Letter 1, Israel, August 13th 2012
Letter From David A. Barken
(Monologging Foreign Correspondent)
This marks the first letter in what I hope will be a series. A correspondence that catalogs the political, cultural, religious, and personal insights I encounter during my travels. I also want our letters to serve as an outlet for American commentary. Enabling me to hear your voice, your concerns, and your vexations during this make-or-break year for America. You only need to watch the news, and read the headlines, to hear the anger, and understand that our country’s political and societal trajectory hangs in the balance of the upcoming election.
For now, I am living in Israel. I am here for roughly 10 months, with intermittent absences from the country to see parts of the Arab world and other Mediterranean nations. I currently reside in Tel Aviv, a beach city with amazing architecture, history, parks, beaches, nightlife, and people. Though I am beginning to acclimate into my new Israeli reality, I know that this amazing place is riddled with societal falsehoods and political accountability. That is why I have returned to Israel. To either say goodbye to the place that has captivated my academic career and shaped my understanding of the American Jewish identity, or to once again fall in love with a country in desperate need of societal and political repair. I can only hope that my experiences in Israel will lead me in the direction of the latter option.
Before I left the country I gave you the book, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, by the author Mahmood Mamdani. Mamdani’s work is that of a revisionist historian, hacking away at the misconceptions, downright lies, and age-old cultural and racial differences that facilitated the Cold War and catapulted America into a 21st century polluted by international terrorism and war. To the author, the very word terrorism is controversial. That is why I think his writing is important. Before we can understand the current state of geopolitical affairs we must reanalyze our own foreign policy and national dialogues. Now free from the ideological chains of the Cold War and the aftershock of the September 11th attacks, there is a wealth of societal introspectiveness waiting to be heard, discussed, and encouraged. Let me know how you like it. Until then, lehitraot.
(To Read More About David’s Adventures in Israel, Visit His blog)