.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

How to deal with adversity, part 2

Three months ago I posted about how the Jewish hydroponic farmers expelled from Gaza took only six months to re-create their industry and turn a profit again. I wrote then:
Yes, Jews were forcibly kicked out of their homes, 16 years of their work and livelihoods destroyed, and six months later they are completely back up to speed - without the EU or the UN giving them a dime, without whining constantly to the world about how bad their lot is, without insisting on handouts and resolutions.

How many decades will it take Arabs to learn the same lesson?

Well, now we have hundreds of thousands of Israeli refugees forced out of their homes again, this time by Iranian rockets. Some of them ended up in refugee camps - but these hastily constructed camps have nothing in common with the ones we hear so much about in the Middle East:
"Check her out, she's the most beautiful girl from northern Israel," Ilan Faktor says, practically swooning, his white teeth beaming from his tanned face. He's girl-hunting with his buddies, and the women are everywhere -- all in bikinis and most with long, curly hair. "The best part," Ilan says, "is that they can't run away."

Ilan and his buddies live in a crowded refugee camp set up on the beach in Ashkelon, Israel. All along the street, flags flap in the breeze from the sea. People here seem to love showing off their gym-toned bodies. Tents have been set up everywhere. In one, people practice yoga; next to it others are getting their bodies painted. In another tent Orthodox Jews try to recruit young people. One could easily mistake the place for a nightclub if it weren't for the fact that everyone here has been displaced by a war. Hordes of young people under 25 mill around wearing the same kind of colorful armbands you might see in a hip urban club.

Ilan isn't happy with the color of his armband -- the blue has already faded. Worse yet, blue means he's scheduled for the day's earliest meal-time. Organizers in fact adopted the idea of arm bands from night clubs; here, though, it's a way of arranging staggered mealtimes. In the end that's only difference between this camp at the Israeli beach resort of Ashkelon, just south of Tel Aviv, and an all-inclusive holiday resort.

Make no mistake, though -- it's no holiday resort. It's a refugee camp, in spite of the sun and the sound of waves pounding the beach. Everyone here has fled the rain of Hezbollah rockets that are showering northern Israel. First they came from Nahariya, then Carmiel and later from Haifa and Tiberias. In total, more than 2,600 have converged here. On Monday the camp was expanded, with new tents and toilets being set up on the white sand dunes right next to the sea.

Still, for those fleeing the north, there are worse places to land than Ashkelon. A Russian immigrant generously allowed the camp to be set up on his property; he hired Ilan Faktor to help run it. Normally Faktor works as a rave promoter, and he's brought a lot of those ideas along with him. Live bands play each night, and during the daytime, the thumping base of techno music can be heard along the beach. On Friday, the stars of Israel's "Pop Idol" stopped by. "We have to keep the people entertained," says Faktor.

Now as before all of this was done without a single penny of aid from the UN or the EU, without whining to the world about how horrible life is, and without insisting on handouts and resolutions.

We hear so much about the famed "Arab hospitality" and yet Palestinian Arabs have been rotting in "refugee camps" for decades in their hospitable host countries of Egypt and Syria and Lebanon, not to mention Gaza and the West Bank. What Israel accomplishes in two weeks is completely beyond the abilities of these Arabs, it seems.

Nasrallah thinks he is hurting Israeli morale, but he has no concept of the meaning of the word. He defines morale as the ability to kill and terrorize others, but morale is keeping one's spirits up in times of trouble - and it is something he and his thugs are utterly incapable of.

Once again, one side proves that they are all about creativity and happiness and the other side is all about destruction and inflicting pain. Israelis can rightly feel proud at how they react in the face of terror.

(H/T OceanGuy, who writes a wonderful posting about the same topic.)
UPDATE: OceanGuy, in the comments section, expanded my theme much better than I did:
No running to the UN...
No whining for refugee status...
No begging the EU for help taking care of a genocidal humanitarian crisis...
No claiming victimhood...
No display of gory dead and wounded people...
No militant children parading around as suicide bombers...
No screaming for vengeance...
Always accepting responsibility for ourselves, even when hardships are caused by others...
Not even asking to be loved...
Just to be left to mind our own lives...
Only asking to live in peace.