Yes, again, one fo the speakers at TEDxRamallah inspired a blog post for me. TEDxDeadSea is today and I’m bummed that I won’t be getting another 2-3 weeks worth of blog posts out of it. Soon, I bet I’ll be trawling through the TED site for things to push my thought processes. At any rate, one of the guys at TEDxRamallah gave a talk entitled Decolonizing the Mind. I missed most of it, but found the title theme compelling. Basically, he talked about how the occupation or colonization of the mind is the worst type. Palestinians need to “decolonize their minds.”
I both agree and disagree with him on this. I agree that occupation of the mind is the worst. But, I also think that huge swaths of Palestinians have found amazing ways to overcome this. I’m not talking about those people who see no future, the ones who feel their best or only option is a suicide bomb. Those folks succumbed to the colonization of the mind that they felt. I would hope and wish that in their shoes I wouldn’t do the same, but have no certainty of that. Their living conditions are so rough that I honestly have no idea what I would do.
But, look at the Palestinians as a whole. It is not a society of suicide bombers. It is, rather a society of people who continue to live. It is people who build a house and when the Israelis tear it down, they build it again… and again… and again. These are people who have hope for the future. They are people who have chosen a richer life rather than a poorer one (spiritually, I mean). They are people who have steadfastly refused to be colonized. They won’t be occupied. And this, ladies and gentlemen, this is what the Israelis fear. This is what they can’t handle. They can neither imagine nor fathom an approach to deal with people who refuse to be subjugated and just lie down and die from poor treatment. But, ah, the Palestinian spirit is far, far beyond that. The strength of will is far, far beyond that. And they find ways, each his own, to decolonize his mind. They cast off the occupation of their hopes and dreams. They know that one day, a better life will come in fact, as well as in dreams.