Dienstag, 5. Februar 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo (english)

Students we meet the following day on Mt. Gerizim
Nablus 23. Januar 2013

In the overcrowded student café on one of the main streets of Nablus Gerd and I find, after some searching a spot in the back corner. We sit down, order a tea and inhale the steam of the omnipresent bubbling hookas. In no time there is contact with the young men at the next table, a game of backgammon is begun, and soon the conversation turns to the most important issue in the world, to football.
In Palestine, as in many countries of the world the Spanish football ranks first and there, within the Primera Division of course the two teams of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. I admit to support the madrileños and am accepted by half of the students as one of them, with backslapping (in the further course of the journey I sometimes can win some respect from the fact that my name somehow sounds like Cristiano Ronaldo).
Later we move to more serious topics. All the young men express how cumbersome and unfair they feel the heavy hand of the Israeli control over their country. No one sees a way for a fair agreement. They want peace but how to get there looks very uncertain to them.
I ask what they would give up for the sake of peace and tell them, without waiting for an answer about the German sacrifice of our eastern territories, draw, to illustrate the facts a map of Germany on a piece of paper, boast the peace with Poland. They listen to me politely, but quickly judge that the conditions in this country are not comparable with Germany and Poland.
A young student tells about his grandfather who was expelled from his home in Haifa in 1948. That is where he, the student wants to go back, even at the cost of half a world war with all the corresponding misery. No, there is no way to give up what belongs to us, not under any circumstances.
The mood is emotional but still not combative in any way, or so electrically charged as known from CNN reports. These are no jihadists, rather people that are put under daily tests of patience through the ruling system. Deep within them the consciousness is awake that the current situation of occupation is utterly unjust.
At the end of the evening we say good-bye as people with a different opinion on giving up, but nevertheless in warm friendship.
Later, in the hotel, I think that I should have brought Real Madrid into consideration. My idea: if a major war would lead to a timely break in the big sports events, or even – imagine! – to the partial collapse of television and internet, would they still want to continue the fight for Haifa?
Somehow it seems to me that the full weight of the benefits of a peaceful solution has not yet been put on the scale.

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