"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Tea With Hezbollah" - pages 107 - 175

We are reading through this book pretty quickly. I want to get it read before Samer returns to Damascus next week. We are on track to do that as we only have about 60 pages left!

From Tea With Hezbollah by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis ... our notes

February 18 -- Notes from pages 107 - 145

Today our reading started with the continuing story of Nicole and of her meeting with a Maronite priest, Father Stephen, who had an exciting story to tell of his kidnapping, captivity and escape and how he met someone very close to Nicole.

Chapter 9 found us with Ted and Carl as they headed further south to have tea with a couple of Hezbollah fighters. Some transcript of this meeting is included and I enjoyed reading the discussion. One thing I found interesting was that the younger fighter attends the American University in Beirut. After having tea with these guys, Ted and Carl had tea with Sheik Nabil Quouk, the number two guy in Hezbollah. I enjoyed the transcript of their meeting as well. (I stupidly asked Samer if he were familiar with Sheik Quouk and he immediately and emphatically replied, "of course!")

This chapter included Ted's thoughts on Hezbollah and an explanation of how Hezbollah tends to be thought of in the region. He told how - to him - they differed from Hamas and Al Qaeda. At this point Samer questioned why Ted did not mention Israel's terrorism on his people and argued that this showed how his people were not as valued to many. We discussed his thoughts at length and finally came up with a satisfactory - if not speculative - answer. Ted let the Hezbollah leaders and others speak for themselves so readers can draw their own conclusions as to the true state of things. Instead of coming out and alienating his western readers by saying, "Israel is a terrorist state," he allows the attentive reader to draw his or her own conclusions based on material he provides. In the end, Samer and I both agreed that this was a clever way to get the message across. A typical evangelical reading this book and seeing "Israel is a terrorist state" would dismiss the book outright as being "too liberal" so Ted's way is wiser. At least this is our opinion thus far.

The next chapter picked up Nicole's story and the story of Naum Sareel one of very few Jews left in Lebanon. Despite his sons urging him to move to Israel, he refused as Lebanon was where his family had lived for two thousand years. His son Saul urged his father to move because he - a Mossad agent - could not guarantee his father's safety so close to the Shatila refugee camp.

Chapter 11 began with Ted and Carl heading to Syria! I especially enjoyed reading about Straight Street though Ted's eyes. I could picture the journey since I made it not so long ago. It was a great memory as they went through the souk, saw the Ummayyad mosque, Kissan Gate and the church dedicated to Paul and Bab Sharqi!

February 19 -- Notes from pages 145 - 175

We continued on in Syria with Ted mentioning the government there. Ted and Carl went to the office of the mufti of Damascus, Abdul Fattah Al Bizem. Samer provided me with a better understanding of the mufti from their perspective. While the Syrian mufti is appointed by the government and therefore a product of it, many people "ignore" this person. However the local muftis are appointed by a committee - I'm guessing of respected religious leaders - and, therefore, he is more respected by the ordinary people. The muftis are generally the ones who issue fatwas and they "must be someone well-grounded in Islamic law and granted the authority to issue formal rulings on matters concerning that law." (pg. 145) So they talk to Mufti Bizem and a transcript including some of the conversation is given. I especially like what he said: "I think it is important to reach the heart to affect people." (pg. 148)

Mufti Al Bizem agrees that dialogue is important among people who are unfamiliar with one another. He believes Jesus' teachings have been changed so the command to love your neighbor and our enemies is likely wrong. At least that's my impression since he said "This a beautiful teaching. But the original has been changed by the Christians, so we should look to Muhammad." My own thoughts, Seriously! With the history of Christianity being what it is do you really think Christians are the ones who wanted to make the Bible say that Jesus told us to love our enemies??

After leaving the meeting with the mufti, the men were on their way to Jordan so they could visit the West Bank. Carl shared a story from his past along that same border and when he met "a Saudi Samaritan." I enjoyed his retelling of this adventure.

The next chapter picked up the story of Nicole and the beginning of a conflict in Lebanon when the hookah bar was secured by two Druze brothers who made the patrons stay inside by threatening to shoot them. It also told of a bicycle ride gone bad for Nicole. Must say that Nicole's story is quite exciting! I believe Samer is enjoying it as well.

Chapter 13 describes Ted and Carl's trip to Jerusalem. Ted tries to explain some of the history behind the city and why it remains so important to Jews, Christians and Muslims. He tried to answer the question of whose land it really was. Somewhere in this chapter Samer and I again discussed why Israel was not called terrorist state since they have killed more people than other nations in the region. I think this came up again when Ted said that no one they talked to throughout their two-week trip had answers to the political problems facing the Israelis and Palestinians. Samer said the answer was found in Washington, D.C. so Ted and Carl were asking the wrong people. He said the powerful (those in the US government) had the answers because basically our propping up terrorist state, Israel, is the root of the problem.

We haven't finished this chapter yet....more to come.

See notes on previous pages here.

1 comment:

Wafa' said...

very very interesting and waiting for those final pages. :)