Saturday, May 25, 2013

Middle East: Learning About Life in the West Bank

I wanted to learn more about what life is like in the West Bank. I have given up trying to find anything that is objective about the middle east.  The situation there is filled with emotion. This means relying on multiple sources more than required when learning about other parts of the world. Rick Steves recently interviewed Pam Olson, the author of Fast Times in Palestine, in his podcast.  I enjoyed the interview and bought the book.  Ms. Olson is a young American who more or less stumbled into the West Bank and fell in love with the land, the people and one man in particular. Ms. Olson openly supports the Palestinians and even worked on a political campaign in the West Bank. She went well beyond being a tourist or working as a journalist. Bearing that in mind, at the end of the day I think she describes as accurately as she could what she saw and felt as a young American woman. I learned a lot about what life is like on the other side of the wall that separates Israel and the West Bank. I also couldn't stop reading her book. She is a superb writer. I think Ms. Olson departed the US without a sense of direction in her life but has one now. I hope she continues to write because she is skilled with the pen. For my part, I want to learn even more about the subject -- which is a hallmark of a good book.