Israeli/Palestinian conflict discussed

Todd Culp, an instructor from McHenry County College, discussed political violence in the Middle East during a presentation Oct. 17 at IVCC, sponsored by the Diversity Team.

Culp teaches history and political science courses at McHenry.

Culp spoke about his travels across the sea and how different countries are, compared to what Americans are told it is like. He said reality is nothing like how life is portrayed in the tabloids.

Instead of being interested in people participating in nonviolent acts, all some audiences care about is the violence that is occurring.

The violence is usually what sells the best, and to the news channels and tabloids that is how they are going to make their money instead of providing a complete picture.

Culp also wrote a book called “The Friend Whose Names I’ll Never Know,” about the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict.
For this book he interviewed several people who have been through terrible things and have seen things that could haunt them for a lifetime.

As Culp talked about this book and some of the interviews he conducted, he said that the hardest one that he ever did was to a man named Romney. This man was a Jewish-Israeli activist and his daughter was killed by a suicide bomber.

Culp is the father of three daughters, and for him to listen to this, he said, was heartbreaking.

Culp is a powerful speaker, and the audience listened intently to his stories and experiences. He shared stories about other men telling stories after the awful things they had to do to other people, even small children, because they had to follow orders.

Culp also shared some pictures of some of the places he has visited.

While the pictures that he or a friend had taken looked like the fake pictures you search on Google, the photos were real and detailed many terrible events.

He had pictures of mixed crowds as they were marching together trying to tell the government that the policy on race is wrong and they were going to use constitutional rights to prove that. The pictures of the groups walking together arm in arm showed that the normal everyday people in those countries are trying to make a difference.

The government did not like these groups and used everything they could do to break them up, Culp said, including rubber bullets and tear gas. Culp explained how much of an eye-opener it was the first time he was over there because he could not believe that it was really happening.

The last thing that Culp talked about is how he believes that the American people are told lies about Israelis and Palestinians, such as “we’re always fighting and we always will be” and “we have always hated each other and we always will.”
He explained how when people read the news and tabloids they are only seeing half of the issues, and only the ones that the media has selected to cover for people to read.

Culp believes that every major event in history starts with people who are willing to sacrifice and willing to keep up the struggle for change as long as they can.

For example, major events such as the end to slavery and equal rights for women were only gained with people starting groups and sticking together through the thick and thin.

Culp’s lecture began a discussion for IVCC students about how information and education can lead to change.