Palestine Series No 2. Bethlehem: The Wall

I was thinking for a while whether I should blog about this. You know, to jump from pseudo-travel stories to something that could be called political. In my previous post, while talking about my trip in general I said there were many things I wanted to write about and that I was still trying to make sense of them in my head. This is definitely one of them. Maybe blogging will help.

Let me start with this. I do have my opinions on certain things, and I do try not to reveal all of them in my blog.  I couldn’t help and not write about the secret bombing of Laos coz I thought it would be simply so ignorant of me not to mention it (“By the way, it’s the most heavily bombed country on the planet, just saying…”) and, screw it, how I can I not write about the West Bank Barrier when it’s not only what I saw (I could be writing about aaaanything I have seen in my life then) but it is a reality that many people have to deal with.

welcome to BethlehemIt was, to be honest, the thing I wanted to see in Bethlehem. Yes yes, the Nativity Church is the big attraction here and the city itself is just really beautiful, also being there during extremely sunny days made everything much nicer (after having suffered some unexpected cold in Ramallah, THIS was a miracle!). At the same time, I honestly don’t know how seeing that construction can leave no impact on anyone.

And let me now, after a horribly long introduction, start moving towards my weird point. That point, I understand it now, comes from my unexplainable wish for people to…agree on things. Agree with me, I guess. While discussing any topic, I always – sometimes naïvely, that’s for sure – expect people to agree on at least some basic things stemming from some quasi-humanist thought. Here’s that thought now, de-politicising the Political (and walls are political, let’s not forget they don’t just appear between territories naturally).

Where has our common, global, transnational Human Consciousness gone so wrong in its development that we see walls like this, in this civilised (what does that even mean?), technologically advanced, “every young person is united in his/her patience for the new episode of Modern Family to come out = thus globalised” world?

Bethlehem, the wallWho builds walls becomes irrelevant. Even where such barriers exist becomes of minor importance (well, not for the actual people who live behind them, of course; ‘minor importance’, sadly, works only in this blog entry of mine).  Yet the question itself, how we come to justify these things and see them as somehow OK, how the embarrassment and shame that should – shouldn’t it? – stem from the very fact that this was somehow seen as some sort of solution to some problem (referring to people as a problem seems rather problematic in itself, doesn’t it?) is still not enough to make such barriers fall.

For a young person like me, this is too much to understand. I was standing there, looking at the graffitis, trying to see if there was indeed a person observing others from that concrete tower (another interesting thought: where has that global Human Consciousness taken us if we have built societies where some people need to take up roles of standing in concrete towers holding guns pointed to other people? “You should…go write a poem, play some guitar, I don’t know, go educate children,” my hippy thought was at that very instant. Oh my, I am young).

How is this not political, you may ask now. As for someone who has voluntarily chosen to step into the realm of social sciences, I have many answers. Ironically, the background of my formal education would force me to answer this question very differently from how I myself want to answer it. The political science student part of me would come up with tons of answers, all explaining the history of the region, how the government is justifying it and how the system supports it. There wouldn’t be too many things to understand, really. However, formal education is a background, there is also my background of being a human being. That background doesn’t simplify things that much, and even though that background is intellectually capable of understanding how we got into the situation we are in now, it should by default disagree to accept it and see it as something natural.

What’s so political about that?

now that I have read

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