The Candidate, Muslim style

The news from this week has been, well, unsettling. However, yesterday, I saw an article that reminded me of a 1972 movie with Robert Redford called "The Candidate." In the Candidate, Redford plays a candidate for a political office. Redford's character doesn't think he has a chance, but uses the campaign to get his issues out to the public, seeking to change the dialogue. The movie ends with the end of the campaign where Redford's character discovers that, although he never intended to and against all odds, he has won the campaign. Redford then turns to his campaign manager and utters one fantastic line: "What do we do now?"

Well, in bizzaro fashion, it appears life has imitated art. Yesterday, an article in the Jerusalem Post, a number of Hamas supporters and candidates were exceedingly forthcoming about their election by the Palestinian Arabs. For example, a Hamas leader in Nablus, a professor at An-Najah University who did not run, told the Post that many of the leaders were disappointed with the results. "We didn't want this, we didn't hope for this. We wanted to be in the opposition." He continued, "Now all the responsibility is on us." Another Palestinian Arab, Ahmed Doleh, who was a candidate, summed it up this way: "Instead of being an opposition in the Palestinian Authority, we are the PA."

As the Post recognized, Hamas apparently sought to be the opposition party in the Palestinian Legislative Council, continuing terror attacks on Israel, addressing Fatah corruption, and voting down any bills proposed that compromised its ideals, leaving Fatah to clean up the mess. Now, Hamas has to move from being terrorists and critics to being the government. So, Hamas members probably spent the day looking at each other with blank looks on their faces uttering the Arabic version of Redford's classic line, "What do we do now?"

Of course, neither Robert Redford nor his character admitted to terrorism, murder, and ethnocentricism. And while that would have certainly made for an interesting movie if it had been the case, when it's reality, it's just plain disturbing.

Personally, I'm disturbed, but not surprised. What did the world expect from a society that has been inculcated with a culture of hate and death, where Palestinian Arab children are encouraged to kill themselves in order to kill their neighbors? It should be anything but a shock that they picked murders and terrorists as their leaders. The real lesson is the same as the one that we apparently didn't learn from the Holocaust: A culture of hate anywhere is a threat everywhere.

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