Thursday, July 17, 2014

That is not Palestine; That is not Israel...THIS is!

This is Ramallah, Palestine; 2010
This is Jerusalem; 2010
This is Jerusalem; 2010
This is Ramallah, Palestine; 2010
This is Tel Aviv, Israel; 2010
This is Ramallah, Palestine; 2010
This is Hebron, Palestine; 2010

Today I walked into the coffee shop to buy my morning cup and glanced at the front page of the New York Times. I saw a picture that at first, looked pretty. With my terrible eyesight, I saw a few kids on a beach. It could have been any beach...the white sand looked rocky and the water was glistening. It was uncrowded and serene.

"That is nice" I thought.

Then I got closer. I noticed that the child laying upon the sand was dead. His legs were splayed about his body in an unnatural way. Behind him, a man was carrying another dead child, looking at someone or something I could not see.

I instantly knew this had to be Gaza. I felt like throwing up; I felt like yelling to the other customers, "Can you believe this!?" I wanted to shout, THAT IS NOT PALESTINE! THAT IS NOT ISRAEL! But it is. It is the abhorrent reality today. The murder of innocent children, the constant fighting; an eye for an eye. That is what is happening now.

Instead of shouting at strangers, I cried a little and headed to school. When I got there, I showed the picture to students. The reaction from the teens whom I teach ranged from sadness to confusion. One 17 year old Chinese girl said, "It sounds like a terrible argument and someone should tell them to stop." Yes child, I agree.

The situation is complex, the history is deep, everyone has a good reason why they believe this or that...but I think we can all agree that children dying over the matter is too much. Can't we all decide to lose a battle, or to concede something so no one else has to die needlessly?

This morning I I wanted to talk to all of my friends in Palestine and Israel and tell them to keep living their meaningful lives, and not to give in to this violence. I want them to know that although this is the reality right now, I know THAT IS NOT PALESTINE and THAT IS NOT ISRAEL...My friends and their families are better than what is being portrayed. They all live meaningful and purposeful lives and do not condone this violence. To all of them, I send my love.

 This is Hebron, Palestine; 2008

This is East Jerusalem; 2010