I finished reading "Confessions of a Good Arab".
I find it a very good book still, but somehow I was a bit dissappointed in the ending. It ends the way it began. There's no hope.
"We should have learnt how to build a bridge between Josef and Youssouf, between myself and myself, between my mother's son and my father's son. But I never was able to build such a bridge. Only my parents were able to do so. But what happened to them? My mother died to save herself from the neverending sadness. My parents were the last innocent people of this century, the last knights, they truly believed that with their love they could build a bridge. They didn't know how big the gap was between them. ...
The battle will continue. The end is not to be seen yet. My father and my grandfather will continue to kill each other. What a world, what kind of people, what a faith, what a mess..."
I didn't expect a happy ending. It's a realistic story and in the current reality a happy ending is not to be expected soon (despite Obama's attempts to promote peace). It's understandable that Josef cannot end the Middle-East conflict (all by himself / together with others). But why can't he stop the conflict inside of him? He said he wished he had grown up in France, where he was born. Then he would have become a French painter. But why can't he become a French painter now? He can get to know the country, the culture. He can become French as part of his identity, why not? We are not restricted by our roots, we can put them in new ground and continue to grow. By the agressive Jewish policemen he was labelled as a dirty Arab and beaten down. By Arabs he was considered a Jewish traitor / enemy. But these are just labels that others used for him. Crazy racist labels. Why can't he just be himself and no longer care whether his true nature is Israelian or Palestinian or how he should combine these two sides. Why should he be torn apart by the two sides? Just let them be.
I think that if there is one person who can really build a bridge, then it should be Josef. To build a bridge to the other, you have to go to him / her, to meet this person, to get to know the other, care for the other. You realise the other is a human being just like you. You feel responsible for what you do to the other, you take your responsibility. Josef really knows the other because he is the other himself, from both sides. If there's one person who really wants peace between Israel and Palestine, it's Josef. Then there will be peace inside of him. It's a pity he lost his hope.
Stefan on Orkut says that wishful thinking is not an option. But I think I will just continue my wishful thinking :)