217: Give It to Them
Aug 2, 2002
It's been two years since the Mideast peace process collapsed, two years in which each side has done terrible things to the other side. We wanted to understand what that has done to people living in Israel and the West Bank, and to see if anyone is feeling hope.
Host Ira Glass, along with This American Life contributors Adam Davidson and Nancy Updike, recently spent a week in Israel and the West Bank to put together this special program of stories about what life is like there these days...with Palestinians stuck indoors for weeks under curfew and many Israelis trying to ignore the conflict. Though that, of course, isn't easy.
- Ira visits the border where Israel meets the West Bank and finds it's more like Scottsdale, Arizona, than he ever expected. We also hear from Tel Aviv advertising writer Erez Hadary, who created a bumper sticker that expresses Israeli confusion right now; from Rula Hamadani, a Palestinian who's feeling just as confused; and from journalist and historian Tom Segev (author of 1949: The First Israelis, Elvis in Jerusalem, and other books) about some very odd Israeli poll numbers. (5 minutes)
- Nancy Updike reports that life under curfew in Ramallah can be, among other things, intensely boring. She also tells the story of Sam Bahour, a Palestinian who was born and raised in Ohio, who came back to the West Bank in 1995, when peace seemed possible, to help build the Palestinian state. Now he can't leave his house. (13 minutes)
- Ira Glass travels through Israel with Adam Davidson, who speaks Hebrew and has countless Israeli cousins and other family members. They find that the entire country has moved to the right in reaction to Palestinian violence—so far right that at a cafe of leftists, they're no longer arguing about peace, but about whether the Palestinians are simply born animals or if they're taught to be animals. (26 minutes)
- What if a new Palestinian leader came on the scene who was neither part of the corrupt autocracy of the Palestinian Authority, nor part of fundamentalist, suicide-bombing Hamas? Nancy Updike follows around possible future Palestinian political candidate Mustafa Barghouti, a doctor who's well known for setting up clinics. (13 minutes)
All of Nancy Updike's radio work is supported with a grant from Hearing Voices, with funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.