stuff like that. I’m just a nice driver, or at least try to be.
Okay, so back to the guy on my tail… I’m driving along, faster than I normally would, just so I don’t hold him up too much, but he keeps getting closer to me. It’s making me uncomfortable and sorta annoyed and I think to myself, “I think this is a time when people would tap their brakes to get the guy to back of a little.”
So I did.
And the bird flew. Along with some heavy-duty expletives, which I’m glad I couldn’t hear. The guy was so, so mad and I felt so, so bad. I got over as soon as I could (which I was going to do anyway) and then still cowering in my car, avoided eye-contact as he went by.
That was the first time.
The second time was just last week. I was driving home from Virginia with my brother and sister-in-law, they were in another car, and so I was trying to keep up with them. At one point I passed a couple cars to get back behind them and when one of those cars came by me later, he flipped me off. I was really confused, but I guess I must have slowed down a bit when I pulled up behind my brother, which caused him to have to pass me.
This time I got it though, I didn’t take it as a personal affront like I did last time. I think that if he had known I was just trying to stay up with my brother, he wouldn’t have felt the need to use the bird on me.
And that’s how it goes in life… if we just knew the other side of the story, or even recognized the fact that there IS another side to the story, we would free ourselves from a vast amount of anger, hate/dislike, and conflict. The problem is we justify our actions/reactions by only acknowledging our side of the story. But there is always, ALWAYS two sides to the story.
Take for example, the Jew/Arab conflict. There was the Holocaust, which it goes without saying, was one of the worst human tragedies in history. With that in mind it is hard not to want the Jews to have a homeland, at least for me. That is why I keep TWO things in mind. The Jews need for a homeland AND the ”nakba,” meaning “the catastrophe” in Arabic.
The “nakba” took place in 1948 when Jews took over the Palestinian homeland. Many were killed and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were either forced out of their homes or fled. When I was in Israel/Palestine I saw many Palestinians who are still living in refugee camps and keep the keys to their homes that the Israeli government took in 1948.
It’s not that everything began and ended in 1948. Since then the Israeli government has continued to take more land, the more recent tactic being with the Separation Wall. That is a 27 foot high cement wall that was supposedly going to fence in the Palestinians on the small remaining portion of Mandate Palestine. However, the Israeli government has continued to bring the wall in closer, so that now the land within the wall is less than one fifth of Mandate Palestine.
In addition, the Israeli government sometimes without warning turns off the supply of gasoline and/or water. They hold up Palestinians traveling even to and from towns within the Wall for sometimes hours on end. A trip that may only need to take one half hour may take three or four hours depending on the venomousness of the Israeli soldiers manning the check point.
Palestinians are also subject to simple harassment. Like one time I was there we were going through a check point and there was a Palestinian woman beside her car on her hands and knees and the Israeli soldiers were forcing her to crawl under her car to get a chick pea (!) that fell out of her basket in the front seat.
That is the kinda of relationship the Israeli government has with Palestinians. I am mentioning this because this is the other side to the story. We in America only hear about the Palestinian “terrorists,” but depending on how you look at it, that term could be equally applied to the Israeli government.
Take for example everything that is going in Gaza. Thus far approximately 400 Palestinians have been killed, 1,700 injured, compared to the 4 Israelis, and Israel is calling in MORE reserves. They also rejected a French-proposed two-day cease-fire for necessary food and medical supplies to be able to get into the region’s 1.5 million people. That’s 1.5 MILLION. Israel isn’t only fighting Hamas here. They’ve cut off ALL supplies, the last lifelines to people from whom they’ve already taken everything else away.
That is the other side of the story. Israel is at fault. Hamas is at fault. Neither is free from blame. Both engage in terrorist activities, but both consider themsevles “freedom fighters”… the difference is simply a matter of perspective.
I’ve sometimes wished that there was a semi-polite was to give someone the finger. It would really come in quite hand-y I think, but then I remember that the only instances in which I could give it with a clear conscience, would be ones where I only concerned myself with MY side of the story. If I knew the other side, cause there always is one, I would HAVE to stay my weapon or I’d be plagued by guilt the rest of my days.
The unfortunate thing is that sometimes we never learn the other side of the story. It can be avoided quite easily, so usually needs to be sought out. How often do we do that though? …
If only we always concerned ourselves with learning the other side before bombing, literally or figuratively, the begeezus out of our neighbors.
*You can click on “Palestinian News Network” under my Blogroll if you are interesting in staying abreast to news from Israel/Palestine that has not been corrupted by American bias.