Across the Great Divide..
23 September '16..
I have been to your church several times this week in an effort to engage with people over the ‘you cannot pass today’ exhibition. The Church decided to use a replica of an Israeli security checkpoint to deliver a message about ‘bringing down walls’.
Last night I was also at the circle discussion, that spoke about building bridges between the communities. I always try to reach out, try to understand. My learning process doesn’t include vocally arguing my case, but rather engaging and listening to others, absorbing their message (without confrontation) and trying to build a picture of what it is I see. There are three central points I would like now to get across:
The humanitarian safari park
The exhibition came about because one of the people involved with the church, Katherine Fox, had recently returned from a three-month humanitarian mission in Bethlehem.
Katherine did not go to Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan nor Libya. The reason she did not go to these places is because it is generally too dangerous and there is no similar industry to any of these life threatening areas. Only inside Israel does this type of tourism occur. It is safe to view the humanitarian situation in Israel precisely because it does not involve the dangers that exist elsewhere. I have written on this subject before.
If you had listened to Katherine speak last night, you would hear she was instructed to propagate the information. To return from the safari park and record events as if she had been into a jungle. It is part of the process, part of the industry. You get to go, provided on your return, you hold ‘x’ number of events that perpetuate the myths and convert others to the cause.
You also only get to see what they want you to see. You are on a journey with a clearly laid out path. If for example Katherine had spent three months in Ramallah, she’d be wondering what all the fuss is about . These trips are well choreographed. Your hand is held from the time you arrive to the time you leave.
So the question then becomes, is ‘bringing down the wall’, a message of peace or one of war. Is the church assisting those who seek a peaceful solution, or inadvertently helping to perpetuate a conflict, assisting in spreading the hatred?
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