When I think of Israel/Palestine, I think of what I’ve been taught in class. I think of maps, wars, declarations, walls, checkpoints and stones. I think about Christianity, Islam and Judaism. I think about a God that I have become disconnected from after years of struggling with religion. I think about oppression, how two of the most historically oppressed peoples have come together, having more in common than they could know or imagine, have come together to breed even more oppression. I think about a tiny piece of land with huge importance. I think about liberation, and equality, for the Palestinian and the Israeli people.
However, there is only so much I can learn in World Religions, Liberation Theology, Hiroshima to 9/11 or Model UN. There is only so much I can learn by writing Israeli/Palestine peace proposals or watching and reading countless works about the current and historical situation. There is only so much that can be learned from reel, or ink and paper. I want to learn all that I can learn about “the Promised Land”, as my Jewish faith calls it, and I can only do so by going there.
Our group of diverse students and faculty are just three days away from a long flight to a land with a long history, and I have no doubts about what I have chosen to do for my Senior Project. As I have stated, my choice of the Israel/Palestine trip is deeply rooted in finding my disconnected spiritual roots in Jerusalem, at the West Wall, in the land that was promised to Abraham’s descendants. I’d like to find something that affects me deeply in the holy land, and I have a feeling that I won’t have to look very hard at all.
However, my religion(or lack of it) is not the only reason that I’m going to take this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Journalism is the career field that I’d like to find myself in years down the road, and there is no better “on the job” experience than a trip to meet strong-willed people and see some of the world’s holiest sites in arguably the most controversial place in the world. My hope is that this trip will be a kick-start to my journalism career, and will be something that I’ll be able to use for reference for the rest of it.
I could sit here and write pages upon pages of why I’m going to Israel/Palestine, but I don’t intend to bore you, noble reader. In fact, I applaud you for making it through that wall of text. What I will tell you though, is that I am incredibly excited. In fact, more excited than I’ve ever been in my life. The textbooks that I have been reading from Sunday school at seven to the movies at seventeen will come to life. I only hope that I’ll be able to calm myself down and not over-analyze enough to actually enjoy myself and find my center while I’m there. I don’t expect to solve any world problems while I’m other, no one person can do that, but I do expect to solve some of Mike’s problems.
Thanks for reading,