Friday, 30 November 2012

Things Palestinians should say to wanky people who say they want to go to Israel

My face.

What do you say or do when a person who, upon finding out that you are Palestinian, replies with: "Oh, I want to go to Israel!"

Similarly, what do you say or do when a person replies with: "Ah, yes, Pakistan! I have a Pakistani friend."

Similarly, what do you say or do when a person replies with: "Where's/what's that?" 

Similarly, what do you say or do when a person replies with awkward silence.


All of the above makes me want to throw a proverbial shoe or two at the person.

But the one that makes me want to aim a pair of ballet flats for real and not just in my mind Iraqi-journalist-style is "Oh, I want to go to Israel!". Someone said it to me this week. This person essentially told me, in a handful of words, that they want to frolic in my dispossessed ancestral homeland currently settled and colonised by the state of Israel. What is it about "Palestinian" that elicits that sort of response? Whatever happened to just saying "oh, cool/right/interesting" and moving along - just like how the rest of us do it?

People have said similar things to me a few times before, and I normally reply with "I want to go to Palestine too" while staring long and deep into their soul (and mentally filing them into my You're A Dick category), but this time, instead of saying something, I just sniggered to myself and let the person crap on. 

So I thought I'd have a few responses handy for myself and other Palestinians who have to put up with this kind of snideness. Things I should've said slash things that I will say next time slash things you should say next time in response to "Oh, I want to go to Israel":

"Mate. Are you aware that you just glorified colonialism and denied my heritage and ancestral homeland by acknowledging an occupying state? You know you just did that, right?"
 "Oh, you want to go to Israel? Isn't it cool how you, this stranger, can enter freely while millions of indigenous Palestinian refugees are denied entry and right of return?"
"Oh, you want to go to Israel? Do you also want to go back to South Africa in 1950?" 
"Oh, you want to go to Israel? Are you doing a case study on apartheid and military occupation? Investigating on the ground I suppose?" 
"Oh, you want to go to Israel? You might get to play 'Who Can Keep Their Eyes Open The Longest Around Tear Gas'! A classic." 
"Oh, you want to go to Israel? Make sure to take photos of those weird looking third-class citizens and upload them on Instagram. Use the hashtag #ActuallyJordanian." 
And one that's simple and straightforward, "Oh, you want to go to Israel? It was nice knowing you."


Patrick Harrison said...

Love it! Even after spending months there as a solidarity activist my parents still struggle to tell people that I visited "Palestine" rather than "Israel"... but their eyes [and vocabulary] have certainly been opened through the experience.

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