El Salvador's Palestinian connection
There is a sizable population of persons of Palestinian heritage who live in El Salvador, including president Tony Saca and former FMLN leader Schafik Handal. El Salvador's ambassador to Israel explained the connection in an interview posted on Haaretz.com:
Asked about the connection between Palestine and El Salvador, the ambassador explains that "during the Ottoman Empire, the Christians of Bethlehem sent the young people of the community to other countries, in order to prevent them from being drafted into the army. Some of them reached El Salvador, and today there is a community there of 70,000 Palestinian Christians, most of them from Bethlehem. They generally send their sons to find a bride in Bethlehem and to bring her to El Salvador, and they send their daughters to find a bridegroom in Bethlehem, and they remain there. All the descendants of the women are El Salvadorians by law, so that we have a community of 400 Palestinian Salvadorians."
I have come across Haaretz often and have a good deal of respect for the quality of its reporting.
In this case, though, I wonder if the reporter was not able to capture the nuance of Suzana's comments or if Suzana misrepresented the situation:
"They generally send their sons to find a bride in Bethlehem and to bring her to El Salvador [...] so that we have a community of 400 [native] Palestinian[s]"
Since the descendants of Palestinians number 70,000 according to Suzana, it stands to reason that you cannot have only 400 Palestinian natives brought during this generation, unless about 99% Salvadoreans of Palestinean descent stay celibate!
She may have meant that a very small portion of the descendants send for a bride in the ancestral land.
Moving on to an entirely different subject, far be from me to question the Ambassador's loyalty, and I do hope Relaciones Exteriores is an entirely professional entity, but golly, hopefully someone fully vetted our Ambassador, who must live under two red herrings:
(a) She is married to a national of the country where she represents us
(b) Her ethnic affiliation is the same as of her representation, where she happens to have spent formative years as university student. This might not be a serious consideration in say, the Netherlands, but you will allow me that Israel and Palestine are a sensitive case.
RREE may care to dispel any notions that curious citizens may have by making the details of the selection process public, and by publishing the resume of the Ambassador, as it is customary in many countries.
Also, there is a sizable Jewish community in San Salvador, many of whom trace their ancestry to those fleeing persecution in Europe or the Ottoman Empire.
I have a question for those who interact with "representatives" of both Arab/Palestine community as well of the Jewish in this country, would you say that both communities have come to learn to live in peace in this nation where they remain the minority, yet void of any prosecution?
By the way, here are some links related to this bust:
By the way, thanks Tim for your time and energy in keeping this blog running. I LOVE EL SALVADOR TOO. BEST PEOPLE AND SURFING ON THE PLANET !!!
Maybe this respect among the salv. population will earn El Salvador more attention as an active player within international affairs and particularly in the Middle East Conflict.
I want to put this out there. The majority of us (salvadereans) come of a Mestizo background. It is possible that we may also have Palestinian, Jewish, German, Chineese, etc geneology. I figigure that since we are very unique from most central americans. Well we all need to look into or own geneology before we start calling names to these ethnic and labeling these minority groups.
Give me a break. Palestinians do that because it's a cultural thing. After all some palestinians in el salvador DO marry non-palestinians. Are you telling people who they should or shouldn't marry? No jodás. Y no te metás en cosas que no pertenecen a ti.
(And to James, the person complaining about the arafat bust): Who cares!?!? Stay out of it. This is not israel, no matter how much you would like it to be. It's not enough that palestinian civilians get hassled in Israel, now you have to come here and bring your zionist agenda to El Salvador. For all his faults (and he had many), even Arafat is preferable to the right-wing death squad government trained by the CIA and Mossad. He is no worse than killers like Ariel Sharon, Menachem Begin, David Ben Gurion, Avraham Stern, etc.
Ray Barquero said it right - we should proudly share our land with both palestinians and jews, as long as they don't try to bring violence or oppression to El Salvador. We've had enough of that bullshit.
Hasta la victoria siempre,
They have intermarried to rich salvadoreans, and to prove it the ex president, Antonio Saca's full name is: Elias Antonio Saca Gonzalez. Although, they intermarried among their race, will marry someone outside from it. Their culture is salvadorean elite, happy people, act and think like a typical latin salvadorean. Like any rich person in the world, they also look down at the less fortunate, and un-educated population, even, the non palestenians Elite class looks down to the rest of the have not citizens in El Salvador. They have managed to monopolized a lot of the major business structure in the country. With money, their young get to be educated in american, and european universities.
I don't think that Salvadorean Palestinians intend to leave El Salvador, there is to much to loose there, and is the only country they know as homeland. Christian Palestineans are still being persecuted for their faith in palestine and The Middle East.
Salvadorean Palestinians have enriched our culture, and they, also have benefited in our land, in the same, We the Salvadoreans that left our homeland have found a new place for our families abroad, and we were escaping civil war, persecution, and poverty in the decade of the 1980's. Many of us lied that we were from Mexican descent, so we would not be deported to El Salvador. In the end, the will to survive is what makes human beings, be Salvadoreans or Palestinians to have to flee their homeland to save their families, ONLY with the hope that they will find a better place for their generations to come.