Thursday, January 05, 2006

A police car swerved to a stop in front of the bus to Tel Aviv. I guess the driver had tipped them off. The came right on board and went straight for the guy in the seat in front of me. "Papers!" he snapped. The thought crossed my mind that we might be about to blow up, but the Palestinian was apparently used to the procedure and just gave the cop his green ID card. Mine is blue. He protested mildly that he hadn't done anything, but the cop just shouted : "Don't fuck with me! you know you aren't allowed to ride this bus!" He took him and two other Arabs off the bus. It was demeaning to watch. I felt like calling out to the cop: 'hey don't shout at him like that !' But I didn't say a word, nor did any other passenger. What good would it haave done? The cop was there to protect me, to try help stem the flow of Palestinians who enter Israel without permits. 99.9% are just traveling to work, but others come to steal cars or plant bombs. Fact of life. I see a cop treat people like shit but I dont do a thing. My childish instincts of fair play are constrained by bitter experience. Ordinary people, who fancy themselves as free agents are trapped in a historical and political paradigm. We go to work , run our lives like we were in late 20th Century Europe or US, we even watch old "Seinfeld" reruns. But this shit is going on all the time Two of the Palestinians were allowed back on the bus, the third was detained and would be sent back home to his village. Happens a thousand times a day.


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