lunes, 23 de agosto de 2010
viernes, 20 de agosto de 2010
Great sadness descends upon me as I catch a glimpse of the day’s events in the West Bank. The airport monitor reveals images that have become all too familiar. A group of Palestinian men are rolling a car towards a barricade, stones are thrown, the Israeli’s shoot and the story goes on. Ramallah is in complete upheaval – again.
My dismay springs forth from the hope that I once experienced there – during a much different time. In a place that is now unrecognizable. The winter of ‘95 brought the first implementation of the Oslo Peace Accords as the city of Ramallah was granted it’s sovereignty. The people radiated with optimism, fully aware that their future was now in their hands. I felt to be walking through a new chapter in history, breathing the pages as the people willed them to be written. A gentleman in a suit stood before me, his hand held out in a gesture of welcome, thanking me for visiting his town. The market place was bustling, an air of exuberance filled the stalls as street vendors readied their wares for the coming day. Businessmen were gathered in cafes, chain-smoking their way through spontaneous sessions on urban renewal. The sky was a rainbow of independence as thousands of flags set claim to the territory. Children ran by, wrapped in this new identity, looking like little superheroes with liberty’s cape trailing behind.
Six years hence and the capes have become shrouds, adorning the coffins that are passed along the funerary march. The schools are closed, the borders are sealed and the economy is in ruins. The promise of statehood has all but diminished, and the yellow flags of Hezbollah now accompany the rainbow of independence. As the news rolls on I look for the man who welcomed me to his town, his city of Ramallah. Possibly he is there, in amongst the fighting and chaos, trying to reclaim a sense of the future.