Since I was a teenager, I read all I could get my hands on, especially about the Middle East. I was tormented by "our", western, perception of the (Middle) East and Arab people, and Islam and Muslims in general. It always seemed to me like something was missing. It was just one side of the story. It was always about the representation, never allowing people to (re)present themselves. So I tried to read, educate myself, shift my perspectives, and - write.
I run a blog on Middle East (revised), write articles about the Middle East, I’m learning Arabic, I’ve traveled to the Middle East (a bit), I did Palestine Film Weeks in Zagreb, and started several intiatives concerning Israeli – Palestinian conflict…
Still, it happens so often that people ask me “so, is your father/mother from Palestine?”, “do you have relatives in the Middle East?”, “WHY Palestine?”, “WHY Middle East?”...
They can't wrap their heads around it. To me, those questions seem so excessive, so unnecessary… it makes me so sad that I have to explain why I am interested in people I share no blood and no land with, why I want to understand the puzzles of their lives, why I want to help somebody I don’t know, and who doesn’t know me.
I usually just answer “because it’s not far.” Sometimes I expand the sentence and add “because it lasts so long…because people suffer… because it’s a war… because I want to explore… because I think it’s the biggest test of our time and our humanity… because I just want to be able to say ‘I did all I could do’”…I believe in people, not despite of everything, but because of everything (I need to believe in order to change).
It seems we’re so alienated. From the strangers walking by our side, from the people on the TV, from everything we can’t directly benefit from (whether emotionally or financially). It’s the system, it’s capitalism. Sure, but we are the ones feeding the monster.
It’s the reason why all these issues continue to exist. It’s the reason why israeli – palestinian conflict still lasts. Ignorance, status quo, not enough pressure, not enough support. Not just among the political leadership, among all those masses standing behind the political leaderships (we’re the ones keeping them alive, not the other way around).
That's why I am doing this. I am trying to do as much as I can – writing about the issues, culture, places, people… Trying to understand and contribute in my own little way.