Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"I think it is by the Jewish. This is very good."

June 10

Left: Dr. Ala's dad's headdress, on someone else (picture taken last time I was here, in Hebron's old city).

Dr. Ahmed told me he is looking for observerships in the US. He said he was looking at Mount Sinai hospital, I forget where. He asked if the hospital is run by “the Jewish” (by which he means is it a "Jewish hospital" the same way St. Joseph's is a "Catholic hospital"). I said I think it was founded by American Jews but that it’s not a religious institution. “Yes, I think it is by the Jewish," Dr. Ahmed replied. "This is very good. I would like to go there, to make good impressions, to show we have no problem with the Jewish or the Christian. Or with any religion. Some Jewish in America do more for Palestinians than the Palestinians." I'm constantly amazed at the lack of anti-Semitism here; I'm sure it can be found, but I haven't found it yet.

Dr. Ala, another one of the young doctors working in the ER, brought his father in today, I think just to show him the hospital. Dr. Ala is a slightly effeminate and incredibly knowledgeable physician who strikes me as a replica of Sai in every way, but much taller. His dad, on the other hand, is about my height; his build and mannerisms are those of a farmer, his voice is deep the way you’d expect God’s to be. Dr. Ala has fair skin, wears western clothing and trendy-looking glasses (Payal and Mondo: he has a zip-up exactly like that one you wanted me to buy) and has a sloppy haircut and a goatee; his dad's skin is a deep brown that reminds me of stained wood, he looks like he shaved five minutes ago, and he wears an Arab headdress, slacks and a brown suit jacket that looks forty years old and probably is. You can tell from the way he carries himself that he, like his son, is remarkably intelligent. The generational differences and similarities are striking; I wish I had taken a picture of them together.

A funny bit of cultural exposure occurred in the ER today. Dr. Ahmed and I were talking when a female nurses from a different department walked by. She passed ten people before getting to us but said hi only to Dr. Ahmed. He said hi back, then watched her walk away before coming back to the conversation. It’s funny how flirting works in a society where flirting isn’t really acceptable.

A two year old boy came in after he’d caught his right ring finger in a door. Virtually all of the soft tissue had been torn off the distal segment of the finger, it was just the dry bone left exposed, without any visible bleeding. He’d been given an analgesic in the ambulance, so now he was just staring at the finger curiously, it was a bit macabre. They took him for surgery to amputate the finger at the DIP joint, there was nothing to be done to save it.