cisler on 14 Oct 2000 04:04:40 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Holy Land

There's a rather poignant interview with the main Palestinian negotiator, Saeb
Erekat. It's a lot more telling than Edward Said's writing that was posted to
nettime today.

Last night I attended a fundraising here in Silicon Valley.  A wealthy Iranian
who made his money in semi-conductors started a non-profit called Schools
Online. They have been working in 17 countries, and their assistance and
training is quite good as any connectivity program that I've seen.

About 175 people were invited to the Palo Alto Country Club.  the parking lot
was filled with late model Mercedes, BMW's, Ferraris. After some snacks the
crowd took their seats and heard some introductions from the founder and a board
member.  Pre-IPO companies were encouraged to donate stock options for a big
expansion of the program.

Then the the directors of the Palestine and Israel school programs took the
stage. Both were stocky men in their 50's, and they had their arms around each
other like old pals leaving a bar. the affection between the Arab and the Jew
did not seemed feigned.  The Arab was from Ramalah where the crowd killed the
Israelis and the IDF retaliated with American gunships against the police HQ.

Both the men described the simple exchanges of email that began between students
in schools in Palestine and Israel. An Arab school in Ramalah invited a Jewish
class to visit. the Palestinian director was worried because the Arabs were
rather formal, the girls were restrained and dressed conservatively.  The Jews
arrived with body piercings and pants with legs of different lengths, but within
minutes they found email friends and were talking as if they had known each
other for years.  He said it gave him hope that the politicians and the soldiers
would not destroy these moments, but he was saddened by the damage done by the
violence of the past week or so.

I thought it was a heavy burden to expect ICT  and the Internet to keep young
people from joining the others in what seems like war to me, but their
conviction and simple stories were quite moving.

Steve Cisler

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