<   Report Two: Standing in a Picture >

July 22, 2011
Jerusalem, Sderot

This delegation is traveling concurrently with
IFPB's African Heritage Delegation > > >

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Reports are not comprehensive accounts of every meeting or experience, but impressions of those things that most impact individuals.  Trip reports to not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Peace-Builders, trip leaders, or delegation partner organizations.  We hope you enjoy reading and we encourage you to share these reports with others.


Standing in A Picture

About mid-January I went to a newly opened gallery for Muslim art. I had no intentions of making a purchase while I was there. Then I was struck by a stunning picture glistening from the corner of my eye. It was a picture of a young girl climbing up the Dome of Rock. Within an instant I made the purchase. From the day I bought it I decided I would see it one day. That day finally came.

The photograph hanging in my room cannot begin to encompass the beauty before me. I saw it from a distance as I slowly climbed the Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa mosque stood across from the Dome of the Rock. As I stood there taking a plethora of pictures and listening to the rich history that was embedded in this area, I was taken aback by the loud chants "Allaho akbar wa lil lah el hamd."

The chants grew louder. Then we noticed why everyone was chanting; a group of Jews walked in from the same entrance that Ariel Sharon once walked in through (which precipitated the second intifada.) A woman in the group stood appalled, expressing her disbelief at the anger that was demonstrated by the Muslims.

In a calm and wise voice a young girl of the age of 17 in our group explained that it was their form of nonviolent protest. Loudly they were proclaiming God is great and with vigor they were expressing that God's power is greater than that of these Jews (who are not allowed in the mosque area for both security of Muslims and to avoid conflict.)

- Salmaa E.

a version of this post originally appeared here on Salmaa's blog


Gazing at Gaza

Four days in Israel or
Four days in Palestine
A moment for gazing at Gaza in between.

Once a blood-red rectangle on my map
A desolate, dangerous, destroyed place
I finally see the city, just a regular looking city.

My eyes float up and down
Over the buildings, across the horizon
I daydream for a moment: mass people suddenly stopping then sprinting for the wall, pushing it down pulling and praying freeing their place, gasping for breath congratulating gleeful glittering smiles and I hug them.

But the dreams float away in the breeze
I’m just there, on a sandy hill, miles away.
I need a rocket, any rocket,
Fly over my head and help me understand relate appreciate…

Far away there is a girl ten times more hopeful than me
A blurry image on a video conference call
Reassures me that we can at least talk through the call,
Through the wall and rocket it all.

For a moment I gaze
At her real, hazy, glittery smile.

- Ferdaouis B.

Note: The poem above was written after a videoconference between the delegation and the AFSC Youth Program in Gaza.


Stolen Childhood

In a second a life has changed
Seconds of pain and misery
Seconds others have miscounted
Seconds some have not thought a second about.

The children of Sderot are entrapped
Fear is their bedtime stories
Their toys are dreams
Dreams held hostage to broken spirits

On the other side of the wall are the same children
Unknown Gazan faces and names
Tainted by normalized poverty
Entrapped by a no zone playground

Victims of shock and trauma
Victims of hatred
Victims of revenge
Victims of terror
Both innocent to a cycle of another lost childhood.

- Salmaa E.

Note: The poem above was written after the delegation’s visit to the Israeli town of Sderot, which has been a frequent target of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

This delegation is traveling concurrently with
the African Heritage Delegation > > >



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