Two Sides to Every Story

Trip Start Jan 03, 2011
Trip End Mar 26, 2011

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Flag of Palestinian Territory  ,
Friday, February 4, 2011

Yesterday we had part of a Jewish tour of the Old City of Hebron, because of other scheduling conflicts we had to meet up with them after they had already been going for a while. But it was really awesome because we were getting the other side of the story that we had heard just yesterday! SO fascinating! Hearing the Jewish side was so, so good because it really made me see that both sides exaggerate different points of their history to support their own narrative. Yesterday, the Palestinians emphasized the “Hebron Massacre” that I spoke of in yesterday’s post, where muslims were shot while they were praying. But today, the Jews emphasized another massacre in 1929 where 67 Jews were killed during the Arab Revolt of ’29. It was so interesting to hear what each side wanted you to hear, and it actually made it much easier to figure out what the real story was. Some parts of the tour made me see where the Palestinians had been exaggerating parts of their story, and then at other points it was easy for me to see that the Jewish tour guide was exaggerating. But the thing is, is that they’re really not exaggerating by our standards. They’re telling their story exactly how they see it, they don’t see any exaggeration. But for us, who have heard both sides as a non-biased third party, can tell where the two stories come together and form some version of the truth. Of course, the “truth” is a very fluid concept over here. If someone actually knew the truth then the conflict would be much easier to solve. We’re constantly discussing how we can find the real story, because everyone is conflicting. Literally, the Palestinians say the conflict isn’t a religion one, it’s about land. The Israeli Jews say the conflict isn’t about politics or land, it’s about religion. Well it doesn’t get much more conflicting than that ladies and gentlemen. They can’t even agree on what they’re fighting about!!

Something else I was thinking about as we walked through the Old City two days ago and yesterday, and the Old City in Bethlehem for that matter, is how incredibly old these places are. I mean these are sites that are THOUSANDS of years old! These were the streets Abraham and Sarah walked! I mean I’ve sure they’re been renovated many times, maybe even destroyed and rebuilt. But the mosque/synagogue where the tombs of the patriarchs and matriarchs are, that building was built by Herod! And it’s still standing! It totally blows my mind...but what’s even weirder is that it only blows my mind when I actually think about what I’m seeing. When I was in France and we were touring castles and churches that were hundreds of years old, I feel like the oldness of those buildings affected me way more, which I don’t understand at all. Thousands of years verses hundreds of years. You’d think this wouldn’t be a hard decision...yet I remember touring Mont Saint Michel and just being overcome by how old and amazing that place was. But here I tour Hebron, one of the most ancient cities in the world, and it doesn’t seem very out of the ordinary. Why is that? I’ve figured out that maybe it’s because they use pretty much the same building materials now that they used back then. Everything is white stone of some sort. Of course the Old City looks older and more worn, but for the most part it looks kinda similar. In France, these older buildings looked way different….that’s the only explanation I can think of. If anyone thinks they have potential insights into my weirdo psyche, let me know :)
I just posted more pictures on Picasa, check them out here!
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