Anne Frank

During the time I was away, among other things, I took a little trip to Holland. While I was there I paid a visit to Anne Frank’s house. Anne was a German Jewish teenager at the time of the Holocaust. Her family left Germany and hid in the upper levels of a house in Amsterdam for two years. Her family was betrayed and she died at the age of fifteen in a concentration camp after witnessing her only sister die.

Anne wrote a diary during the time she was in hiding with her family in Amsterdam, originally for herself but later to document what it was like for a Jewish person during World War Two.  I have always felt for people who suffered in the Holocaust and it’s not difficult to understand the motivation behind the creation of the State of Israel, coming from such a terrible and tragic history. Anne Frank however humanized it even more for me.  But how I feel doesn’t really matter in this equation. What matters today is how the Holocaust is used to persecute Palestinians. No matter how terrible the Holocaust was, it remains a “was” while Palestinian suffering is an “is”. What Anne Frank did by wanting her diary published is give a face to history, if only there was a way to give a face to what’s going on right now.

Ground Zero is not where the World Trade Center stood in New York, the real Ground Zero, the place where West and East clash and the origin and motivation of all misunderstandings between us is the Palestinian/Israeli  conflict. This is why Arabs radicalize, it is why they hate not only Israelis but also Americans. One of the world’s strongest armies occupying an Arab country since 1948 and backed by the world’s strongest nation both financially and politically. Their only argument for their atrocities is that God promised us this land. What would you do if someone came and kicked you out of your home, off your land and even denied your very existence because “God told him to”? What Arab people have done is to radicalize in return. It is very likely that I could be sitting here today in a much more free and open Saudi Arabia, if the West had not dehumized Arabs and given away their lands as compensation to Holocaust survivors.  See, it’s difficult to convince a muttawa that the infidels don’t hate us and aren’t out to get us when they show you in return photos of Palestinian refugee camps, exterminated villages and towns, going from black and white photos up to the latest photos from Gaza.

I digress but it’s hard not to when you’re writing about something you feel so passionately about. Anne Frank touched me deeply and I wanted to get an Arabic translation of her diary so that I could share it with other Saudis. I was discouraged when I went into the museum and found that even Japanese was included as a translation option but not Arabic, a language spoken in over 26 countries. When I got to the gift shop, the only Arabic version of Anne’s diary had poor quality print and no photos. It’s important that we see where both of us are coming from so that we can move forward. Right now to young Arabs, Israelis are not descendents of Holocaust survivors but a genocidal, racist and occupying army. And I bet to young Israelis, Palestinians are not the natives of the lands they’ve taken but irrational fundamentalist terrorists. Khaled Mahameed, a Palestinian from Nazareth is trying to change that by educating Palestinians about the Holocaust and educating Israelis about Palestinian suffering. Here you can watch him at work.

Although the difficulties of being a Saudi woman seem like heaven compared to being a Jewish woman in Nazi Germany, I couldn’t help but understand a little bit about how it must have been like when I saw the star that they had to wear to mark them as Jews and this quote from Anne’s diary that was highlighted by the museum:

“Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees. Jews were required to wear a yellow star. Jews were required to turn in their bicycles. Jews were forbidden to use trams. Jews were forbidden to use swimming pools, tennis courts, hockey fields or any other athletic fields. Jews were forbidden to visit Christians in their homes. Jews were required to attend Jewish schools. You couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that.”  June 20, 1942

Social media has been credited (and blamed) for many things. However the best thing that social media has done is enable us to realize our common humanity. Instead of being some silent burqa clad woman on your TV screen, I’m now talking to you directly.  And from the heart of the most conservative Islamic region in the world, I’m telling you that we can’t move forward towards global peace until the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is resolved.

Anne’s father and the only surviving member of her family:

“We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.” Otto Frank, 1970

Recommended reading and viewing:

BBC Documentary:  Louis Theroux: The Ultra Zionists

NYT news report: Israel Clashes With Protesters on Four Borders By Ethan Bronner Published: May 15, 2011

and a reply to it: The New York Times‘s shameless Nakba distortion by Matthew Taylor on MAY 15, 2011

Opinion piece by Roger Cohen: The Post-Bin Laden World


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85 responses to “Anne Frank

  1. Sister Act

    This essay shows the naïveté of the writer, it illustrates the lack of any understanding of the political motivation behind the state of Israel. To begin with, the ME had nothing to do with the holocaust, it was purely a European crime, yet the ME is suffering for those crimes. Further, the reason for the creation of Israel in the ME was for the western nations to maintain hegemony over the ME and in return the Israeli’s receive large amounts of Aid. Ever wondered how they maintain their economy?

    • Arielle

      I would say your post shows more naivete. If your entire race was left helpless and almost wiped out by those who you had previously thought to be friends, you would rally for a homeland where at least you could defend yourselves. Politicians knew about the holocaust, Churchill and Roosevelt knew about it and they thought the “final solution” preferable to having to deal with waves of Jewish immigrants. The great game politics certainly were fraught with western greed and self interest, but the Jewish people moved back to Israel not for such causes and would have on their own built up their national legitimacy so to ensure genocide would not threaten them again. Why a big army? Khomeini is one example of why.

      Eman, thank you for the thoughtful and enriching post.

  2. The Bible Reminds us that since The Fall of Man, We are All such as Anne Frank, Muslim Palestine, The Mexican/United States Border, The Polar Bear ect … Are Only Hope Is a Surrender, Conforming to, and Acceptance of That Original Guilt ! There Is No One to Blame, There Is No Political ” Solution ” .. Who Is Right, What Is The Best System ? Let History be Our Epitaph.
    ” As for me, I will stand at my Post and Watch … ”
    My Greatest Sympathies for The Militants In there struggles against The Capitalist Imperialists .. Allah Akbar !

  3. Abdullah M

    On the Nakba day, “Saudi Women” is listing recommended readings for Zionists like Ethan Bronner and wants an Arabic translation of Anne Frank’s diary !
    How pathetic, groveling and undignified !

    Stay Classy Saudi Women !!

    • les king

      if we cannot learn, if we cannot teach, if we cannot debate and find solutions other than killing each other, whats the point ? The Israelites are but one of the tribes who inhabited areas in the Middle East, the same as others, and if they cant live with others in peace then i do believe it will be to the ultimate condemnation of Israel.

    • FromArgentina

      excuse me, but everyone should read that book, and i thik it speaks a lot that a saudi woman wants to read it in arab, and it speaks more that is not even translated properly, this is how we will make the conflict better, undertsnding each other.

  4. Well..
    religions always divide people and nations..
    suppose the world is free of them..
    would the world have had such agonies.. and will you stand here carrying such intermingled feelings?

    • Ulrich Eggert

      Definitely Yes. Because the real problem are not religions but greed and the longing for power. These have indeed always sought camouflage behind religious motives, but also behind other high ideals such as freedom, equality, human rights, democracy, you name it. But can we blame religions or those secular ideals for such abuse?

      • E.T. Shields

        I disagree religion is the root cause of 95% of the worlds problems, greed amd power being the rest. That is the same the world over, the cry is if you don’t believe in my God your wrong! My God is the only God, my book is the only true book, what a bunch of childless dribble. Believing something written hundreds of years ago by fools that thought the world was flat, just how stupid can you get? I may add that Islam has done nothing but suffocate and retard all those that believe in it. This is 2011 not 1511. When your dead, your dead and there is nothing after. As far as Israel and the Arabs, it’s all to do with religion, land is the excuse.

    • Our view of ancient history is limited. We must study inscriptions, arifacts, what documents remain. But what we can see that remains from the world before the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion was not a peaceful paradise on earth. I believe there is a good argument that these religions introduced codes that gave value and dignity to human life that was not recognized before. Sadly at times the best interpretation and practise of each religion is not followed. Some would say that is the failure of men who are following God’s plan poorly, not a failure of God’s plan.

  5. Cheshire Cat

    Just stumbled upon this blog and found you are just another attention seeker. Show of support to any kind of cruelity is being as evil. No knowledge of history or politics shown whatsoever. There is no consistence in your thoughts. Saudi women are no where to be found in your writing. Rename blog to ‘This World Through My Perspective’.

  6. susanne hammer

    this speaks my heart .my mom -half jew-had a similar fate ,hiding in a coal-mine for a year -with the help of ‘simple ‘ people giving food .and an SS officer hid her for some time also.i have no possibility to understand israels treating on palestininans other than awful,sticking to a trauma which gives them benefits.the youth of this world,egyptian ,palestine ,tunesian ,libyan….shows there must be an end. fresh start is possible-yallah!

  7. This is a very good essay. Not having been to Israel/Palestine and only watching the struggles from the distance, it is difficult for me (as a German) to understand how people descending from a culture that has been prosecuted and blamed for about everything throughout the centuries can now do exactly the same to their very neighbors.

    It was by no means fair or ethical to give inhabited land to the Israelis to build their own nation, and I think it was a solution along the lines of, “We need something, and quickly, and as far away from the Western countries as possible!” – but by now, after more than sixty years, I think the parties should forget about the past and try to create circumstances which allow both of them (and any other party involved) to live in peace.

    No one would want their children to grow up, live and die in an endless war. So, simple question – why don’t they stop hating and start working for peace?

    (No one said it would be easy.)

    • Jason

      If you want a perspective from Jew living in Tel Aviv, Israel, originally from the US, son of father whose parents were murdered by Nazis and whose only possession today is a small picture of his mother and a pension from the Germans: the Holocaust may have been a strong impetus to the founding of the State of Israel, but it was NOT the beginning of the Zionist movement nor the only, underlying reason behind the Zionist movement started at the turn of the 20th century. At the time, late 19th century, early 20th century, there were not many inhabitants in general in Israel / Palestine, but small communities mostly Muslim but also Christian and Jewish of course. There was no country to speak of, or State in the modern sense. Nationalist movements were starting to develop in general, and the Ottoman Empire was starting to collapse in this region. Since the turn of the century Jews by and large came to settle in the land established by their forefathers, out of belief rooted in a 3,000 year old tradition of Abraham that has since carried to Christianity and Islam and out of desire to escape centuries of persecution. There was no slaughter of the locals, no desire to ethnically cleanse the area. Anyone is invited to look further into this rich history that is as relevant today as always, and to claim it was a “European crime” that Arabs are paying for, people are expressing deep ignorance of the Jewish story and the re-establishment of a Jewish / Hebrew culture in the Middle East. Further anyone who wants to understand the ME and its issues should take the opportunity to visit, explore, talk to different peoples, and then when enough people have an honest, informed understanding of the region, its people and its history only then can we approach a political solution to the conflict. In the meantime Jews and Arabs here in Israel / Palestine have some of the highest growth rates and standards of living in the world, so we are not suffering as much as you might think. All the best.

  8. NotTelling

    I totally agree with the root cause of most problems in the world today is the Arab/Israeli conflict. Where would us be without it?

    The way I see it, neither the bible nor the Holocaust are proper excuses for creating israel, unless they think of Arabs as less human beings, which they do.

    Unlike these comments I think it’s a good thing to share these days. Keep it up.

  9. there are so many excuses we can give for why one group of individuals cause damage to another. Why we hate another…or a group of others. Why we need to feel we are better than another group or why we must ‘radicalize’ against others. Perhaps its because of what one country is doing to another country, perhaps what has happened in the past. But personally I think this is nothing more than excuses.
    I was seriously abused as a child. They say if you were seriously abused as a child you are 50% more likely to abuse your own kids. I guess it’s individual ‘radicalizing’. I decided that I would not do that…that instead I would do whatever work I had to do to not carry on the abuse. And so it was.

    Until individuals themselves decide that as Jews or Muslim or Christian, woman or man, Saudi, American, Australian etc that they as individuals don’t want to act in ways that demean or hurt another human then it really doesnt matter what nationality, what religion what history they have…conflict will continue, abuses will continue and only the labels will change.

  10. Don Cox

    “One of the world’s strongest armies occupying an Arab country since 1948”

    But Israel isn’t “an Arab country”. It is the original homeland of the Jews, where they have lived for thousands of years. Certainly it was invaded by Arabs, but that doesn’t give them a perpetual right to it.

    As it is, the Arabs are still occupying a large chunk of Israel, known as the West Bank.

    Jordan is an Arab country, Arabia is an Arab country. Israel is not.

    There is a similar situation in Ireland. The English conquered it and occupied it for centuries, but it is still the homeland of the Irish.

    • Alois Saint-Martin

      The Lord Calls His Son Out of Egypt ? … Hittites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Muslims, The British, The Americans … Who has not had his fill of Abram`s Meat ! What I mean Is Palestine Is much Israeli, as Kosovo Is Kosovite. Only Lines on an Historical Atlas. Ask any Caspian Tiger.

    • It is interesting to use the example of the Irish. During the 1970’s when the Irish Republican Army was, from their point of view, fighting for the rights of the native Irish in Northern Ireland, they were quite sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and the two groups may have exchanged some practical aid, if the rumors I have heard have any substance behind them.
      Groups of people have always pushed other groups out. Has it ever been right? And yet at what point do you say it is the newcomers who are the legitimate holders of the nation? The Europeans pushed out the indigenous peoples in the Americas, but can you ever see a native group repossessing the USA? No, it’s been too late. Will the decendants of the Celts in Briton ever push out the Saxon invaders ? Or the Saxons push out the descendants of the Normans.. I doubt than can sort out who is purly a decendant of whom anymore. The Jewish people were pushed out of the land of Israel at an early time even than these examples. (yes I’m sure some families never left, but the land was possessed and ruled by others) Do they have the right to go there and buy a home and live in a spot they hold holy.. I would say yes, if they can find someone who will sell to them at a price they can afford. Do they have the right to push others out without that mutually agreeable transaction? Now I have to find myself saying no. In the modern world, are we prepared to accept in any place that has a mixture of peoples, of cultures, living within it.. that one of those peoples should dominate over the others, should silence their voice or restrict their rights or penalize them? I find that I am not prepared to accept this.

  11. kaaze

    Thank you for your article. It has certainly given me a new perspective on the Isreali/Palestinian conflict, as I believe was your true intention.

  12. les king

    It is a great shame that through one of the worst examples of what mankind is capable of in its capability to inflict suffering because of blatant hatred that the Jewish people can not see the parralels between the hideous crimes committed by Hitler and his perverted ideas on the Jews of Europe and that of their own treatment of the Palestinian people and the hatred that has now spread from the Middle East to infect the rest of the world we all live in. America must bear some of the responsibilty by it blind support of Israel and its sanctioning of the blatant theft of land and property from a people who have lived there for countless generations. I wonder, if, sitting in her attic hideaway in wartime Holland, and having the ability to see into the future what Anne Frank and her father would make of the Jewish people today.

  13. hussain ahmad

    This is moving and interesting. All Arabs and Muslims in the world can despair over the plight of Palestinians and the injustices heaped on them by the israelis. But when it comes to who has to share the blame for this, I have a different take. Culprits number one: israelis. Number two? I would say Arab rulers, not Americans.
    If Arab rulers had wanted and were serious, they could have liberated Palestine long ago. Instead, they chose to do business with Americans while turning a blind eye to their support for jews.
    I find that the politics of ME is very complicated, and the world doesn’t get to know that because they are played behind closed doors.
    So let Palestinians take charge of their future. The mistake they have committed is trumpeting this as an Arab and Muslim issue.

  14. Jack Augsbury

    I just found your blog and read your thoughts based upon Anne Frank and the ME struggle. I visited Israel in the mid 1980s and toured around from the Golan Heights to the Dead Sea , Masada. It was a month long college course traveling Israel and then going by bus to Cairo across the Suez canal.
    Many people talk about the plight of the Palestinians and I believe they are being used by most people who don’t really care about their situation.
    You think of the decades of aid delivered to Palestinians and what is there to show for it? How much has been stolen by groups?
    What has the violence done to further the cause? It has brought people to the side of Israel. The countries that aid the war in Palestine do not really care for the people they are using this issue to further their own agenda.
    I walked around the West Bank alone I walked around the walled city of Jerusalem and it was wonderful.
    To get an insight of the Isreali simply visit Masada. Force will not sway them. If the attacks stopped then the Israeli treatment of Palestinians could be examined clearly and Israel would have no excuse.
    How many 1,000s or even millions of people would want to visit the Holy Land were the violence to cease?
    A powerful experience fror me was in the West Bank. I was a college student walking with a female college student who was a Rhodes Scholar much smarter than I with a more promising future career. A Palestinian teenager offered to buy her from me for a goat. It was a culture shock for us both.
    I believe violent gangsters are keeping the violence alive for their own reasons and are being paid to do so. The victims are the people living in Gaza and the West Bank getting none of the aid and just trying to survive.
    To package this as some noble war is a lie.

  15. GTK

    Just how much assistance has the ME given the Palestinian’s since the creation of Israel? Have they attempted to assimilate Palestinians? Have they offered land for a homeland, or since 1948 have the ME countries attempted to use the Jews as a diversion from their own failed domestic policies? Just a thought.

  16. Mag

    You will newer understand the pain and agony that people went trough during WWII in concentration camps unless you visit one and see their shoes, shaved-off hair, that were later used to make wigs for German woman, the table on which doctors-butchers used to do ‘operations’ which are still covered with blood. The story of Ann Frank compared to what you will see in there is nothing. There are many great books on the subject on what happened during that time (holocaust of Jews was one thing, but you cannot forget, that there were many other people that died too- Gypsy’s, handicapped, war-prisoners etc. ) therefore have a good read trough some books on the subject, because as I can see, there is many things that you should learn about like these, . Please read at least these two and then you will understand more about what happened during WWII in Nazi-occupied countries. Then you should understand that what went on during WWII is nothing comparing to what happens to Palestinian people. (and to all those who say that Palestine had nothing to do with what Hitler did find out by how he and Mufti of Jerusalem were collaborating)

    • Mag

      “Then you should understand that what went on during WWII is nothing comparing to what happens to Palestinian people.” – this sentence is wrong. Should be that what happens to Palestinian people is nothing compared to what happened to people in Nazi-occupied countries. Sorry for that .

      • Amal

        I think it’s wrong to try to measure how tragic something is compared to another. They are both equally tragic, and all that matters is human lives are being unjustly taken and no one did or is doing a thing about it, really.

  17. Jack Augsbury

    Yasser Arafat’s wealth at the time of his death has been estimated between 900 million and 4 billion.

    • What is your point, Jack Augsbury?
      Let us assume that you are absolutely correct that Arafat was worth an obsene sum of money and let us assume that he got that sum by taking advantage of his own people’s misery.
      So what?
      Does that mean those people are not worthy of help from the rest of the civilized world because that man abused them?

      • Jack Augsbury

        No my point is that there are people such as Yassar Arafat abusing the aid sent to support the Palestine people. This should not be ignored by doner countries. The money needs to be spent to help the people not fatten the corrupt people in charge.

      • Mary

        Jack, Yassar Arafat has been dead for a very long time. If we want to give aid to the Palestinian cause, there are charitable bodies that can be trusted to deliver that aid without fear of loosing it to corruption. ANERA (American Near East Refuge Aid) is one of them. Oddly, the Knights of Malta, a Roman Catholic society based on Malta that gave military defense to Christian Malta when it was invaded by the forces of Suleiman the Magnificent, operates an important maternity hospital in Bethlehem (West Bank) , Holy Family Hospital of Bethlem, that provides maternal, infant and increasing other kinds of care to all in need regardless of who they are (including what religion they profess) , and regardless of ability to pay for services. This link goes into detail about the services they offer and they live on donations.
        To say that aid should not be given generously to the Palestinian people because of Yasar Arafat’s corruption is both cruel and out of touch.

      • Mary

        To carry the thought of a maternity hospital a little further.. Israel has been holding the West Bank for what, 30 years? Only recently have they allowed any kind of Palestinian government, and it’s not a very effective one. For that reason, the responsibility to provide basic services like a maternity hospital to everyone in the West Bank ought properly to belong to Israel. Why has it not offered such a basic service to those under it’s nominal protection?
        Approximately 8,000 infants will be born at that hospital this year. In 20 to 25 years, what will those individuals be holding in their hands? Will it be a medical instrument, or a rock? Will it be PVC pipe used to contruct a home or business? Or will that same pipe be used to construct a home-make rocket launcher? What those hands hold have everything to do with how much love an support they receive over the next 25 years from the rest of world’s citizens. It has to do with how much they have been led to believe that their own effort can succeed in building a good life for themselves and their families. It will have to do with how much they have been acknowledged to have value in the very land in which they were born.

  18. Salam

    I’m sorry, but the Holocaust was in German. It wasn’t done by Palestinians. The Holocaust, if they truly wanted recompense they should ask from the Germans. Why Palestine? Honestly, I think there’s something more than that. It’s the Jerusalem Temple. The Holy Land.

    Plus if ever, didn’t they sought refuge in Palestine? If I read history right, during that time they mass immigrated to Palestine. This led to the creation of Israel. Before that Palestine was under the Ottoman.

    1948 – the year Israel state was born – Albert Einstein & jewish intellectuals wrote this letter to the NYT.

    I hope I get this right. Pls forgive or correct me if ever.
    & I really really like Sergey Brin so I’m not anti-semite.
    Only Allah SWT Knows Best.

  19. Sorry, under the British. before that the Ottoman.

    • Ulrich Eggert

      Thanks especially for sharing that NYT-letter, Nisa. Very interesting reading indeed. A little insight into the history of Palestine:
      In WW1 the British fighting the Ottoman empire (among others) promised Palestine to the Zionists (Balfour declaration), which was, as far as I know, a pre-condition of Baron Rothschild to grant them war-bonds. At the same time, as we have learned from T.E.Lawrence, british organizer of the Arab upheaval against the Turkish (“Lawrence of Arabia”), they promised it to the Arabs to keep their guerilla forces in fighting mood (“The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, if you want to read more of this).
      Then, after WW1, finding themselves with two parties claiming their promise to be fulfilled and not knowing what to do, they (the British) kept it for themselves – finding themselves now being fought by Zionist extremists as Mr. Begin (who was indeed wanted with a death penalty threat by the British colonial administration).

  20. Well, I think this is brilliant insight, despite all the negative comments. As an American, living in Israel, studying Arabic and Arabic literature I can really understand both sides of the fight, but until we can put ourselves in other’s shoes, we will never truly understand. I loved Anne Franks novel (diary) since I was a little girl and I also believe it helped me to empathize with the Jewish people more. I also think it’s equally important to read other cultures struggles as well… that’s why I appreciate your blog so much. And I agree with your last statement 100%! Hoping that some day it will be resolved. Thanks for being so open with your writing!

  21. Jerry M

    Zionism has nothing to do with Anna Frank. Zionism was started before the creation of the Nazi state and a number of the early leaders of Israel lived in Palestine before the 1930’s (Golda Meir lived on a kibbutz in the 1920s). Anna Frank’s diary wasn’t published in the US until 1952. Her story was not used to sell the creation of Israel to the West. Using her image here is misleading.

    • Perhaps, but I think accessing the personal story of a little girl to try to seeing into the experience of some people who lived through similar experiences and may have been marked by them is a humane thing to do. And I think it is valuable.

  22. Farooq

    I am sure that by now, sister Eman must be wondering if she has done the right right by stirring a hornet’s nest.
    But the fact of the matter is that both tragedies should not be linked to one another. Whatever happened in the Holocaust was very tragic and downplaying it because it happened to “Our Enemies” i.e the jews doesnt lessen the tragedy but only increases our own bigotry. Cruelty and suffering are the same no matter who does it and to whom it is done to. But does that mean that the Holocaust can now be used as a means to perpetuate some sick zionist ideas against the palestinian population..well ofcourse not. This conflict can only be resolved by discussion and not be beating each other over the head.
    Replying to the brother who chided Eman for her listing “Zionist’ books…
    Brother, The first step towards peace is empathy for each other’s suffering.

  23. Yishay

    I think it is great that a Saudi woman takes time to visit Anne Frank’s house and to recommend reading of holocaust material to Arabs. This is the beginning of the long road to understanding and peace. I hope in time, Israelis will also open their heart to Palestinian suffering in 1948, but I realize that this is difficult to do while the conflict rages on, much like many Americans understand the plight of the Indians now, but could not pay attention to it in the 19th century.
    I think the line “One of the world’s strongest armies occupying an Arab country since 1948” optimizes Israeli fears. While polls show most of them support a Palestinian state, they are afraid that that establishing such a state in Gaza and the West Bank, will only serve as a base to destroying the rest of Israel, since the Arab world does not agree to Israel even in its pre 1967 borders.

  24. Like most of your posts, this is both encouraging and depressing. You surely know that Israel was just one of the countries that emerged from the Ottoman Empire after its defeat in the Great War of 1914 – 1918 and that, while its actual foundation was delayed by international machinations and spurred by the Holocaust, it is not a response to the Holocaust.

    You must also know that Hamas make a religious claim to Israel – and enshrine this in their Charter. They say it must be Muslim (not Palestinian) because it was once conquered by a Muslim army. They also say the same about southern Spain.

    You should also realise that ultra-Zionists are as representative of Israel as the Religious Police are of Saudi Arabia. Not all Saudis would insist young women burn to death in their school rather than escape in ‘immodest’ attire.

    If Israel is genocidal, how has the population of the Palestinian territories gone from (from memory) 200,000 in 1948 to 2.5 million today? Are they really that inefficient?

    Yet you did go to Anne Frank’s house and you see your shared humanity with her. Good for you.

  25. Jerry M

    “One of the world’s strongest armies occupying an Arab country since 1948 and backed by the world’s strongest nation both financially and politically.”

    In 1948 the Israelis were certainly not possessed of one of the worlds strongest armies. The US may have recognized Israel immediately but the US provide no military aid in the early years. US citizens did give money to Israel but that is quite another matter. The US only became a backer of Israel militarily around the time of the 1967 war. Why the Arab attempts at unseating the early Israeli settlers and their army failed, I don’t know but it had nothing to do with US aid.

  26. “… the US provide no military aid in the early years”

    In fact, the US operated an arms embargo against Israel from 1947 to 1962, then re-instated it in 1967. The supply of arms from 1962, broken by the 1967 resumption, was a response to Soviet arms supplies to Egypt.

  27. Incidentally, the appalling yellow badge you feature in your post was introduced for Jews first by the Caliph in Baghdad, 12 centuries ago. Members of other religions were made to wear them too, in different parts of the world under Muslim rule.

    There certainly is a long record of oppression, but it runs in the opposite direction to the one you suggest. and extends to the ‘Jewish Nakba’ of the last century when 1 million Jews were forced out of their homes in Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Though this started before the establishment of Israel, they were eventually able to take refuge in that country.

    • TomW

      As a matter of fact the one million Jewish refugees from Muslim countries lost lands that, if put together, would amount to a much larger territory than the whole of Israel.
      When talking about the “right of return”, for me these people also come to mind. I wonder whether the Jewish refugees would be welcome to their old homes and lands in case the dreams of those who wish to see Israel dismantled came true.

      • Mary

        I think that is a very good question.
        Firstly, I hope that those people who are Jewish and choose to live in Israel will never feel they have to leave it. I would hope that a nation, or set of states can be built that will give equal rights, protections and opportunities to everyone chooses to be a citizen.
        Secondly, I would hope any country in the modern world would be welcoming to a new Jewish immigrant.
        I had heard in other conversation that Germany would like to rebuild it’s Jewish community, and one has to wonder if a Jewish family would feel comfortable settling there. A little internet research brings up a page from the European Jewish Congress that says the population is grown, mainly fuelled by Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Very interesting.

  28. jay kactuz

    Let me see if I get this right. A Muslim – one that loves and follows Mohammed, the guy that ordered Muslims to expel of Jewish tribes from Arabia (Allah told him to), where they had lived for hundreds of years, is complaining about jews expelling Muslims from their lands. Isn’t that kind of hypocritical? Or is it that if Mohammad did something, like attack others, plunder their homes, enslave them or send them packing, then it is fine and dandy, but if those evil jews do it, it is is really really really bad.

    So we have a posting that talks about the evils of the jews, again, yet fails to mention that Jews have lived there almost continually for 3,000 years. Perhaps one should read the journals of Marx or Mark Twain, both of whom traveled to Jerusalem in the mid 1800s. They have interesting observations on the populations, including jews, in the so-called Holy Land. One also notes the failure to talk about the fact that the Arabs / Palestinians / Muslims failed to accept the partition in 1947 and immediately attacked the jews, promising “to drive them into the sea”. Doesn’t sound as if those nice loving Arabs / Muslims gave the jews much choice. And finally there is the small detail about the hundreds of thousands of jews expelled from Arab lands after 1948. Why doesn’t the writer mention this?

    But then again, the purpose of the palestinians is to perpetuate hate and violence. By focusing on the “suffering” of the palestinians, it gives meaning to muslims and arabs. Islam fits nicely into this mentality – a perfect match.

    I do agree with one thing the writer says: “the real Ground Zero, the place where West and East clash and the origin and motivation of all misunderstandings between us is the Palestinian/Israeli conflict”. If an alien from Mars were to land on this planet and watch the news for a year or two, he/she would think that most of the problems of the world were located there. In a strange way I find this fascinating. My Dad is a Christian Fundamentalist (one of those) and ever since I was a boy in the 1950s he has been saying that the nations will turn against Israel and the Good Lord will settle things for once and all time (You know, the prophecies of Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc…). After 1967 he was ecstactic. I was always skeptical. Even so, I have to admit that the Muslims are doing everything they can to make the dream of Protestant Evangelicals come true. The Christians Fundies may breed a red heifer or talk about Armageddon, but it is the Muslims that are doing to hard work to wipe Israel and the jewish people off the face of the planet and make the Christian ‘last days’ scenario come true (Maybe it would be best for the rest of us if the jews and Muslims kill each other off????)

    In my opinion, the Mussies are winning (at least the PR war), mostly because of their focus on the palestinians and oil. Or again, did god put oil in that region specifically to contribute to this turmoil? (So many questions! Are we being set up by god, a god? the god?) Well, if it boils down to Jehovah vs Allah (the Orthodox Jewish idea) or Jesus vs Allah (The Christie thing!), I am sure not going to put any money on Allah.

    I, too, digress. One last thing. Since you are from Arabia, I want to share the words spoken by me by an Israeli many years ago, someone with connections to high places. He said that if Israel is destroyed by Arabs (he was thinking nuclear weapons) he said that it had already been decided that
    Israel would not go alone. The Jews would make sure that every single major Muslim city within 1000 miles would be destroyed also, including Jeddah and Mecca. He said that almost all leaders in Israel understand that the jews cannot depend upon any country and have only themselves to trust in (He was a secular jew!). The man said that this action (destroying Muslims countries and Islam) would be the jews last gift to humanity.

    What I am saying is, like the ending dialogue in the old Planet of the Apes movie, is ” be careful what you wish for”.

    Jay Kactuz

    • les king

      What a contemptuos backwardlooking, backwardthinking hate monger you are Mr Jay Kactuz, and as is usual the same old opinions based on a selective choice and selection of historical facts and theories. Committing one’s self to such a narrow blinkered viewpoint from which to start from is it any wonder your argument takes the debate no further forward, just more constricted waffle fueled by hatred and more literary manure to add to the alreday considerable pile of such such negativity. If you cant escape this limited mindscope better you keep it to yourself Jay, the problems of the Middle East are going to have to be addressed and wheter you like it or nor Jay, the Palestinian issue is the root system of a situation that breeds fanatacism, on both sides, it is going to take people with a real desire to act for the future and the ability not to be shackled by thier versions of the past. That a Saudi should be able to invoke genuine debate using her moving opinions after visiting the Anne Frank museum is a welcome contribution. I wonder if you, Jay could offer something similar after visiting the former Lebanese refugee camps of Shatila and Sabra where mailny Paestinan women and children were massacred in 1982. Thers one truth that is undeniable to any and everyone, theres sufficent hatred on this issue to go around, lets hope that ideas, and writings by people such as Saudiwoman can bring rational debate and consideration to this matter, anything less will just maintain the current status quo, i heard a beautiful saying just today which i consider apt for ending this opinion, it goes, ” even the biggest rain storms begin with just a few small drops of water” the article by Saudiwoman is one such little drop and kudos to her for it, as for you Mr Jay Kactuz, if you cant bring anything useful then dont bother bringing anything.

    • Perhaps how the Jews got exiled most is associated to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. It was destroyed twice. It was the Babylonians who destroyed the First Temple & the Romans who destroyed the Second Temple. This second destruction was just after the magnificent Temple extensions, and there was a reason for it’s destruction – I’m thinking Jesus. Ever since it wasn’t rebuilt. & the rubbles remains till this very day.

      Yes. Jerusalem has a fascinating history which goes way back. True, Israelites lived there. But they – Jacob (Israel) & his sons (children of Israel) – had also left it & migrated to Egypt. Only during Moses time, they went out of Egypt. When Moses told them to enter the Holy Land, for some reason they didn’t & wandered the desert for 40 years.

      Their spectacular rule of that place was during King David & Soloman. Soloman was the one who built the First Temple. But after him, it broke up into Israel & Judah, which were crushed by Assyrians & Babylonians. Then it came under Greeks, Jews, Roman, Persians, Byzantium. Muslims came to rule the land for centuries – interrupted only by the crusades. Only in 1917, the Muslim Ottoman fell to the British.

      When the Holocaust happened, it brought massive jewish immigration into Palestine. Did the British support the immigration? I wonder what happened. But anyway, the changed demographic leads to conflicts between Arabs & Jews. War broke. & in 1948 the Israel state was declared. 1967 Israel claim more land – the occupied territories.

      I don’t think only the Jews inhabited the place, as the Arab Mariam Amash was born there in 1888 during the Ottoman. Arabs lived there even before the current conflict. & they have the right to their homeland.

      The 12 commandments has be good to your neighbours.

      BTW, if you can research yourself, maybe you can answer if Saladin permitted the Jews to resettle in Jerusalem. All & all, I seek refuge from Allah SWT from errors, pls correct me if ever.

      • Sorry the 10 commandments!
        I was thinking of the 12 tribes, and the lost tribes (^v^). I myself like to wonder, wouldn’t it be nice if I’m from the tribe Manasseh – coz Ezekiel Aaron Manasseh was the first Jew to settle in my country. If am I am, maybe I could make aliyah.

    • Not just Saladin, also Umar Al Khattab.
      I seek refuge in Allah SWT from errors.
      Only Allah SWT Knows Best والله أعلم

      • Ulrich Eggert

        Definitely the British did not support jewish immigration into Palestine – alt least not in the scale that set in after 1945 (as one example see the story of the ship “Exodus”). They clearly saw trouble ahead. This made the zionist extremists attack the british administration even more fiercely (see the bomb attack onto the “King David” hotel in 1946).

        Apart from all this and having read so many comments on Saudiwoman’s article, looking at the subject from all kinds of view: if every people in the world claimed exclusive rights onto the lands they settled on two thousand yeas ago – what a bloody mess we had!

  29. Cathy

    My husband actually suggested that if a thousand years ago, everyone was made to marry someone of a different colour and five hundred years ago, everyone had to marry someone from a different religeon, then today there would be no hate, no persecution, no intolerance. It seems we live in a world now where we do not celebrate difference in culture, religeon etc but decriminate instead. Children are born into hate and know no different so the wars and violense towards each other will continue. Perhaps we need to start at the very beginning in that we are all human, we are all capable of kindness. Strip back the outer layers of hatred and find a commonality and build on that.
    I wonder how many thumbs down I will get for such thoughts….

  30. Sue Bingham

    Thank you Eman for this brave, thoughtful, and thought-provoking post.
    The writing of Anne Frank puts a human face on the suffering of the powerless at the hand of the brutal and powerful. The terrible irony is history repeating itself in Palestine. When contemplating the current agony of both the Palestinian and Israeli people, I find myself thinking of Nietzsche’s aphorism: “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” As human beings, we need to consciously turn away from that abyss and instead see our own humanity mirrored in the faces of others.
    Thank you again.

  31. Brasileira

    Free Palestine and stop supporting Israel is all I have to say. If Jews want their own country then THEY need to financially support themselves and see how well they do. This conflict is the root of the Middle East and in other countries we see this as a very obvious thing. The US needs to stop foreign aid period and see how the “terror” problem becomes. Arab leaders are also to blame as they as selling out their people for money. I don’t care if Jews had the land long ago…they lost it and have no right to claim it, so give Palestine back to the people who were living there for hundreds of years. It’s only a matter of time…..

    • Shaikha -Saudi

      True, it’s a matter of time , Palastine will be back to it’s people , I personally teach my kids that their stolen land that is being occupied , is for us to have back

    • Dave Lister

      That was nonsensical. It’s ok for the Jews to be kicked off and they have no right to go back, but the local Arabs do? All of history is filled with such occurring, but usually the losers were eradicated or absorbed, not allowed to agitate and fester on the margins of what they’d lost. The Arabs control 99% of the land in the middle east, it’s time for them to stop whining that they don’t control the other 1%. They won’t.

  32. Jack Augsbury

    It seems we have gotten off track in the contributions. Let me say that I applaud visiting the Anne Frank home and I hope to visit there some day. It is not really productive to compare holocausts. Which was worse is not a productive question in my mind.
    The slaughter of the Rwandan holocaust, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Armenian genocide, Germany’s World War II holocaust and the last 50 years in Palestine are all horrible but who is going to rate these tragedies? Certainly I cannot.
    This list is not by any means an attempt to list all of the world’s injustices because one does not eclipse another and there are many more.
    Perhaps I am a sissy but I don’t even like to watch the dolphin slaughter in the video, “The Cove”.
    I advocate a timeout from the violence on all sides.

  33. QM

    I wonder what it is about human beings that allows us to persecute, torture and inflict cruelty and injustice upon innocent people who have never done us any harm. We carry baggage for centuries, never learning from history, never looking back and taking a leaf out of someone’s book, and never realizing that the power to stop discrimination and injustice is in our hands, in this very moment. It’s tragic that we go on the way we do.

    I loved Anne Frank’s diary and I think she would be appalled at the way things are. It’s obvious that the Israelis are a long-persecuted people but surely the Palestinians that die today aren’t responsible for their ancestor’s actions!

    And surely a race that has suffered so much must understand that discrimination, genocide and war beget nothing but suffering? How can this not be obvious to people and how can we still be looking so hard for a peaceful solution?! It never ceases to amaze me as to how thick human beings can be.

  34. Mark Blinder

    I stopped reading after

    “This is why Arabs radicalize, it is why they hate not only Israelis but also Americans. One of the world’s strongest armies occupying an Arab country since 1948 and backed by the world’s strongest nation both financially and politically. Their only argument for their atrocities is that God promised us this land. What would you do if someone came and kicked you out of your home, off your land and even denied your very existence because “God told him to”? ”

    So many biases, so many historical inaccuracies (I guess you never heard about the USSR financial and military support for Egypt, Syria and other Arab countries in the wars against Israel.
    Just so you’ll know – Jews have lived in that area for thousands of years – way before the Islam was created or Arabs came to this land. This is not the point though.

    We could have shared this land together – Muslims, Jews and Christians. But for that everybody need to be on the same page about the right of Jews to live here. if even you can’t understand it I guess we have a long way to go.

  35. Eva de M

    The fact that you “…stopped reading after…” is a metaphor for what’s going on in the Middle East. Mark, why don’t you continue reading what Eman so eloquently expressed?

    • Mark Blinder


      That paragraph (and another comment below me) suggest that Jews have no place in Israel. All over this page you can find distorted historical facts (I hope you guys know that the protocols weren’t written by Zionists – it was a plot to frame Jews and it’s working pretty well apparently).

      Once the question of the right of Jews to live in this part of the world in their own state is questioned there is no point to discuss anything further.


    Interesting argument this, living there since last 3000 years. Fact is, they never had the will to fight and Moses had to dump them. So he did. Now if this equation holds true that they deserve the land because they lived there when they actually never did, then let the americans relinquish the US to the natives, australians to the Aborigines, half of asia to the chinese…

    Holocaust was financed by the zionists themselves. Prescot Bush was known to be one. Who financed Hitler? Ford made one of the biggest investments in Germany after Nazis took over. And so did other known “corporates”. This was all staged.

    For the record, Muhammad, the last Prophet of Allah, never ousted jews from then Yasrab now Madinah. The jews knew only too well that Islam was the religion they had been informed of. Refer to the Songs of Solomon in the Old Testament. Ilohim and Muhammedim are clearly mentioned, I guess in verse 5 and 6, but definitely in Songs of Solomon. The jews gathered outside of Madinah in Khyber and wanted to raid Madinah alongwith others who wanted to somehow stop the spread of Islam. The ensuing battle had them leave the area, never to be able to return again.

    Now for the Muslim world in particular and the world in general, there are other ways of settling this. Almost every Muslim country is trading with Israel. Or benefiting from what the Israelis gave to this world. Why not start by recognising the state of Israel and then taking it further. For Israel, it will really help if they stopped lying and conducting operations like Cast Lead or the raid on the aid convoy or Sabra and Shatila killings. Even the recent ones. Or AIPAC being TOLD to minus the lobbying of Holocaust as assignments that carry upto 35% weight-age. Some same people in Israel must denounce the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and let there be a solution to the problem till the very end they know of.


    Ah yes, the protocols have nothing to do with jews! Perhaps Theodore Herzl can be explained then.

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  39. TomW

    As a last word I would like to note that nobody seems to want to notice the suffering of the Palestinians who live outside the West Bank and Gaza, in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, etc. Kept as refugees in squalor for over 60 years, pushed down, never allowed citizenship of those countries, never accepted. Instead they are used to this day as uneducated labourers in other Arab countries, exploited, looked down upon, and fed a steady diet of hatred against the Jews and the West, so that when in exasperation they hurl themselves against Israel (rockets, suicide attacks) and the Israelis hit back, then the World can unite in a “righteous” uproar against the vile Jews…

    • Mary

      This is an important issue, you are correct.
      It would be nice to see this explore, say by Al Jeezra. It would be nice to see other Arab countries challenged to be more accepting of these people who, after 60 years, can no longer be thought of as guests but as multigenerational residents. If they grant full citizenship and if it is accepted, I think they will find themselves enriched by an intelligent, energetic, ambitious people they will become very proud to call their own.
      People of Palesitinian heritage in the US that I have met seem to be serious students, I haven’t met anyone who isn’t a ‘professional’, but I suppose they must work in all kinds of jobs. Personally I would like to gather up all the Palestinian refugees, bring them to the US, give them a little aid and scholarships to get started and then declare “YES, We got the prize! Great people to make our country even better!’ But.. I think they want to BE Palestinians. And I think they have that right.

    • les king

      its a very important point you raise TomW, the actions of those Arab countries that have became refuges for those hundreds of thousands of the Palestinian dispora have done very little for those who have now been in these host countries for a generation or more. Used politically for the ends of their host goverments and dictatorships they deserve more and are entittled to it after all this time. But, and its a big ‘but’, the Israleies are going to have to accept that no matter how long these poor people have been refugees in other countries they are Palestinian by birth and therefore must be part of any potential settlement.

  40. Almaha

    I don’t know why you’re citing a tragic story of a Jewish girl to talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is indeed misleading and you only see what the Zionists want the world to see.

    I highly recommend The Holocaust Industry by Norman Finkelstein .

    • les king

      Everyone has his or hers own eyes and a mind to see and understand what is there for all to see. The book and its author is wel known ‘Holocaust’ denial propagandist, it belittles you to think that everyone is so feebleminded that no-one can see beyond dogma and predujice. Israel is a country and the Palestinians deserve a country & future also, its a shame that the vested interests of the USA and the inter politics of the Middle East, mostly ruled by despotic regimes, though thank goodness for the Arab Spring and long may it last, cannot see beyond their own interests and work for real, true parity between the two peoples, Israelies and Palestinians so that co-existence be possible, With that aim in mind Almaha what good do you really think a Nazi apologist is going to ring to the debate, open your eyes and mind and take a peek over the dogma.

  41. Amal O

    I only agree witht you in the part of how tragic was the holocoust . it is the same feeling we have with any inhumane crime. but I strongly disgree that we can accept that as thier excuse for thier creulity .. if any this experience should had left more sensetive humen beigns defendig other peolps and minorities’ rights . so please do not mix issues togther plus if they wanted to punish someone they have had Germany to do so this is the logic …but it is obviouse that there is a hidden agenda so please stop trying to look so cevliezed on the expense of the tourtured peolpe

  42. les king

    What is this constant need or desire, even requirement, to try and claim the sole emotional rights to ‘ toture, suffering & constant threat from any concieved emeny by radical minorities of extreme Zionests. There is no rexcuse for one man’s cruelty against another man for color, creed or religion. there is no exclusivity to suffering to anyone. The results of a one man’s cruelty and inhumanity to another man is his alone and will be on the bill come check – out time. To try and asscoiate such an inspiring life, even be it tragiically short. as Anna Frank’s with yet another sole claim to some part or portion of being ‘the eternal victim’ of the not so well ‘hidden agenda’ is really starting to sound as weak and pathetic as the rapidly growing worldwide public disgust with Israel’s continuing subjucation and degrading of the Palestinian people is sounding louder & stronger. Try peace with your neighbors, real peace without the USA’s big stick concealed behind your back, you never know, it might just work a little

  43. Francesca

    What a pity we didn’t meet when you were in the Netherlands. Yes, the social media have made it easier for us to know about other worlds than our own, to realize the pluriformity of human experience and as you say: enable us to realize our common humanity.
    We (people from around the world) can do this by interaction and by patient listening and exploration of each other’s thoughts, feelings and dreams. In this way we can improve local and global understanding, so we can live our dream of living in freedom and with respect for each other. So I appreciate that you take the time to lay out your thoughts concerning a wide array of themes in your blog and encourage you to keep your open mind in doing so. And let us readers do the same in our minds and words.

  44. Dave Lister

    This article was incredibly naive, not to mention ethnocentric. The only reason that it was “Arab land” is because the Arabs kicked the previous owners off and occupied it. This is true for most all of the countries considered “Arab” today – including Egypt and North Africa. Now out of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire the Arabs didn’t get control of a sliver along the coast and it sends them into paroxysms of irrationality. Saudi Arabia alone could have resettled and paid for every single on of these supposed refugees or oppressed to be taken care of, but it is useful to have the population agitating on the borders of Israel again due to the irrationality of the Arabs. The Palestinian Arabs are dupes for their supposed brethren in Arab ruled countries.

    Do you even know how Israel came to control the west bank of the Jordan? Do you know what country occupied the west bank and annexed it? Do you know what ethnicity makes up the majority of the population of that country? If the USA supports Israel it’s because the true position and aim of the Arab states is apparent – they still seek the eradication of Israel for daring to populate that sliver of land with non-Muslims and non-Arabs. If not for irrationality, this conflict would have been over decades ago. As things stand, Israel would stupid to let its guard down.

    • I cannot support the notion that people whose ancestors with displaced in 70 AD or therebouts have a right to return and reclaim land without an agreement with and compensation to it’s current holders. It is a shame that the Jewish people suffered in 70AD. But the world cannot repair all of the injustices that have ever happened within it, and we must all learn the lesson that small children must learn to cope with life… life is NOT fair.

      • Dave Lister

        Exactly. Life is not fair. It’s time for the Muslim world to stop whining that it should be in their case. The Palestinians were far from the only dispossessed following the two world wars. The whole nation of Saudi Arabia is a modern example of the warlord of a single tribe turning himself into “royalty” at the expense of all the others in the area.

        By the way, the Reconquista was 600 years ago and Muslims are still whining about that. Everywhere the Muslims have gone have in recent years turned into battlegrounds as they seek to suppress every other religion, most recently in Egypt, which was conquered by Arabs in 639AD. I can’t think of a single tolerant Arab Muslim state. Not one.

        I’d be willing to bet money that Israel would pay to have every single local Arab resettled in a country of their Arab brethren, but it won’t happen because not one of those countries would take them in. These west bank Arabs are useful dupes in keeping the turmoil going. For these reasons among others I will continue to support Israel.

  45. buzby

    Ever since the Romans destroyed our country (Judea) and kicked us out (killing millions) and re-naming it “Palestine” we Jews have stated – in our scripture, our songs, our poetry and our hearts – that we would return.

    And so we have.

    Please, make peace with us. Try and understand why this has happened. Together we can make the ME a great place, as great as Islamic Spain (when Jews and Muslims worked as one).

    War will only bring ruin. For both of us. Do you want this? I don’t.

    And well done for writing this article. If nothing else, it makes us human.

    As an Israeli, I am astonished…and very grateful.

  46. seo

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  47. BAHAR

    this conflict will not stop as long as we dont learn from our past.
    we talk about peace and living together but simply we cant.

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