Sunday, March 29, 2009

Palestinian Arab kids' orchestra disbanded after Holocaust concert

Last week we saw a heartwarming story, the type of story that gives everyone who yearns for a real peace hope for the future:
For just over an hour on Wednesday, a club for elderly Holocaust survivors on a side street in this suburban town south of Tel Aviv came alive with an encounter of an extraordinary kind.

A youth orchestra came to play for the elderly Israelis, a good turn that might pass in other countries as routine. In this case, though, the entertainers were Palestinians, a group of musicians 12 to 17 years old from the Jenin refugee camp, once a notorious hotbed of militancy and violence in the northern reaches of the West Bank.

for a while on Wednesday, the politics of the conflict were put aside. The youths scratched at their violins and the Holocaust survivors clapped along, trying to keep up with the changing rhythms of the darbouka drums.

“We are here to play,” Wafaa Younis, 51, the Israeli Arab orchestra director, told the rapt audience. “I do not believe in politicians, only musicians and these children.”
The very idea of Palestinian Arab children trying to cheer up Holocaust survivors is one that brings with it hope that the future is not nearly as bleak as it appears, that people can change and maybe, just maybe, things can be much different in future generations.

All that optimism has just come to a fiery and fatal crash:
Authorities in an impoverished Palestinian refugee camp have shut down a youth orchestra, boarded up its rehearsal studio and banned its conductor from the camp after she took 13 young musicians to perform for Holocaust survivors in Israel, an official said Sunday.

Conductor Wafa Younes took the children from her Strings of Freedom orchestra to sing songs of peace last week as part of an annual Good Deeds Day organized by Israel's richest woman. But once parents and leaders back in West Bank's Jenin refugee camp realized where the group had been, they shut down the program, saying Younes had dragged the children into a political issue.

A community leader in the Jenin camp, Adnan Hindi, said the musicians' parents had not known where Younes was taking their children and were angry when they learned of the performance from media reports.

"She exploited the children for a big political issue," said Hindi, head of a camp committee responsible for municipal duties.

Hindi did not deny there was a Holocaust, but said Palestinians had suffered at the hands of Israel.

"The Holocaust happened, but we are facing a similar massacre by the Jews themselves," he said. "We lost our land, and we were forced to flee and we've lived in refugee camps for the past 50 years."
The mainstream of Palestinian Arab society has no ability to empathize with anyone else. They consider themselves unique in their suffering, and they do not believe that anyone else's suffering is even comparable.

Until they get everything they demand, they will continue to live in a deluded world where they are owed everything and have no responsibility to help fix their own problems.

There are no refugee camps in Israel - they all are in countries or areas controlled by Arabs. The Palestinian Arab leaders as well as the leaders of their neighboring nations are the ones who explicitly and openly prolong their suffering, decade after decade.

Yet they will continue to blame Jews for their continuing predicament, and they will refuse to entertain the idea that they are not the center of the universe in their suffering. As a result, their suffering is self-perpetuating.

Holocaust survivors managed to build an entire nation in only a few years after their "naqba." Palestinian Arabs continue to wallow in self-pity and self-destructive whining six decades after theirs.

Imagine how different their lives would be if they could show a little empathy, a little understanding of their Jewish neighbors! Imagine how different things would be if they took responsibility for their own actions! There is no shortage of Jewish organizations who work tirelessly to help Palestinian Arabs solve their problems, whether real or imagined. But how many Arab organizations could even make a slightly conciliatory gesture towards Jews without being insulted, vilified and shut down?

This incident is an accurate microcosm of the entire problem.

(h/t Mohammed the Teddy Bear)