The store clerk in East Knoxville had a flat screen television tuned to Al Jazeera.
Among the stacks and racks of cigarette cartons, with Newport appearing to be the bulk of the stock, was a small poster of Barack Obama with the words “President Obama” next to the drive through window.
“What’s up my man?” Sam, the clerk in a Polo shirt and slacks, greeted customers. Most knew him by name. Sam didn’t give his last name.
It wasn’t long before he started talking about what was on the television.
Sam said that there was dancing in the streets of his hometown, Ramallah, Palestine, when the cease-fire agreement occurred. And the idea of statehood for Palestine pleases him.
An image of Jimmy Carter came on the screen. Conversation turned to his work on peace talks between Israel and Palestine in the 1970s.
“I like him,” Sam said. “He did a good job.”
With a great number of UN members approving recognition of Palestine as a state – except the U.S., Israel and a few others – Sam’s homeland may be primed for a new chapter. Really, he just wants an end to bloodshed.
“I would like peaceful freedom,” he said, dropping change in the cash register.