Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who Do They Blame It On?

Last night on one of the Arabic TV channels a Palestinian was talking about the Shu'fat refugee camp located a few miles outside of Jerusalem. He described it as "Jerusalem's largest Palestinian refugee camp", to emphasize his point that Shu'fat's slum-like conditions are the fault of Israel.

Last December I visited Shu'fat. He's right; it's not a place I'd like to live and I feel sorry for the people who do, especially the children. But I have a problem with his blaming it all on Israel. Shu'fat is no worse than Dar As-Salam in Cairo, or the slums of Casablanca. This is how poor Arabs live everywhere. In Gaza and the West Bank they blame it on the Israelis. Who do they blame in Egypt and Morocco?

Speaking of Casablanca, I once accidentally got on a bus there filled with French tourists being taken around the city. One of the tourists asked the tour guide, "Are there slums here in Casablanca?" His proud reply was, "Non, il n'y a pas de bidonvilles ici a Casa." (Absolutely not!). Along the entire length of the street was a high concrete wall. I knew that just behind that wall was a slum as bad as you'll see anywhere in the world. But in typical Arab tradition, the unpleasant is hidden from view and can easily be denied.


aemish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aemish said...

To conflate Cairo with a Palestinian refugee camp is bizarre to say the least.

aemish said...

Please consider the addition of an edit feature for posters in your comment section. When I went to add some links, I realized it would look cleaner if they were simply contained in one post. Because there is no edit feature, I figured deleting the post and just starting fresh might be an acceptable recourse, but now it only looks like I said something I regretted (because the deleted post did not in actuality truly delete) and this is not the case. In my efforts to defrag my own comments into one, I've now posted three! :/