Palestine Day 6

I was told that it would be easy to get through the check point to return to Jerusalem, for a day of touring, and then Tel Aviv, to fly home. It wasn’t. My amazing taxi driver, Ez, arrived promptly at 9 am on Friday to get me. He said we’d be back in Jerusalem in 15 minutes. When we arrived at the checkpoint, a young, wiry, agitated looking soldier with very dark circles under his eyes aggressively demanded Ez’s documentation, and after clearing him, came for my passport. After I handed it to him he began to yell and wave both his gun and my passport around, and threw it back at me. He then told Ez something in Hebrew that clearly upset him. He sent us to another check point, and Ez kept saying “He’s crazy. This is not right. This is the right checkpoint for foreigners…this is where …

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Palestine, Day 3

I arrived in Tel Aviv after a long-way-around journey from Khartoum, via Frankfurt, on Saturday afternoon. I had to travel on 2 tickets, and 2 passports, due to the non-relationship diplomacy between Sudan and Israel. When I arrived, the wild sand and dust storm that has blanketed areas in Palestine and Lebanon and Syria with snow, created dust and sand “fog” so thick I could only see a few feet ahead of me. I tried to walk around Bethlehem, where I am teaching–but the wind was a shrieking cold cyclone that made anything other than staying safe and warm inside impossible. I did manage to get a taxi to Manger square, and visited The Church of the Nativity and the manger. Who knows if this is really the precise place where Jesus was born–but it feels, deeply, like a holy place. This is a distressing time to be in Palestine. …

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Lebanon, Syria, Jordan

Its been several weeks since my last blog as I continued my visit to the Middle Eastsans computer—so I will use this final blog (until the next journeys) to reflect my experiences. From Beirut, where I conducted a second training for Center Nassim, one of Lebanon’s torture treatment programs, we traveled to Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra, Amman, Petra, Wadi Ram, Aqaba, and The Dead Sea. Each of these ancient places left a visceral imprint on me—there is so much history in this part of the world.It is hard to find words to describe the sensate level experience of being in each of these sites—because it feels holy. My body experiences a stillness that seems to exist outside of the details of time and locale.At one point, as I listened to the echoes of the dead sea’s waves pounding Jordan’s beaches on a particularly breezy day, I experienced my torso as a …

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