Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Other Side of the Wall

To my right, the city of Jerusalem sprawls out across the rolling Israeli hillside, it's tall, stone buildings stand firmly in the holy soil as they've been for thousands of years, the city emanating democracy and forward thinking, and bustling neighborhoods with people going about their day.  To my left, there's sand. The stark differences are amplified by the monstrous concrete wall erected in-between the two lands, creating a contrast as clear as day and night, black and white, or in this case, Israel and the West Bank.
The security wall is actually 93% fence and was built in 2002 to keep suicide bombers from harming innocent israeli civilians. The fence was a success and suicide bombings have plummeted with civilian injuries decreasing and creating an overall safer Israel.  The physical schism that the fence has become separates two very different worlds. Crossing the border and experiencing the West Bank was stunning because the Palestinians style of living varies so greatly.  While some Palestinians towns are very much reminiscent of anywhere else in the world, Bedouins are just as common of a sight.  These nomadic tribes live as simply as possible, inhabiting tents in deserts while shepherding goats and raising chickens.  My mind skipped immediately to sci-fi Star Wars desert tribes on Tatooine - it was astonishing. Prior to this experience, I was completely unaware that people were living the same way they did hundreds of years ago and seeing it first hand was overwhelming.  The security fence has grown to symbolize many things, but what I found today was it being a gate to an entirely new world.

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