Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kai Bird - Radio Open Source

Radio Open Source had a most fascinating conversation with Kai Bird, which I highly recommend. (feed) Before you go and listen it would be useful to know (what is left implicit on the show) that he is the son of a US foreign service employee and as a result of that spent most of his youth abroad. Among places such as Cairo and Beirut, he grew up in East Jerusalem and as such he experienced the Arab-Israeli conflict from nearby. He has written a book about it: Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978.

What I like especially in this show is that the Arab Israeli conflict was discussed with criticism, but without the righteousness that is so common when the subject comes up. I was especially pleased by that as I feel that this sense of righteousness, whether it lives on either side of the conflict or within the rest of the world has a devastating effect on the conflict. It somehow feeds the extremists on both sides, it compels more propaganda war and media attention that is also drawn to the outspoken.

The lesson Bird wants to teach with his book is that Jews and Arabs can and should be able to peacefully live together in one land. Among others, he gets his inspiration from an old zionist from the nationalist, revisionist flank: Hillel Kook. This came as a surprise to me as Kook stems from the same roots as the less peaceful political stream in current Israel.

More Open Source:
Amartya Sen on India,
Mustafa Barghouti,
Jackson Lears,
Two communities in one region,
We want Obama.