Israel Stories

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Astronomer

When Mahmoud explained the recent solar eclipse to his fellow laborers no one could have predicted it would end in violence and a very near fatality.

Picture the scene a half built apartment block somewhere in Jerusalem. The news has announced that there will be a partial solar eclipse. The Romanian, Thai and Arab workers all react differently. The Romanian takes it in his stride, its just a natural event he comments, happens all the time. The Thai worker has a slightly more spiritual view claiming that just the fate of the world in for a change as the sun hides its face. The Arab claims it’s a Zionist plot to shield the sun so the Palestinian crops cannot grow.

The other two laborers laugh at him explaining that if that’s the case why is there an eclipse in Israel to? The Mahmoud retorts that it is to lull the world in to a false sense of security covering lies with lies.

Text book stuff I’d say.

Mahmoud’s friend arrives and the other workers explain their feelings about the eclipse. His friend explains that it is the way of Allah who controls the heavens and move the planets. The Romanian and the Thai are also satisfied with that answer. It’s a standard religious belief that they are not going to argue with.

But Mahmoud’s face flushed and he started shouting in Arabic at his friend. Then, from his pocket, he produced in Arabic and Hebrew a pamphlet printed on green paper with the title Tomorrows Solar Eclipse – A Zionist Plot. The pamphlet explained in great detail how the Israelis, using American technology had managed to fake the affects of a solar eclipse and divert the suns energy away from Palestinian fields in order to cause great hardship on the Palestinian economy.

Now you’re reading this saying, ‘yeh, yeh’, but you have to believe it’s true. The truth is with all the crazy notions the Palestinian propaganda machine has come up with this really pales into insignificants.

A so in the spirit of true brotherhood, diplomacy and tolerance Mahmoud and his friend began to push each other, just a little at first and then harder and harder and then the fists come out. Between shouts of collaborator and infidel, Mahmoud started to pound his friend.

The Thai and Romanian turned their backs and got on with their work.

Eventually the site foreman decided to intervene and called for the police and an ambulance. They interviewed everyone at the scene except the Thai who had vanished and the foreman denied all knowledge of him.

Mahmoud was arrested, still screaming conspiracy and decrying most of astrophysics as a Zionist plot, even to the extent that this fight was perpetrated in order to sow the seeds of disunity among the Arabs and Palestinians.

Mahmouds friend then turned to his Romanian counterpart and said “isn’t education a wonderful gift.”