The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1561  Wednesday, 20 June 2001

From:           Kezia Vanmeter Sproat <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Jun 2001 15:18:36 EDT
Subject: 12.1549 Re: Conflicts
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1549 Re: Conflicts

Mari Bonomi  6/19/01 writes:

     Without getting into a political discussion about Zionism, let me
     just say that there are at least two very different takes on the
     Palestinian/Israeli question, in terms of who moved whom and why.

     Perhaps we can keep such hotbutton topics out of these
     discussions if
     only to avoid losing sight of the key elements in the fog of
     political passions?

Fog asks to be cleared, I feel: that's how we get civilization from
chaos.  It strikes me as slightly unfair to write "let ME just say. . .
" (my caps), then to advocate quashing further discussion. Probably not
intended by Mari as unfair, but those of us with close Arab connections
are perhaps very sensitive. Thousands of Palestinians were indeed
forcibly removed from their homes, according to generally accepted
histories, herded into camps, and later many were massacred by order of
Ariel Sharon, unless I'm much mistaken.

I just finished reading Hussein Ibish's chapter ("They are Absolutely
Obsessed with Us: Anti-Arab Bias in American Discourse and Policy") in a
new anthology, Race in 21st Century America, (Stokes, Melendez,
Rhodes-Reed, eds., Michigan State University Press) which ends with a
most enlightening discussion of anti-Arab stereotyping in some recent
Hollywood offerings, and the reaction thereto, some of which is very
hopeful for the long-term.

Shakespeare was writing histories roughly as long after the Tudor
ascendancy as we are writing after the takeover of Palestine.
Shakespeare wrote at a moment in history when the succession, hence the
health of the state and its people, was less than clear.

How "hotbutton" were the history plays when first presented is an
interesting question. The part Shakespeare played in stabilizing the
monarchy (or destabilizing it as some critical fashion would have it) is
a topic I'd like to see batted around here. Perhaps, as I fervently
hope, the Israel-Palestine conflict now finally rides to an end, it
might be useful to compare perspectives on history, "histories," art,
theatre's relation to politics. . . speaking of big loose concepts!

Ever grateful for the civility that dominates this list,
Kezia Vanmeter Sproat

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