En Route to the Holy Land – A perspective for the Traveling Geeks

April 9, 2008 in Israel, It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (0)


It’s a land of contradiction – equal parts historic, economic, social, political and religious.
But no matter who you ask, most people would likely agree that the collective set of countries called the Middle East comprise one of the most fascinating – and conflicted – parts of the world. In particular, one of these countries elicits an immediate and almost visceral reaction from anyone of whom you might ask: “What do you think about Israel?”
Last week someone asked that very question on Seesmic. Actually the question that Kfir asked was: “What do you know about Israel?” Here is the query in his words:

It wasn’t long before a wave of people responded. The discussion had intense moments – sharp discord and heated debate followed quickly by an interesting thing … something that almost resembled detente.
Here are some of the posts from that thread:
Seth chimed in from NYC

Omer spoke up … from Israel

Tom Sparks chimed in, and the heated discussion began

Ramzi, an Arab man living in the US continued on Tom’s thoughts

Of course, I couldn’t stay out of it

And Ramzi replied

And of course since Seesmic is a conversation, Kfir came back and chimed in again … with a bit of surprise and gratitude:

I won’t put the whole thread here as it went on for about 50 replies, (oh for the day when I can embed a threaded conversation from Seesmic … it’s coming SOON!) … But I think the above give you the idea.
It’s not as though this discussion uncovered a solution to what is, in essence, a centuries-old conflict. But it did, I believe, reflect a glimmer of what could … might … can be possible if there can be found a way through which the various factions can be brought to the table – to talk, to listen, to communicate.
If there’s one thing I have learned from my relatively limited exposure to this part of the world, it is that as much as we in the padded comfort of the United States might think we know … that is precisely how little we actually comprehend.
And so it is into this land of contradiction I now go – writing as I sit at 35,000 feet, whooshing at a comforting 596 mph (with a less than comforting outside temperature of -67 degrees Fahrenheit) heading for a 10-day adventure in the Holy Land.
One thing is certain … it’s going to be an interesting trip.


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