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Journal 5

February 18, 2006

I bought a CD called The Wall: A Soundtrack from an Arabic music group that we heard to one night. I haven’t listened to it yet, but it leads me to thinking about the Wall and all those surrounding it.

What song do you sing
Wall snaking through the land?
Sprouting out of the parched land
(with whose money?)
From fear
For security

Do you sing of the refugees
Living for the right of return?
The land they have lost
Mocks them from your other side

Do you sing of the settlers
Building on hilltops?
Land owned by “God’s will”
(and powerful interests)
They have built you for protection

Do you sing of those in Bethlehem
Who have never seen Jerusalem 30 minutes away?
Carving olive wood, sewing purses
Who will cross you into the “terrorist” land to buy them?

Do you sing of the travelers
Coming to take what?
Pictures of you, memories of the
Freedom hoped for in every piece of graffiti

At the beginning of this week we moved from our host family to a hotel in Beit Sahour where we began to learn from Kris and Tim, the MCC workers in the area. They took us around to a Conflict Resolution center, the Olive wood workshops that Ten Thousand Villages buys from, an Israeli group that teaches about the Palestinian perspective, a settlement where we heard the perspective of one living there, to several movies showing the perspectives hidden from most people in the US, and many other places. They also helped to answer our questions of what hope there is for these people and what ways we can act with the knowledge we have gained these past weeks. We finished off the week with a party to say thanks and goodbye to our host families.

Personal relationships have been one of the most important parts of these past three weeks and it was hard to leave this place. I will always remember the great generosity of the people I have met here to welcome and share with us. From my host family who gave us gifts to the people at the refugee camp who shared dinner with me when my interview did not work out, they helped us to feel at home in this place. Their stories of both joy and sorrow will travel with us as we are off to Jerusalem.

-Kristen Swartley