Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Quarrel on the Titanic

A Quarrel on the Titanic by Uri Avnery at

One of the happiest moments in my life occurred in a restaurant.

It happened before the second intifada. I had invited Rachel to celebrate her birthday with dinner at a famous restaurant in Ramallah.

We were sitting in the garden under strings of colorful lights, the air was fragrant with the perfume of flowers and the waiters were hurrying back and forth with laden trays. We ate Mussakhan, the Palestinian national dish (chicken with tahini baked on pita bread), and I drank arak. Our waiter, who had overheard us talking, took our order in Hebrew. We were the only Israelis there. At the nearby tables, Arab families with the children in their best clothes, as well as a bride and groom with their wedding guests. Bursts of laughter punctuated the murmur of Arabic conversations, and spirits were high.

I was happy, and a sigh escaped me: “How wonderful this country could be, if only we had peace!”

This is what we want. Peace.

This is what the Democrats and the other war-mongers don't understand. That we can indeed all live together in peace. Throughout the entire Bush administration, the Democrat's position was never one of peace. The Democrats always criticized the Bush administration for being incompetent at war. But the Democrats never wanted peace. The Democrats merely claimed that they could be better war-mongers than the Republicans.

We want peace. We want to sit in restaurants, surrounded by those who we used to be told were our enemies, and we want to enjoy pleasant meals and good times.

This is what struck me the most when I was traveling on business in Europe. One could sit in a restaurant and hear so many different languages being spoken around you. Someone like me who's read lots of history knows that all of the speakers of these languages used to fight constant wars against each other. Now you hear the voices and the fluid flow of languages swirl around you while sitting peacefully in a restaurant.

Peace is possible. Most people want peace. Most of the world wants peace these days. This is why our leaders have to put so much time and effort into trying to make us all hate each other. Read the news today, and you see Obama and the Democrats stirring up hatred towards Iran in order to spark yet another war.

What I want, and what I think most people in the world want, would be to sit peacefully at a restaurant in Tehran, maybe on a patio, enjoying a beautiful spring evening with the other human beings around me.

Peace is what we want.

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