Throwback travel post: Actual action

Originally found in https://medium.com/@tag3773/actual-action-36950235cf6a

I love the energy I have in all of these. Pure emotion as I’m writing ha. Still just info dump. Maybe I’ll do a recap at the end of all of this.

March 2014 – Israel

I guess I’ll run over some stuff that happened and then maybe talk about my background in Israel and Palestine.

We walked the Via Dolorosa. That’s the path that Jesus took towards his crucifixion. I wish I had had more time to sit and take that in, at the stations of the cross where we stopped, particularly #2, the flagellation (whipping). Throughout the whole thing, I just keep thinking, this is where they mocked my Lord, whipped him, killed him, crucified him. And all of this was to save our sins. I think just sitting here now, a lot of that is sinking in. I’m currently listening to a song called “Lead Me to the Cross” by Hillsong (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdq9Q8wJdjc). Made me cry the first time, now I just love it. And it is wildlyyyy applicable to this moment.

Then we had lunch in the Armenian quarter! I love this food and also the communal eating aspect. I just realized how BORING it is to eat any other way. You don’t get to try stuff, and everyone is so involved in their own plate. Oh individualism, how you plague us with your insularity.

We also went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was actually crucified, etc. Going there during the day is a lot, but I would love to go there when it was quiet. Jeremy was explaining how divisions within the church keep people from talking to one another and communicating on basic issues. It’s so frustrating! I think it’s childish honestly to act like that. You should know we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ (for the distinctions within denominations), like….move past the petty (ok they’re not petty) differences so you guys can move a darn step ladder! It really doesn’t have to be this way.

One theme that has been constant throughout this trip that I’ve been hearing a lot, is the issue of trust. The Palestinians don’t trust the Israelis, vice versa, nobody trusts the Americans lol, different denominations don’t trust each other, etc. If you look at a lot of major wars and conflicts, and you boil it down to basics, somebody lost trust in someone else, broke someone’s trust, and it blows up. If you’ve ever played the trust game, you know that brief feeling when you think they’re not going to catch you and then a hand (or hands) are there, supporting you. The breath of relief afterwards is the sweetest sound. Safety. We all deserve that. Knowing that our lives are safe with the people with whom we share it. I think in such an individualistic (Western) world, we’ve lost sight of how fundamental trust is in relationships.

Then I came back and took a nap. Twas glorious. We had another speaker and then dinner!!!! I sat with Hanon Rubin, who is a city council member of Jerusalem. He was cool, insightful, and opinionated. I like that. He spoke to us about the lack of voter turn out in municpal elections in Jerusalem, the rise of his party, and apparently the rent is too damn high in Jerusalem as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4o-TeMHys0&feature=player_embedded#at=60). The desserts were fantastic!!!! Patrick and I were just huddled in our little corner demolishing that flan thing? and those brownies. oh muh gah!!! and the wine! It was called Flan.

Oh and I said I would talk about my relationship with Israel. To be honest, Israel just seemed too complicated to really delve into when I was younger. I found it interesting, especially because of the religious history, but I just never took the time to look into it. Last semester, while studying abroad, I had the opportunity to take a seminar on Israel. I had originally wanted to take one on Morocco, but the times didn’t work so I ended up in the Israel course. It was fantastic. Straight-forward, or as straight-forward as you can be with this situation. By the end, I at least knew what I was talking about and understood divisions within the politics of Israel and the issues of borders and peace negotiations. Then I found this program, applied, and got in. So clutchhhhhh. However, the class was a bit biased in a pro-Israel sense that I wasn’t completely aware of until later. I told my friend there that I was going to Israel. I expected him to say “Ah, c’est super cool!” but instead he like blew up on me in the restaurant. Not in a bad way, but in like a “Tiffany, I wish you had been more critical in deciding to go”. He’s also super pro-Palestine which played a part in to it. He exposed me to a darker side of Israel, of which I was really appreciative of. This area is so not black and white it might as well be purple…or red (oooohhhh deeeeppppp). I realized how naive I had been about the situation, even though I thought I knew what I was talking about. But he pushed me to really explore both sides and engage my classmates in this convo in a way I had never done. I don’t often discuss certain political issues with my friends, and this one in particular never came up. But since I’ve been back I feel like that’s all I’ve been talking about with my friends lol. All of winter break I spent watching documentaries and I will say I ended up giving myself a slight Palestinian bias in the news I consumed and the documentaries I watched. But I feel like I’m always inundated with pro-Israel propoganda by the American media so I might as well explore the other side more so on my own. Turns out my friend is doing a paper on Palestinian theatre right now! He calls it the “threatre de l’opprimer”, so I’m guessing “theatre of the oppresion” is what it would translate to. Apparently, they make the spectators intervene into the scene on the topic of social problems. Let me actually look this up in English, because his slang French always makes stuff harder to understand lol.

I had an opinion on the whole situation before I left. And it’s changing now, not completely but it’s much more nuanced. So I guess goal completed guys? But I still haven’t really breached the topic of pro X or X with anyone here yet. It’s not time yet. But honestly, I don’t even know if pro X or X is the best way to think about it. Just like how the situation isn’t black and white you can’t separate your personal analysis into a binary system either. I mean, you can if you want, but it’s becoming hard for me.

These blog posts are starting to become only tangentially related to today’s events lol.

Omg!! I forgot to talk about the museum of Israel. I’ll be brief….kinda. Overall, really cool. The curatorship of the museum is really nice. Spacious, yet thorough. I actually really like museums, I could spend a while in them. However we did NOT have that today. We spent the last 20 minutes running (but actually) through the history of humans in the Israel region to end at the Dead Sea Scrolls! THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS! Ahhhhh!!!!!! I can’t believe I saw them. Yall, people wrote those. I love thinking about the lives that people had so long ago. Did they fall in love? Did they gossip? What was the weather like while they were writing? These are the random things that go through my mind all day haha. You never know the impact that your life will have on someone in the future. I mean, when they were writing the Dead Sea Scrolls could they have ever imagined what was going to happen? Outside of the Dead Sea Scrolls, my favorite part was seeing the traditional clothing worn by different Jewish sects (?). Oh but the most hilarious part was towards the end. So we are running ot get through everything, but literally running. Track form and everything. We get to this pathway outside and the guide tells us run to the end and come back. We are all giggling and took off. When we got to the end, you just heard a collective gasp at the majestic model of the 2nd temple era Jerusalem that lay below us. Like wow. I was NOT expecting that. It was great.

There were also synagogues from around the world. The one from Suriname (shoutout to the former Guianas that nobody knows about!!! #suriname #guyana #frenchguiana #mipatria #homeland . Sorry that was excessive) was really interesting. It was covered in sand. Although there apparently is a logical reason to it, I love the symbolic reason that the sand is to remind them of the 40 years the Jews were wandering in the desert.

If I don’t wake up tomorrow at least it’s cuz I was blogging right? Maybe I’ll try and make these shorter but I just don’t want to miss any details.

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