Walking on the face of the earth. Starting our own journey yet continuing the journey of many before us. Trying to catch up on the journeys that were left unfinished, stories that were left half told. We cannot breathe the same air without understanding those who breathed it just before us. It looks like a cycle with people walking around it, only with different haircuts and uniforms. We try to ask for details but they give us what they remember and continue with their own journey, we walk upon the streets over the footprints of those who walked before us as we wonder about the stomps of their feet, we look into the old houses, trying to study the architecture, the choice of art and geometry used, hoping they can tell us a little bit more about the taste of their time, and the style of their hearts. Just like a puzzle, and we are part of this puzzle, we either try to fit the right pieces together or we just become a new piece piled up on top of all the other pieces.
So don’t wonder, when you see us walking with wide eyes questioning the earth that our ancestors walked over. Building upon the patterns that were left yet before them forming a culture filled with art and literature. Memories make stories; stories make tales, those tales that are told to us to help create our future. We cannot be who we truly are without understanding where we come from. Our creativity yearns towards the art that was once created before us and about us. Parents dream about their children and they work to create a life filled with security and love for their protection. This work of art is what makes a difference in our lives. Appreciating the past and looking forward to the future.
Palestinians today are victims, limited from their freedom of walking upon the earth that their ancestors walked over and built. Limited to learn about their stories and history, limited from walking their own homes and gardens, limited from reading their old books and writings. How can we stop fighting? We fight to learn about our own selves and about our past. How can you not wonder about yours? You came from somewhere other than here. Your ancestors came from somewhere other than here; they are what make you yourself. Have you no wonders? Have you no interest in self-search and self-discovery? Have you no interest in what makes your creativity a unique one? We have our interest of our own history and culture. We cannot be limited from our own curiosity and freedom of being human. So let us all dance wherever we want to dance, let you and I all live the life we look forward to living.
So here I am in Jerusalem, as I search and discover, as I walk between the old streets and houses, wishing everyone else gets the chance to do the very same. I walked between old city of Jerusalem, head towards my mosque, my temple to pray for the freedom of peace for humanity, I walked to read history on the tiles of the ground, I walked to see stories on the walls. I walked from the east side to the west side, and back to the east side. From the east side I walked towards Mamilla Avenue, outside through the streets towards the YMCA, I walked inside to watch its stunning architecture then headed towards the King David Hotel, I read signs and looked at photographs hang on the walls, then headed towards the traces of the first train station in Jerusalem, it is located between the east side of the Old City and the west side of the German Colony “they once were like one”, walked over the old track of the train, into what used to be the ticket station and what today is a small restaurant, walked the Bethlehem road, and walked the Hebron road, I walked the German Colony ,towards the Baka neighborhood, where you will see the most ancient and authentic houses that tell all the tales from just staring at the windows, I walked back towards Yafa street, and visited homes to discover the oldest maps of Palestine and Jerusalem, I walked back towards the old city again into the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, cried my eyes out of injustice, and went straight to Al Buraq Wall or what is known as the Western Wall.
If only we are all free to move back and forth from the west side of Jerusalem to the East side, how beautiful life would be if I felt safe around my own neighbor, how beautiful life would be if we stop teaching our sons to hate and instead teach them to love. Jerusalem is an adventure, an experience of irony, an experience of life, an experience of faith. Jerusalem can be our hope, if the people decide to really open their eyes and see.
Jerusalem cut in half