03 July 2006
I came back from the promised land last Friday night. Slept tight. Now
I'm waking up to my expereiences on the soil at the centre of the world.
Before now I have abstained from being Pro-Palestine, Pro-Israeli
or any of that ish. Simply 'cos I believe asking to pick a side in a
conflict so compex and changeable as the Palestine-Israel conflict for
a 22 year old kid whose never seen or set foot in a war zone and never
experienced what its like from the perspective of a non-western vanage
point is near enough impossible. Moreover, any attempt in trying to
convince myself in being Pro- ? would render me a misinformed hypocrit.
Last week friday I went of in search of Bethlehem.
Instead I found a border. Thats right, there's a border between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Think about THAT the next time you sing Silent Night.
A border. A concrete wall.
Its an ugly fucker too, a 15 foot concrete slab stretchin for miles.
Israelis call it the Seperation Wall. I call it Berlin Wall The Sequel.
Now, let me get this straight off the bat; Israel was fucking cool. The
Jewish really know how to build a country. The place is heaven. I never
ONCE saw a homeless guy, not ONCE! No bums, no crazy people. The people
were friendly, the women were hot. The beaches, the hotels, the malls,
the food - sublime. Just the general vibe of the place was just that it was a
cool, hot place to live.
I envied these tannned, hip, Sabra's and
Sabra-ettes. Speedos and Bikinis ago-go if you know what im saying.
But then...I got a peak at the real cost of living.
Friday I went to Bethlehem. You drive through the border and you aint in another country (Palestine in terms of geography is pretty dang patchy. Dont know where it begins and ends) but what you do enter when you get past that border is...another
As I passed in Palestine I spied graffitti on sum random wall, it go:
Thou Shalt Not Steal
In case any Israelis would've snuck a peak at their Arab neighbours through the gate, they'd see a message the streets were shouting out at em:
Thou Shalt Not Steal
They were being preached their own preachins. I thought that was cool.
Remember that old Superman movie when there was Superman and Supermans twin who was Bad Superman that was Christopher Reeve but with stubble and a sorta
The opposite of Israel. Its evil deformed mirror image if you believe western media hyperbole. Like Danny DeVito next to Arnold Schwarzenegger in that movie Twins.
Its the crap waste land that no one else wanted.
For real though...Palestine's Shit.
No roads, no people, no malls, no condominiums, no Japanese cars, no
beaches, no speedos no bikinis. It like going from everything you ever wanted, or could need at an arms reach to nothing...
In Israel, Israeli's don't dream. Why dream when you could wake up? In Palestine they're living a nightmare intense.
Hell Here, read another graffitti wall.
Hypocrisy, said another one.
We drove around this sad state of affairs till we was ushered into a 'lil Palestinian familia owned shop.
I saw a Palestinian scarf.
I bought it.
Just cos Sean back home wud dig that I bought a real Palestinian scarf from
a real Palestinian in Palestine wheras loads of people back home bought
fake scarves from Carnaby Street, London and rocked 'em while ordering a
bigger Big Mac and fries from Mc'Ds.
What happened next was hard to explain.
We were heading back to Jerusalem toward the border coppas again. I was
holdin my scarf in my hands and my video camera in the other. I saw the
Wall again in the distance.
You know one of those moments in your life where you become bigga then yourself? You get a glimpse of the bigger picture. You feel the groove of the moment and wanna seize it no matter what the cost?
We were in the van and the arab driver told me to hide the scarf from sight at the checkpoint before we got there. The
check point was still a distance away.
I saw graffitti again: this time
it was ON the Wall on the Palestinian side.
It say to me:
To Exist Is To Resist....Viva Palestina Libre!
It was more than graffiti it was a mural, painted by some ballsy
Palestinian revoltionary at midnight whilst the border coppas were
havin a snooze. It was a wake up call to anyone who saw it whilst headin
back to the speedos and bikinis of Israeili paradise.
I looked down at my scarf and ma camera.
Fuck it, I thought. Fuck this and fuck that. Fuck all of it.
I told the driver to stop.
He had an arabic fit.
I grabbed my brother, stuffed the scarf into my bag, and leaped out of
the van. I ran to the graffitti wall. I sensed my dads eyes burnin on
me as if 'is this kid outta his mind?' Stopping for a photo op just before
the Israeili checkpoint with their bigass guns and shit?
But hey...I thought fuck it.
I got my brother and walked right up to that fuck off Wall.
I confronted that fuck off wall.
And I said 'Wall, Fuck off.'
I took that scarf ouutaa my bag, yes i did.
The border cops a few feet away from me, my brother and the camera whizzin away recording my every action.
I wrapped the Palestinian scarf around my neck, I got up on that ledge.
Placed my hand on that Wall.
I felt a murmer in me.
There my brother was, filming me, scarved in what the Western World sees as
terrorist regalia, a chequered flag around my neck, touching a wall that
means soemthing so big it could bring about World War Three.
People have died for and in spite of that wall.
And there I was, playin Viva La Revolution like a dumbass for all of 10 seconds before I realised I cold be shot right now.
Snap back to reality.
I begain hearing the squeals of arabic fittage from the driver demandin my ass back to the van. I took that scarf off and joined them.
Sitting at the back of that van, sweatin and breathin.
Kanye West's Jesus Walks was in my head:
'God show me the way cos the devil tryna bring me dowwwwwn...'
I refused to pick a side because I didn't have the wiki knowledge to know everything I need to know about this conflict. Yeah I read. A lot. I probably know more than you
about whats goin down around Jerusalem and why. But I refused to
choose, cos I didnt feel responsible enough to reach a conclusion about
something so important I guess. I thought that was a mature thing to do.
Sit on the fence. Ruffle no feathers.
Now its different.
I felt the murmer.
Today Israel contains the stretch of land from the Egyptian border of Sinai and Eilat to Haifa in the North.
Tha stickin point: Jerusalem and the West Bank also, according to international consensus, is occupied by Israel.
As in Nazi's in Poland.
As in British Empire in India.
As in Hitler standing under the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Viva Palestina Libre!