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
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
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 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.
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.