Friday, September 29, 2006

Quick note on Strike

One of the main features of life these days that people talk about is the strike. Schools and many government offices have been closed for a month since people haven't been paid since the beginning of the year. At the same time, a surprising number of government offices still are functioning. My neighbor, for example, works as a computer technician at one of the government ministries and has not been paid in 8 months. He said everyone, including himself, still shows up to work however, because if they do not, they will be replaced with new people since jobs these days are hard to come by.

Most people say they don't mind so much about the government office's languishing, (except for those who work for them and aren't getting salaries). The schools being closed, however, is another story. Kids are just staying at home and are getting restless. The only kids still going to school are those enrolled at private institutions. All our neighbor kids are roaming around the streets all day long with nothing to do.

I can't imagine American schools being closed for an entire month. People would be in an uproar. And yet, here, there is no end in sight to this madness. Indeed, there is a virtual war going on in the newspapers between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas won't back down, seeing that they were democratically elected. But, Fatah does not want Hamas to succeed. Fatah thinks if the occupation ends while Hamas is in power, this just emboldens Islamists. However, many Palestinians also believe it's also in Israel's best interest to preserve the status quo (i.e. Hamas in power), because that way Israel can justify squeezing Palestine for security reasons since Islamist extremists are in power, and the Palestinian society will become weaker and weaker and finally collapse. Moderate Palestinians bemoan the West's isolation of Palestine and Israel's oppressive force and tactics, saying this just emboldens extremists and those in favor of violent resistance.

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