Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem, 2014
When the beards get longer, the hats weirder, the guns bigger, the domes more golden and the ailes more narrow, when the trams get too crowded, your roomies french, the politics more complicated, the stones whiter, the hill slopes smoother, the cabbies more rude and the sky clearer – then you know that you are in Jerusalem again. Hello!
These are Itamar and Muthana. Itamar is a jewish boy and Muthana son of bedouins. They are best friends and attend the same class in a school in Be’er Sheva. That is special because the school system in Israel is segregated (like the rest of society). Schools like this are rare.
I am profiling Itamars and Muthanas school for a German kids magazine right now. I realised something interesting while writing the piece. Explaining this conflict on a kids level is actually really simple: “Two people, one home” like in “Two kids, one toy”. Even a reasonable solution is quite obvious on this basic level: “Share the home, share the toy.”
But explaining to a young audience why nobody solved the conflict yet if causes and solution are that well understood would be a tough call. Not only for me but the most knowledgeable scholars around, I guess. Is it because of a lack of talking to each other? A lack of venues to meet and exchange? A lack of good will?
It is a question of “process” in the end, of the path that leads from recognizing causes to reaching a solution.
That means for any iniative that is supposed to break this deadlock: If you cannot explain to a kid how you would go about it, you cannot explain it all.
It is bound to fail then.
While we in Germany cast 3rd-class-models in our TV shows, Arabs cast the “Prince of Poets”. Thats an awesome thing to do. In the video you see palestinian poet Tamim al-Barghouti turning himself 2007 into the rock star of his people with just one poem, recited in one tv show. Its title: “In Jerusalem”.
The palestinia protest village of Bab Al-Karama, Beit Iksa, January 2013. Two men in the background are building the provisional mosque.