First Ill respond to the political question. Its tough. I agree with my Dad; both sides are wrong. Hamas is provoking Israel and I think that they expected such a response from Israel. Having public opinion turn against Israel world wide is perhaps good for their cause.
But of course Israels reaction has been competely disproportionate. The UN bombing is, in my mind, absurd. How does that happen?
Someone that I have more nuanced conversations about this subject asked me, "who is the biggest winner of this conflict." I thought for a little bit and said, "Iran." He agrees.
But without any further delay, here is my sisters blog on her experience of Morocco.
On January 7th my mom and I left Duncan in Rabat and we set off alone for Marrakech where we would fly out the next day for Madrid. We went back to the same hotel we had stayed in while we were waiting for my baggage to come. The guy who ran the hotel loved Duncan because Dunc spoke Tamazight and so we hoped he would remember us even if he couldn’t communicate with us. As it turns out, the guy did remember us and in fact spoke really great English so we had a nice chat with him. We got checked in and decided to head out to Jamaa El Fna, which gets packed at night. There are many different food stands, all serving great soup that we loved to eat and all trying to get you to their stand and not their neighbors'. I once saw a guy get pulled to a table by a server who would not let go of this guy's hand. It’s a great place to hang out at. So mom and I set out for this place, which was very close to our hotel (down a short alleyway, turn right on the street which will take you in two short minutes to the destination). As we stepped out of the hotel into the alleyway, there was a young man (probably in his 20's) leaning up against the wall of the hotel. He looked at me and said, "inshallah" which I took for a greeting and so responded, "inshallah." As soon as I spoke the word, I realized that he had not said a standard greeting to me. No, he had said, "God willing" as in "God willing I will marry you" and I had repeated the phrase. Horrified, I started walking as fast as I could toward the busy street up ahead but this young man did not seem to care that I was practically running away from him as he fell in step behind my mom and me and started to ask me where I was from. "Where are you from? Where do you live?" I could only respond with a laugh as I sped up even more. My mom meanwhile thought this was hilarious and I think slowed down on purpose so the interaction would take longer. This fact might have led to him to switch from talking to me to trying to convince my mom to let him marry me. First he offered her $2,000 and then $4,000 and when that wasn’t working, he said that we could have anything in his house. My mom just laughed and thankfully said no to his offers. But this guy was persistent. He followed us all the way to the street and at this point I thought he was going to follow us until I agreed to marry him but as we turned onto the street he said his farewell, "I will remember you for the rest of my life" and turned around and went back down the alley. Thankfully this was the last time someone wanted to marry me while I we were in Morocco.
Duncan had warned me this might happen. In fact while my mom and Duncan were emailing each other trying to come up with plans, he even said that we would go to his CVT site so that I could "fend off marriage proposals." However when the conversations turned to marriage it was still very bizarre and uncomfortable. On the other hand, by Moroccan standards, I am still in my marriage prime (I am 20) although approaching an unmarriageable age (25 is normally way too old). Once while we were in a grand taxi being taken up to Duncan's site, the men in the taxi had a very loud and apparently funny conversation with my brother about marrying me. As I could hear everything they said but could not understand it, Duncan told me later that this happened. He thought this would be a good opportunity to explain to these Moroccan men that American women expect more from their husbands and that I would not want to stay home and cook all day and I would want to go out and travel around. I thought this was a pretty good argument until Duncan told me that it had backfired when the guy responded, "I don’t care! I'll cook… she can work!"
All in all, I am very glad that neither my mom nor my brother broke down and tried to sell me off.