I'm going to try to keep this short because I want to get back to the hooka session on our hotel patio. There are a lot of really intersting and thought provoking messages that we're hearing everyday from everyone we talk to. Everyone seems very genuine, and hospitiable- it's been a great and enlightening ten or so days. I'm not going to talk about any of these people. Instead I'm going to share a few things I've overheard and small things I've noticed and felt, a mix of conversation bits and symbols that have stood out.
-Visiting the wall, something Nikki has already written about. With the dead animals I didn't feel like I was choking but I didn't want to breath. A short walk away from this were kids playing ball and they ran to introduce themselvs to us.
-A video of a bus that had been the target of a suicide bomb, pre-clean up. Someone in the video said something in Hebrew and our speaker translated for us, "I can see bodies but I can't see faces."
-In the Holocost museum, standing in the childrens memorial. A tour guide tells his group, "if it weren't for the state of Israel, there wouldn't be a Jewish people."
-Again in the Holocost museum, a man says to his friend, "it's bad enough that this happened once, how can this be happening again?" as a group of Israeli citizens and soldiers stood by.
-Behind the temple mount (the wall that protected the second temple, built around 520 BCE) is the site where Jews believe the third temple will be rebuilt and the Judgement will come. This same spot is also the site of the al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
-Soldiers and policemen with large guns, all over and in the most unexpected places (The beach?).
-A refugee "camp" with stone buildings and a generation of family history. Walking through the narrow alleys it was easy to get lost in the squalor and grafitti, and to miss the wild rose bushes growing from behind walls.
In a land with a rich history of symbolism I think it's important to notice small details and to try and understand their meanings.