Sunday, August 26, 2007

"There is a tide in the affairs of men....

which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar


IN the same week the British government showed what mean bastards they can be by denying visas to the Palestinian under-19 football team who had been invited to this country, here's some more heartening news.

Jewish-Hawaiian surfing guru donates surfboards to Gazans
‘I hope this gesture will get Israelis and Palestinians to catch the same peace wave,’ 86-year-old Dorian Paskowitz says

Associated Press

An 86-year-old Jewish surfing guru from Hawaii donated on Tuesday 12 surfboards to Gaza's small surfing community, in a gesture he hoped would get Israelis and Palestinians “catching the same peace wave", Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.

"God will surf with the devil, if the waves are good," retired doctor Dorian Paskowitz said Tuesday. "When a surfer sees another surfer with a board, he can't help but say something that brings them together."

Paskowitz emerged shirtless at the Israel-Gaza crossing after handing over the dozen boards to Gazan surfers waiting on the other side. He said he was spurred into action after reading a story about two Gaza surfers who couldn't enjoy the wild waves off the coast because they had only one board to share between them.

Arthur Rashkovan, a 28-year-old surfer from Tel Aviv, said Paskowitz's project was part of a larger effort called Surfing for Peace, aimed at bringing Middle East surfers closer together. He said eight-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater, who is of Syrian descent, is expected to arrive in Israel in October to take part in the drive.

Paskowitz, whom Rashkovan called a 'guru' to Israeli surfers, has surfed in Israel several times over the past five decades.

Paskowitz, a father of nine, served in the Navy during World War II, practiced family medicine for more than half a century and has published books on surfing and health. He said he's surfed for 75 years, in locations all over the world, and ranks the waves off the coasts of Israel and Gaza as among the world's best.

"It's really quite remarkable how good they are for modern surfing," he said.

It's a while since I leapt in the rolling breakers along that coast (come to think of it, a while since I leapt anywhere), and the only surfing I've ever done is on the Internet. Handing over a dozen surfboards may seem incongruously like a drop in the ocean of what Gaza people need these days. But besides its help to the surfers, it is a human gesture between peoples; and who is to say it is less important than the meagre efforts that we politicos make, with our postings and petitions, articles we circulate among ourselves, endless meetings, and demonstrations that can go unnoticed?

It's certainly a more creditable and generous action, and more credible gesture for peace, than anything our leaders and governments are doing. Let's hope it is part of a wave that is rising in spite of them.

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At 9:36 PM, Blogger Madam Miaow said...

What an uplifting story. I love Cornwall and regret not learning to surf when I had the chance, so I can imagine how much those boards mean to the Gaza dudes.


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