The Holy and The Profane

By: Nicole Newman (Washington D.C.)

Israeli soldiers tinker with armor

Adjust guns on hips

Too young to know what damage

A gun that size can do

They watch with scared hard eyes

In some, there is a youthful softness

Like young men in the states drafted

Before they know there are other options

And I wonder who decided who needs to be watched and who are the watchers

And maybe these soldiers like this service

Maybe duty and country are constructs

Only foreign to the descendants of former slaves

Maybe our service looks different

Maybe these soldiers like the power of being able to decide who come and goes

Who loves and lives and dies in an instance

The young girl dead from 5 bullets to the chest

Didn’t adjust

I watch Muslim woman both covered with a hijab and in skinny jeans and think there is something oddly beautiful about tradition with a modern twist

I wonder did her hijab come loose as her body hit the floor

Or was it wrapped so tightly it did not move

What moves here??

What is the currency?? Is it blood?? Is it nationalism? What is being held so tightly??

Land?

I have come to hear from living stones

Rocks that will cry out and yet there is something

Both holy and profane about this place

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Discovery

By: Corey Holmes, PhD Researcher, Howard University

I must admit, I was uninformed regarding the magnitude of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  I knew of Yasser Arafat and his commitment to peace in the Middle East, earning him a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.  I also understood that Israel was “holy ground” for God’s people and the place where many citizens go to worship and visit holy sites.  After visiting Israel for almost two weeks, it is still a very complex place where some form of all sides hold truth.  This post is simply thoughts on my experiences while in Israel meeting with Palestinians, visiting holy sites, and listening to views on this conflict.

The remapping of lines to construct borders is nothing new.  During 1884-85, the Berlin Conference in the Scramble for Africa divided the African continent among 13 European countries, in the quest for civility and a “Christian way of life”. Imperialism and eventually colonialism was established, and currently Africa is starting to feel the effects of elitism and classism among its diverse populations.

Comparably, the first Prime Minister of Israel, David-Ben Gurion, with the blessing of U.S. President Harry Truman, created the independent sovereign state of Israel in May 1948.  A few years prior, the United States was faced with a tough decision due to the potential alliance of the Soviet Union (its starkest enemy at the time), with Arab nations who held most of the world’s oil resources.  President Truman wanted the U.S. Department of State to conduct talks with both Jews and Arabs to see if a resolution was possible before intervening.  In 1946, President Truman created a special cabinet led by Assistant Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Grady, to oversee the region and conduct negotiations with the British who held economic and political interests in Palestine.  The U.S. Department of State recommended the creation of a United Nations trusteeship with limits on Jewish immigration, and the division of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab provinces, not states. Continue reading