Monday, August 22, 2005

The Great Debate

Tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at 7 PM Eastern time, Radio Open Source is hosting a live debate between two bloggers with very different perspectives on Israel's recent unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

On one side, we have Laila el-Haddad, a Palestinian blogger (and a recent friend of mine) living in Gaza City. Laila is an extremely intelligent woman with a masters degree from Harvard University in Boston. Laila's blog, Raising Yousuf, talks about her challenges of raising her young son Yousuf in the occupied Gaza Strip. When she's not blogging, Laila is a professional journalist, writing for the English-language edition of al-Jazeera. Laila's journalism credits also include radio journalism for a number of US radio stations (including a news report this evening for WBAI 99.5 FM in New York) and a recent Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post.

On the other side, we have Shlomo Wollins, an Israeli blogger who until his forcible removal last week was one of the Jewish settlers living in the Gush Katif settlement block in Gaza. Shlomo's blog, Israel Reporter, chronicles the experiences of himself and his neighboring settlers over the past hundred days leading up to their "deportation" from Gaza. I have never met Shlomo myself, but from his blog he appears to be an intelligent and well spoken man.

Pull up a chair... this one should be good!

The debate will be broadcast on several US radio stations (most of which offer live streaming audio), and will also be available on podcast.

Update (August 23)

It sounds like this is supposed to be more of a discussion show than a debate, and they've invited a few other participants: Amira Hass (an Israeli journalist for Ha'aretz), Ganit Nave-Farhan (a former Israeli settler), and Deema Arafah (a Gaza resident). Knowing how many raw nerves and emotions were exposed by this past week's pullout, I would not be surprised to see this show end up being more of an argument than a friendly chat. Here is a link to the streaming audio.