Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Green Prince

Shin Bet double agent Masab Yousef, son of Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef, in his own words.

[The video has been moved after the break, to stop it from loading and playing each time you refresh this page. Click "Read More..." to see it.]

His book, Son of Hamas, has just been published.

Imagine for a moment that you are a Palestinian Arab. Your entire life is cast in the shadow of defeat and failure. The Nakhba, the '67 war, the occupation, the first Intifada, the Oslo years, the second Intifada - not a single victory between them. Your culture is under incessant assault by modernity. When your family are not being beaten or gunned down like dogs by a rival clan or the PA, they're being denied building permits by Israel, or forced to wait in line to cross imaginary boundaries over which you have no control. To top it all off, if you are one of the few who manage to emigrate to the West, to the freedom and promise of America's shores, the entire society is conditioned to think of you, your family and your people as terrorists, murderers, barbarians.

I've been told that American raised Palestinian Arabs disproportionately enter the police force and (especially) FBI training academies - to which they are aggressively recruited for language skills. I have no way to verify this; it comes from anecdotal discussions with people who have a good grasp of Palestinian Arab communities in the Midwest. The reason for this eagerness among young Palestinian men to join America's security services is simple - they want to finally be on the winning side, to be the heroes of Hollywood fame, and not the villains whose bitter end always comes.

Masab Yousef is a true hero, a man who risked his position, his life, to save the lives of countless others. From this video, and the many interviews he has given, and will give in the near future to promote his book, he doesn't seem too shy about his heroism. I don't blame him. Imagine how it must feel to be one of the good guys, for a change? The very narrative he stumbles through in this interview is striking - he attempted to be a Palestinian hero, a mass murderer who avenges his people, but when the terrorist organizations refused to back him, he found another path to stardom, one that ran through Israeli intelligence.

Is there a little Mohammed or Suheiyl watching the news in Nablus or Jenin, picturing themselves as the next Masab Yousef, a savior of life, rather than one who takes it? Probably not, but it's a nice thought.

1 comment:

  1. off topic
    there is a rather long description of an Israeli soccer game with the settlers or settler-friendly groups looking bad in this 1 1/2 hour piece - I do know neither enough about soccer nor about settlers to give a final verdict - by my gut however I don't trust the guy due to his sounding like he is salivating which is why I'm tuning out now - but maybe its of interest to you or one of your friends - this Professor David Goldblatt seems to be a somebody - the Israeli piece is afte the two introductions and after Angola - should be about 35 min in


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