Shutter Stories: Israel/Palestine

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The road and I will sleep
there, next to a cave, over the hill,
then rise at dawn and carry each other
asking: What next? Where are you taking me?
I see the fog, but I don’t see the road,
nor does it see me.
Have I arrived?
Or have I been separated from the road?
I asked myself, then said:
Now, from this distance,
a traveler like me
can look back! 

~ Mahmoud Darwish, “The Traveler”

We all need to look back after we have journeyed to or from some place. Sometimes the cast-back eye sees more, despite the blurring effects of memory. I lived in Israel for nearly 5 years, and still it is a mystery. So, like Darwish’s traveler, I look back in time, scanning old photos for a clue, riffling through pixels as if they were postcards.

What is written on the reverse side of these images? What is written in the crevasses I didn’t explore? In the questions I didn’t ask? The photos don’t say. So I try to content myself with the unknown and unanswered. Maybe the mystery of a land or people is like the dark side of the moon. Maybe beauty is only possible if we can’t compass its full scope.

The Dome of the Rock, a site holy to Christians, Muslims, and Jews

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A Palestinian boy in a refugee camp near Ramallah.

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Arafat “drowning” in melons

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Carmel Market, Tel Aviv – like Ali Baba’s cave.

IMG_1097Fashion-conscious women in Bethlehem.

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Male versions of the Fates, sitting on a bench, people-watching.

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St. Peter’s Church in Old Jaffa.
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Inside the Church of the Nativity, Bethelehem.
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Graffiti on the “security wall/separation fence”.
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Tel Aviv Beach.
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Someplace, Tel Aviv.
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Another bike, this one in a Bethlehem refugee camp.

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Children playing in the sand, Tel Aviv.
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