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December 12, 2001

Videos for world peace
Posted by Teresa at 12:00 PM *

I don’t know which is more appalling: Today’s story about the Chairman of the Jewish Defense League being caught — pretty much red-handed, if the story’s to be believed — planning to blow up a mosque and the offices of a Lebanese-American congressman, or this one about nine-year-old Palestinian kids growing up in the camps, who’re being taught to admire suicide bombers and play with toy dynamite belts.

I decided a week or two ago that henceforth I’m siding with whatever power or country or faction puts the best information and the fewest lies and hogwash nationalist myths into the schoolbooks of their eight- and nine-year-olds.

But as I remarked to Patrick: Who besides Hamas is paying attention to little Palestinian kids in refugee camps? Is anyone teaching them music? Showing them how to tie knots? Telling them stories? Taking them to the movies?

Do we even have the basic low cunning to send them lots of videotapes of American movies, just for entertainment purposes you understand?

That’s my idea of a good charity: Second-hand American videotapes. Have an address where you can send ‘em to be exported to impoverished Middle Easterners. If you want to be really generous, send your old VCR when you upgrade. And while you’re at it, throw some Bollywood and Hong Kong videos and some telenovelas into the mix.

Don’t hand them out. Have some corner of the camp or school or community center where they’re jumbled out onto a shelf in no particular order, like unread books in a library. Every so often, come in and quietly fill the gaps where tapes have been borrowed or stolen. If at all possible, arrange to have places nearby where it’s not too hard to arrange to discreetly watch a few videotapes of an evening — maybe by yourself, maybe with a couple of friends.

In ten years, we clean up selling popcorn to the world market.

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