between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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comin clean

Posted by Andrew in PALESTINE, ISRAEL, CANADA (December 6, 2007 at 1:34 pm)

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I really really dont like to lie, but once in a great while, there comes a time. In this case, it was for the sake of seeing lots of cool countries, who unfortunately wont let you in if youve been to Israel/Palestine/whatever you want to call it.(for us, Syria, Algeria, and Lebanon all would not have let us in–Libya too, but they wouldnt let us in anyway)
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First off, an apology to all of the people, friends at home and abroad, who we lied to. We just simply had to do it. Whether true or not, we’d heard stories of random people overhearing that a traveller had been to Israel, police somehow finding out, and then the person was kicked out of the country. We just couldnt take the chance, so we decided ahead of time to not tell anyone.
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So were gonna flash back to November 2006, and post some of the pics and observations that have been hidden on various hard drives, far from the eyes of border officials locked in one of the worlds most complicated conflicts.
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We were only in the forbidden lands for 3 nights. First, one night in Ramallah in the West Bank, where I interviewed Sameeh Hammoudeh, a former Tampa resident who was the victim of a Bush administration terrorist witchhunt, only to be cleared on virtually all charges. You can read the article I wrote by clicking here. You can read the article I wrote by clicking here.
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Ramallah is the biggest city in Palestine. We sadly arrrived too late for a hip hop show by DAM Rap, a rising star in the Arab and western hip-hop world. But we got to walk around a bit, see posters of Martyrs and Arafat (who had his PLO HQ here), and get a little feel for the town.
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On the way out of the west bank–we spent a while driving by the Wall. Fence. Wall. You decide…
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Then we went to Jeruselum, with no map, and not having done much research. This place is really incredible.
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Walking down 2,000 year old streets, white stone polished by eons of feet like ours, we saw pilgrims carrying giant crosses reenacting Jesus’s last walk thru the city. We tried to tell the difference between the long-bearded and head-scarfed Jews, Muslims and Christians, but they all looked alike to our untrained eyes. It was a bit overwhelming.
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Luckily it was a friday, so we got to witness both a sea of muslims emerging from Al-Quds after prayers (aka Dome of the Rock, 3rd holiest mosque in Islam)
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and later in the day, thousands of jews praying at the adjoining Western(Wailing) Wall (aka last remaining wall of the 2nd Temple). ***see the comments on this post for some background on how the name ‘wailing wall’ is controversial.***
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Just around the corner is the Church of the Holy Sepulchur, which holds not only a stone slab on which jesus’ dead body was supposedly lain, but also the cave where his tomb is located. Pilgrims Galore!
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And of course, we took a float in the Dead Sea. (use tons of moisturizer afterwards!!)
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Ive gotten alot of feedback that people dont like long rambling blogs, (and thats part of why they enjoy ours), so although the opportunity is ripe, I wont start spouting all the thoughts and feelings that came from visiting this holy and controversial part of the world. As Ive said before–ask me in person. Ill just say that while beautiful and full of energy, its difficult to have hope about the future of this place. People have so much attachment, and have fought for so long over it, its hard to imagine they will ever stop fighting. En sha-allah i will be proved wrong.
(JESSICAZ recommendation: SHARE)
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I also regret that we didnt return to the area when we were back in the neighborhood this past august, but our schedule and finances just didnt allow for it. I would like to go back and spend more time.
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Back to December 07(now), and speaking of LIES,
click here to read this article I wrote that just came out–its about Americans who lie when they are traveling and say they are Canadian.
If anybody has thoughts, dont hesitate to post them here, or underneath the story itself.
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I promise those Bosnia pics are coming soon….

2 Responses to “comin clean”

  1. BethNYC Says:

    I have really loved reading your blog and am impressed by all the countries you went to. You seem to have really had a magnificent time and met truly welcoming and wonderful people. My one comment about this particular post. “Wailing Wall” is not correct and somewhat derogatory. It is the Western Wall. I know you would never use a similar term for any other site of religious importance and was surprised to see it being used here where you’ve only shown respect and tolerance.

  2. Andrew Says:

    Hi this is Andrew responding. Ive done a little research, and discovered that there is some controversy about whether to call it \’western\’ or \”wailing\” wall. It seems clear that \’wailing\’ might offend some people, which I had no idea of (and according to this link has really only been the case since 1967) My apologies to any who were offended.
    Thanks Beth…my lack of knowledge is all the more reason why I hope to go back someday.

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