Sunday, May 28, 2017

A South African in Jerusalem

In about thirty hours I'll be catching a series of flights that will take me from Seattle to Tel Aviv. This will be my first time in Israel and Palestine, and I feel like I am about to walk through a door without any concept of what will be on the other side. This isn't for lack of trying. In preparation, I've read a couple thousand pages on the history of the region and, particularly, the Arab-Israel conflict––from academic tomes to newspapers to the graphic novel journalism and memoirs of Joe Sacco, Guy Delisle, and Sarah Glidden. I have family and friends that have visited, and I think its fair to say that I knew the map of Ancient Israel before I knew the map of my hometown in South Africa (courtesy of having a theologian as a parent). Nevertheless, I still sense a lack of familiarity. I do not know what to anticipate. My only expectation is that there are aspects of this conflict that can only be understood through being there. That's what I am hoping to get out of this trip.

I'm working on an MA in International Relations with an emphasis in International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. My geographical interest is North Africa and the Middle East. My sociological interest is the way religious ideology shapes and influences conflict. For these reasons (and a few more), studying the Arab-Israeli conflict on site is the perfect convergence of my career interests. Yet my actual research paper is going in a different, more personal direction.

I grew up in Apartheid South Africa, and in my elementary years experienced the final years of de Klerk's presidency and the start of Mandela's. Some have claimed that Israel is heading toward an apartheid state––a few even argue that this is already the case. I'll be studying the claim by analyzing demographic trends and government policies to see if they have any legitimacy. This is a heated issue for many people. I've noticed some of my friends tense up and get defensive when I share my research topic. So it's worth noting that I am not coming to this topic with an agenda. I don't know the answer to this puzzle. I just want to find out what's going and write about it as accurately as possible.

Problems cannot be solved if we do not know what they actually are.

-Bruce Pearson

1 comment:

  1. Faith is life experienced in a spiritual disposition. It is in the presence of that which the human mind is aware of, that of which nothing greater is conceived of. Today I experienced it from the Mount of Olive through the Mountain top, Via Dolorosa through Christian, Muslim, and Jewish neighborhoods. The high point of today is the visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I felt the presence. The emotion physically and emotionally was super. Like the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip after hearing the good news and coming across water, nothing is short of baptism. So I did at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher I jumped the line. It sounds cool and crazy. It means more to me than silver and gold. Yeah I did. It is real. It is a reality. I did not want to be another apostle John who ran to the tomb on Easter Sunday yet was afraid to jump in. Yes there is a Peter in me. I jumped in, what a blessing sharing in His glory.

    The second highlight was lunch of hundreds of Shekels. As we continued through Via Dolorosa the thought of Jesus being sold for thirty Shekels gave me pulse. Was it so bad that the he collected thirty shekels then? Has anything changed on how we treats others? Or are we eager to get rid of them. May be the political leaders may reflect on the present situation with the eyes of faith.

    This is a journey of grace and mercy. This study explores the six day war. How it redefines life in the state of Israel, Palestinian and its territory fifty years later. I am heart broken by the poor standard of living in the PT. You smell poverty and lack of integration or assimilation in the midst of the Children of Abraham. Jerusalem to whom shall we go? Salem oh Salem give peace to your children and your first inheritance. May peace be upon Jerusalem.


"We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace"

One thing that can be said of Israel is that there is no shortage of perspectives. Last week, our class had the opportunity to meet with me...