Ada Aharoni on Middle East, Peace and WritingPosted: 2013/12/27
Text: Solveig Hansen
A Palestinian and an Israeli State side by side could trigger a domino effect of peace in the region and the world. The 1967 borders would give the Palestinians enough land to create a flourishing State of Palestine, and everybody would help them, including Israel. There were more Jews thrown out of Arab countries than Palestinians who fled Israel when the State of Israel was established. Extremist opinions and actions are major hurdles for the development of a real democracy in Egypt.
These were some of Prof. Aharoni’s answers to the questions from the Reddit community during her Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session. She also told the readers that she tries to write 8 hours a day. “8 hours,” a reader commented, “for those who think writing comes easy…”
What do you see as a solution(s) to the Israel-Palestine conflict? How long do you think this would take/occur?
A solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, in my opinion, would be a two-state solution: A State of Palestine and the State of Israel living in peace side by side, and flourishing together. IFLAC calls upon the leaders from both sides to compromise, with consideration of each others’ interests. This conflict has been raging for too long, with thousands of people who have been killed. A Palestinian State and Israeli State living side by side in peace and harmony could emerge into a domino effect of peace throughout the Middle East and the world. As to how long it would take? We at IFLAC hope that it will be like Secretary of State Kerry’s 9 month peace talks plan.
In your personal opinion, what specifically are some of the biggest hurdles that Egypt and the Middle East in general need to overcome to achieve Democracy?
Some of the major hurdles are fanaticism and the massive protests by the “Muslim Brotherhood” that do not believe in democracy. Extremist opinions and actions are dangerous hurdles that hinder the development of a real democracy in Egypt. However, we hope that the new young and democratic forces that yearn for progress and democracy in Egypt, helped by the Egyptian army, will soon be successful to overcome all the bigotry, and hatred hurdles on their way. I wish them lots of success, they deserve it!
What do you think of the United States of America trying to democratize Middle Eastern countries? Is it a positive or negative thing?
I think it is a very positive thing to encourage democracy in the Middle East. However, the United States seems not to know enough about the Middle East and should be very careful not to impose Western methods and thinking on Eastern countries. For instance, in the case of Egypt in the current crisis, at some point the US called on a collaboration between the “Muslim Brotherhood” party of ex president Moursi, and the democratic forces led by the Egyptian army, and this of course would not work, as the Egyptian people are trying to get rid of the influence of the “Muslim Brotherhood” that are against progress. This time, the US should let the Egyptian people do it their way in the paving of a real democracy, and the creation of a better life for the Egyptian people.
What are the similarities and differences between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi (Yiddish) literature? And, is Judeo-Arabic considered a living language?
There are several Judeo-Arabic dialects, like for instance the Moroccan one. Some of them are studied at certain universities in Israel, but there is almost no literature written in these dialects today.
There are indeed differences in the Sephardi and Ashkenazi literature. A great deal of the Ashkenazi Literature is based on the greatest tragedy that befell the Jewish people, THE NAZI SHOA. The Sephardi Literature deals a great deal with the tragedy of the uprooting of the Jews from the Arab Countries during the mid twentieth century, where they had lived for more than 2000 years. There were close to a million Jews in the Arab Countries in 1948. After the State of Israel was established they were ousted and escaped with only their shirts on their backs. This story is not well known and many of the Sephardi writers (like me), feel that it is our duty to tell it, through our experience and our research.
Could you describe your writing process?
I try to write at least 8 hours a day. I start my day with swimming in the pool then I write for 4 hours until lunch, another hour before going to sleep for an hour, then in the evening, after my other activities, I try to work for another 3 hours. One of my favorite authors is Saul Bellow, and I wrote my Ph.D. on “Saul Bellow’s Introspective Voice” before he got the Nobel Prize for literature. My main theme throughout my work is PEACE and a world beyond war.