27 November 2011

What's a Prisoner Worth?

I have a stack of reading material (old copies of the New Yorker and Newsday, as well as a textbook on skin carcinomas I picked up from a local thrift store) piled on top of my toilet's tank, and I often earmark really good reads that I want to share with my friends. Sometimes, I'll post links to the articles on my Facebook (which go largely unnoticed in that platform of useless status updates about being hungover, heartbroken or some other uesless shit), but for the most part, I carry these notable reads on my mind and rarely ever get a chance to discuss them at length. But now I'm going to create a new label on Rough Draught called "poop reading material."

During my last bathroom session, I came across "What's a Prisoner Worth?" in the October 24 Newsday edition.

1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 1 Israeli. Does anyone else find this shocking? It never occurred to me to do research on the number of prisoners on either side.

Interesting points from the Wikipedia page on Palestinian Prisoners in Israel:
  • "...as of 31 August 2011, there were 5,204 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, of them 272 in administrative detention."
  • "...between the years after the Six Day War (1967) and the First Intifada (1988), more than 600,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli jails for a week or more."
  • "Between October 2000 and April 2009, approximately 6,700 Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 18 were arrested by the Israeli authorities, according to Defence for Children International's Palestine Section (DCI/PS). The number of Palestinian children held in detention and interrogation centers, as well as prisons, both in Occupied Palestinian Territory and inside of Israel, was 423 in 2009. In April 2010 the number was 280. DCI/PS reports that these detentions stand in contravention of international law."  
Now I know that there are two sides to this story (that's your cue to opine here), and I acknowledge that some of these prisoners were incarcerated because of acts of terrorism, etc., but take one second (or several) to think about this -- ONE THOUSAND INDIVIDUALS for ONE INDIVIDUAL. How did the Israeli government choose which prisoners deserved freedom?

Wikipedia (as well as various news articles and websites) might not be the greatest or most reliable source for my information, but I find that it quenches my thirst for a discourse on this topic. I'm getting tired of friends who tell me "Politics bore me." It's not boring, people! Wake up! Where is the compassion? These events are happening and being experienced by individuals, people with families, previous careers, and aspirations of all sorts.

1 comment:

  1. excellent new post-theme-whathaveyou. LOLed at "poop reading material."

    when i first heard of this exchange, i thought it incredibly odd and drastic but yet fitting? i don't know why i expect israel to behave that way...