"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Monday, January 15, 2007 Abbie Coburn's Palestine Journal -- Part II
The second installment of Abbie Coburn's Palestine Journal -- emails sent back from her trip this month. Re-printed with permission.
So, I guess this means I made it. I'm sitting in a hostel in the muslim quarter of the old city (Funny enough it's called the Golden Gate Inn - I'm never far from home). I arrived when the sun was coming up, and now it's long-past gone, so I suppose I made it through my first day. There's a falafel in my belly and a cup of tea to keep me warm. The last call to prayer was about an hour ago, so all is quiet outside. News of shootings today in Bethlehem and Ramallah play on the news in the lobby area. No one seems too concerned.
There's lots I could comment on - my first sight of the Wall; the Israeli who questioned my sanity when I told him to drop me at Damascus Gate; the loud young American Jews on the plane who were bragging about how many times they've come to Israel; the bustling Old City which reminds me of Istanbul and Fez, and other ancient places that appear as ordered chaos; the 7th station of the cross which is a couple doors down from the hostel (where am I?!); the Israeli soldiers with fingers on triggers permeating everywhere...
A side-note that seems slightly relevant...I wandered outside the walls of the Old City in search of St. George's (only saw it in the distance). Along the way I noticed a Palestinian man walking very closely behind me. I turned to let him pass, and he asked where I was headed. Up ahead were a group of Israeli soldiers questioning a van full of people. The man next to me asked if he could walk along beside me, as if he were Jewish, so that the guards wouldn't question him. I faltered, unsure of how one is to react in this situation. Contrary to what I would have done in any other situation were a strange male ask to accompany me, I told him it was fine. We chatted, passed the guards, and then he left. It was surreal.
Tomorrow I meet with the Birthright Unplugged group. I don't know when I'll email again, but know that I've at least made it the first 12 hours, which is usually the biggest hurdle for me. I'm thinking of you all.
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."