Friday, May 09, 2008


Earlier this week Andrew was telling me about an article in the New York Times comparing Harry Potter to Judaism, only he didn't start out by saying either Harry Potter or Judaism. In fact, we were really talking about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I recently finished reading Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and I've had a lot of questions while reading it, so I ask them to my resident expert on the topic: Andrew.

I wasn't really prepared to be talking about Harry Potter characters since I was still trying to keep the Arabic names straight in my head: Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, Abbas, Hussein, Arafat, Meir, Olmert. The names weren't new to me, not necessarily, but it was still a lot of information for me to keep track of. Who liked which policies and why, who bombed who and why, who wasn't talking to who and why...

I'm typically not a political kind of a girl. But I need to read up on it because otherwise I will get totally lost in every conversation we ever have in Egypt. We're always told not to discuss religion or politics with locals, but seriously, you jump in a cab in the Middle East and you're asked where you're from and, once they find out you're from America, if you like Bush or not. Then a whole slew of questions will arise about your opinion on his policies on the Middle East.

If they know where or what Utah is, they'll usually ask you if you're a Mormon. They like Mormons for the most part, I've found. We have similar standards. Not identical, but similar.

Anyway, conversations regarding politics are almost impossible to avoid so I think it's probably best to be a little more informed than I was the last time we were over in that part of the world.

So, there we were, getting ready for bed. I was probably ranting about some policy that I didn't agree with since I don't agree with many of America's international relations policies of late. Probably I was ranting about walls and how they're no good for communication. The Berlin wall was a bad idea. The iron curtain? Bad idea. Putting up a fence between California and Mexico? Bad idea. Putting up walls around Palestine? Bad idea. Fencing in our future backyard in the hopes of containing Rachel? Now, there's a good idea.

For the most part I think that walls hinder international communications, and thus peace. For some reason it just reminds me of fencing in animals on a farm, and I don't think that people should be treated like that.

Yes, that was probably the rant that I was on. That one or another one.

Out of the blue Andrew says, "So they say that Jesus is Voldemort."

I looked at him and blinked stupidly.

"Who's Voldemort?" I asked.

He started laughing at me.

"No, seriously! I can't remember!" I tried to maintain my dignity, "Was he that one leader in Syria back in..."

He started laughing harder.

"What are you talking about?" I asked, "Who's Voldemort? I know that name! Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldem... I've got it. He's from Star Wars...or, definitely Star Wars."

Andrew started laughing even harder.

"Oh, wait, no! That's Darth Maul, or something like that. Darth Vader! That's who I was thinking Who's Voldemort?"

By this time Andrew is crying tears of mirth.

"Voldemort...Voldemort...Voldemort....Voldemort..." I said over and over again, trying to stimulate a memory of sorts. It finally worked, "HARRY POTTER!"

Andrew collapsed. After he and I had recovered from our laugh attack I had Andrew explain what he meant.

I'm just glad that He Who Must Not Be Named isn't real because, you know, saying his name summons his little minions to deliver his ill-tidings. We'd really have been in for it after I said his name that many times!

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