Friday, October 14, 2005

A borderline existence (Ha'aretz)

A curious tale:

Tom Hanks lived in an airport. Mahmoud Shaniq lives at a checkpoint. Hanks was in a movie, Shaniq is doing it in real life. When push comes to shove, though, it's more comfortable to live in a modern airport terminal than at an Israel Defense Forces checkpoint in the occupied territories. It is not clear why the character played by Hanks chose to live in the airport in the film 'Terminal.' However, it is perfectly clear why Shaniq chooses to live at the checkpoint: he has no other choice, because he wants to go on living. He is barred from moving to the west of the checkpoint, which is Israeli territory, and he is convinced that if he takes a few steps to the east, toward the West Bank, he will be liquidated immediately. Shaniq is known in the West Bank as a collaborator with Israel.
To cut a complicated story simple, this Palestinian, Shariq, appears to be extremely unlucky, having been struck with, in the correspondent's words, the "mark of Cain" -- that of being accused of collaboration with the Israelis, an accusation he denies. A tale of flitting between home and abroad, trying not to be killed or deported, describes his life so far. And now, after really having collaborated with the Israelis to try and be allowed to stay there, he has been kicked out one final time, and has nowhere to go. Except Hollywood, of course. I think he should at least try.


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