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Second September journey interlude: A serious prayer

Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian territories (and beyond) through a month of trial. And today: wishing for peace.

Today is September 20th: the famous date on which the Palestinian statehood bid was supposed to move into full gear, stirring violence in its wake. In action, very little happened. The Palestinians are still trying to work a diplomatic miracle with the US to prevent a veto. The Israelis are trying to work their own miracle with the global community. Months may pass until things get off the ground.

Still, September 20th has become a symbol, a keyword for the mayhem that may follow the vote. The day finds me in the city of Cordoba, which a symbol in itself. For hundreds of years this was the intellectual and artistic capital of Europe. Tolerance and cooperation between three civilizations turned this into a flowering oasis of humanity.

Cordoba is situated about halfway between New York, the vote’s setting, and the land which it will effect. As I walk through white streets, Prime Minister Netanyahu flies over my head from the latter to the former, to meet with President Abbas and speak at the general assembly. During the 10th century the General Assembly would convene right here, in the courtyard of the Khalif’s minister Hasdai Ibn Shaprut. There Jewish, Muslim and Christian intellectuals would debate all matters of this earth, peacefully.

Today I choose not to post another chapter in this travelogue, but rather pray for peace. I’m not a man of faith, but am always happy to pray and the more I explore this month, my felling grows that wishes for peace are in order: peace for Palestinians, peace for Israelis, peace for everyone else. Today was bound to be anticlimactic, but this time in history may prove otherwise.

A few posts ago I quoted a poem by great 20th century French poet Jacques Prévert. I picked his take on the lord’s prayer and matched a picture from Cordoba to each one of its 32 lines. It should prove a particularly effective spell for warding off a war of relgion. All photos were taken today, during a seven hour pilgrimage. All are from here. I found the translation of “Pater Noster” online and can’t see who translated it. if anyone knows, please add the credit in the comments section.

Our father who art in heaven

Stay there

And we’ll stay here on earth

Which is sometimes so pretty

With its mysteries of New York

And its mysteries of Paris

At least as good as that of the Trinity

With its little canal at Ourcq

Its great wall of China

Its river at Morlaix

Its candy canes

With its Pacific Ocean

And its two basins at the Tuileries

With its good children and bad people

With all the wonders of the world

Which are here

Simply on earth

Offered to everyone

Strewen about

Wondering at the wonder of themselves

And daring not avow it

As a naked pretty girl dares not show herself

With the world’s outrageous misfortunes

Which are legion

With legionaries

With torturers

With the masters of this world

The masters with their priests their traitors and their troops

With the seasons

With the years

With the pretty girls and the old bastards

With the straw of misery rotting in the steel of cannons.

Click here for more of the september journey

Thanks for reading and taking part in the adventure. If any of you would like to pitch in for my travel and food, please do so using the “donate” button at the top of this page. Please be sure and specify that you are contributing to Yuval’s September Journey. I’m deeply grateful to those who already donated. Thank you so much! This trip would have been impossible if not for you.

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    1. Devaki Shepard Chayut

      Thank you. Thank you.

      Reply to Comment