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ISRAEL/PALENSTINE...WHEN WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH

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Since returning to the states and adjusting to my normal rhythm at seminary, I have struggled to put my Israel/Palestine trip into meaningful words. It is to that end that I am deeply grateful for my photos and for the stories, dissonance, and truth that they harbor. Upon committing to this photo essay project, part of my own processing involved figuring out the best way to present my photographs. Initially, these photographs were shot with the intention of being expressed in full color, but after converting them to black and white, I couldn’t present them in any other way. I felt compelled to present the photos in a way that would help invite an audience to a conversation of meaning and interpretation, while simultaneously showing the paradox of constructing a narrative of Israel/Palestine that is binary.
 
Many motifs and themes surfaced again and again throughout the trip. For the purpose of this blog, I am highlighting the theme of 
“memory” – how memory can hold both deposits of liberation and fear and the connection between memory and victimization.
 
I’m indebted to the Israelis & Palestinians—along with Jews, Muslims, and Christians—that trusted me to hold their stories. There is too much at stake; as a future educator and minister, I recognize the earnest need to do my best to communicate this multi-layered narrative with integrity. The beauty of photography is that it helps us tell the truth, especially at times when the written word falls flat – this project is a small attempt to do just that.

 

Art/Poetry on Separation Wall

1. Art/Poetry on Separation Wall

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2. Cedar trees at Yad Vashem. In the Hebrew Bible, cedar trees were chosen to build the temple in Jerusalem and Solomon’s home

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 3. Palestinians are barred from using Shuhada Street by the Israeli government. In 1994, almost half of the Arab shops there closed following the Hebron Mosque massacre killing of 29 Arabs by Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein.

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4. Engraving commemorating the Day of Nazi Germany surrender

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5. Woman lighting candles at Jesus’ tomb memorial inside the Holy Sepulchre

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 6. Monument to Warsaw Ghetto heroes that resisted Nazi forces in 1943

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 7. Memories of freedom on the Separation Wall in Bethlehem

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8. Candles at the Church of the Nativity

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 9. Stones placed on top of Theodor Herzl (founder of Zionism/State of Israel) burial site

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10. Art on the Separation Wall

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11. Memories of the Intifada (violent Palestinian resistance against the State of Israel)

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12. “Kill All Arabs” on a garage in Hebron

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13. Yasser Arafat (1929 – 2004), Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, president of the Palestinian National Authority, and leader of Fatah. Fought for Palestinian self-determination against Israel

 

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