Posted by: sean | September 8, 2006

Writing across the border

The BBC moderated a letter-writing debate in four parts (1, 2, 3, and 4) between a Lebanese man named Saleem in Beirut and an Israeli man named Gordon in a border town called Shlomi.

They both remain civil, and while they disagree on most issues, they both agree that they’d like to live in peace. Here are some extracts.

From Saleem:

Maybe you could send me some oranges from my grandfather’s orchards. From the land he had to leave in 1948 – which is exactly where you live. My grandfather used to own acres and acres of land where your settlement now is. It’s such a coincidence, of all the Lebanese and all the Israelis to be in a debate…

My mother’s village is al-Bassa, now called Bezet. I have a picture of my grandmother on that land in 1946. It’s less than 2km from Shlomi where you are. Where was your maternal grandmother in 1946?

Israel must return our land. Then I will be the first person to cross the borders and offer you a case of fresh Lebanese apples.

From Gordon:

Yes, we came through unharmed. We had rockets falling to the left of us, and rockets to the right, and our next-door neighbour was killed. But we made it.

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