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Fawath and company

Some of her playmates:

The grrl in the brown tee is actually on top of the swing with other kids under her, the whole rig is seriously vibrating. They're just beginning to notice my cam pointed at them. The bars are on the inside of the school building's big theatre room, which is a lot more room than theatre at the moment --- still way under construction: many of the audience sat in each other's laps or on top of big tables or both. The barb-wire anchor fences in the distance are there to keep the kids in and safe, and the Israelis --- who include kids not much different from these --- out of there.

Victory signs and waves from the kids, for this strange new American suddenly plunked down in their midst. [Who is right there on a virtual swing beside them!] This is late August, in Ramallah; there will be some 90 of them, ages 7 to maybe 16, coming to the puppet show in thirty minutes. In the distance beyond the fencing: hills in this part of the West Bank disputed territories. It's very hot. Both temperature-wise and politically.

But may that never stop kids from playing and having as much fun as they can.

Kids of *any* age, really.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 9th, 2008 07:20 am (UTC)
Oh my God, this is ART.

I'm not sure exactly what was going through your mind when you took these, Brad, even after reading your post, but here's what *I* see:

I see kids playing and laughing. The second picture especially, smiles and victory signs. And you take the picture through bars and in the back are huge barbed-wire fences.

Like a prison yard, Brad. Except it is a place for children to play. Bars and fences, and in that tiny hostile space, the joy of children playing.

There are so many stunningly profound things about that for me I'm still bending my mind around that one.

Maybe that WAS what you meant by this. And if so, I like it. I like it VERY much. As I do the last few lines of your post, especially taken in THIS context.

Thank you. :)
Nov. 9th, 2008 10:17 am (UTC)
Haha I dunno about ART too much, I was thinking 'How the hell can I shoot all this energy between the bars?" ... which are rather stylish, come to think of it. They're just there to protect the inside of the building from intruders, I guess -- not that there's much of anything out there [or, IN there] to steal. Originally I thought when the kids started waving and posing, that pic would be a flop, but I now think it's rather cool. Especially because I can hear them calling to me.

Actually, they couldn't get enough of me. At the show they kept asking me to teach them how to say my name in English and how to pronounce what their T-Shirts said [one humorous one I remember was 'Pirelli', the Italian tire manufacturer:)]

Another funny one said 'Get Down On Your Knees Before The Big Boss' and this was on an 11-year-old girl and I think she only was able to wear it because she is English-literate and her mom is not!

Good times.

They were also totally lol and charmed at how I tried to pronounce their names in Arabic. Rather badly...... I was really not a very good student because we were all making faces and giggling so much. The director had to shut us down when it was time to start the show.....
Nov. 9th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
Aw, that is so sweet!!!! You and the kids, giggling madly.

I once shot a picture of a pansy growing in a bed of rocks. There it was, thriving happily and blooming in a most hostile environment.

This reminds of me of that. :)

And I don't care that you didn't INTEND to create art; you did, you did!! *hugs*
Nov. 9th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
NICE image, Meow: blooming in a hostile environment. Exactly right.

Your pansy pic reminds me of one of Kiota's, which she took in Israel, of a flower pushing out between two blocks in a rock wall. Not sure if it's still up in her dArt gallery ...

You would have loved this whole trip. Especially all the safety inside the French Government Cultural Mission Van with its flag and ""Republique Francaise"" lettering. I begged Pascalina to let me move into the back of it immediately.

She was driving in the safest place in the country with its Palestinian police, Israeli Infantry, Air Force, and armored troops, and terrorists on both sides. She thought I was joking.


The other safest thing is to transform myself into Fawath's twin sister ---- so I would run as fast as she can and go hide as fast as she can too, when it's necessary! I would get to do theatre, too, and she could teach me Arabic.

Of course she does not have a twin sister. So this is a perfect opportunity pour moi.

*goes to hunt up application form*
Nov. 9th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
Ha. Good luck becoming her twin sister. I really want to know where you found this application and exactly who you are sending it to. :)

Also, you would then be as small as Fawath and have more places to hide as a result. :)

I think I would have loved it too. Scared shitless, and what the hell, that is part of the fun. *hugs*

Edited at 2008-11-09 08:18 pm (UTC)
Nov. 9th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC)
Hey! I was THAT scared, too! All the time! Holland was a relaxed blessing, a whole tulip basket of them, after all this.

Yes, it is part of the fun to *** remember *** it >>> afterwards <<<.

The biggest scare scenes I played were co-starring El Al security, on both sides of the ocean. Big smiles and all fake courtesy and hidden weapons. Not too well hidden, either. One breast larger than the other by the dimensions of an automatic 9mm pistol?

Wardrobe would fix that in a second were it theatre. But this was very VERY real. Those smiles had steel-jacketed teeth.
Nov. 9th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
Brad...when you were there...I was scared for you. I really was. I didn't realize how much of an active war zone Israel is until you went there.

I prayed for you EVERY DAY. Big fully-loaded Catholic prayers, every day, until you had gotten out of there safely.

Having been in Israel, I can only imagine what it was like, then, to do that play as well. *hugs*

And it reminds me of the time I went to Rocky Flats in seventh grade because I sat on a cactus and needed quick medical attention. We were on a field trip in the middle of nowhere, and the teachers decided I needed help NOW, so off we went to the nearest facility: Rocky Flats, the ACTIVE nuclear weapons plant. Where we were escorted by jeeps with men with guns, and a smiling man with a fully automatic rifle sat across from my teacher while they took me into the bathroom to treat me.

I thought it was marvelous fun. My teachers; not so much. :)
Nov. 9th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
That's because over here the media leaves lots of stuff out. And the government of Israel is not going to do a single thing to hurt tourism: like telling the truth?

What *did* get reported was the eight Jewish students who got shot to death when a terrorist invaded their university campus; the two incidents where Arabs turned construction bulldozers into weapons and rammed four Israeli cars and a bus in two separate attempts before each driver was killed; and the threat by Lebanese Hezbollah to shoot down an El Al jetliner with one of their Russian missiles after the Israeli Air Force launched an airstrike which blew up one of the Hezbollah generals.

I was in-country for that last one. Flying that airline, too. Ticketed well before the Hezbollah tantrum.

The two times I felt reallyreally threatened were (1) getting into something called a Nesher TaxiVan from Tel-Aviv, across the country to Jerusalem: I found out later that the drivers are not licensed and are quite old (80) and drive like they are flying. We did 90 miles per hour all the way across the country and nearly totaled ourselves against the sides of Israeli trucks [only doing 85] three times. Then, (2), getting smushed into a crowd of 300+ Arabs / pilgrims / tourists in the Damascus Gate Market, I was going through there at the wrong time but didn't know it early enough. Nobody could move their arms and we all had to take baby steps in unison. It was the only time I saw all the Israeli police and cops suddenly disappear. They left the crowd to its own devices. At 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Suddenly somebody cleared a little space and punched a teenager square in the face. Luckily he didn't return it, or this would have turned into a full-fledged riot with people climbing up on top of others to get out of there and trampling them. Little kids and old women would have been the first to die.

You won't find this in any tourist book. And you'll never find Silverplate88 anywhere near Damascus Gate / Jerusalem Old City again, either.

I see why everyone goes to those areas to pray. It might be the last thing they ever do in this life.

I marvel continually that Anna got as far as she did, "living" in that country. [I don't know how Fawath or Neta or Lois or Salam do it, either.] Kiota wrote me about taking bulletproof buses to go see her shrinks in Jerusalem. I thought that was cute, at the time. And there is this tunnel you have to take from her hometown into the city which scares everybody. I was all 'poo-poo scaredy cat' ! !.

Until I got on one and eight of those buses, and took a taxi and a bus through that tunnel [different ways.] And saw all the barbed wire, fences, concrete walls, and troops at either end of it.

THIS is the Promised Land?

Not any more. Once is a lot more than enough.

Edited at 2008-11-09 10:03 pm (UTC)
Nov. 9th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
I know. No, I don't know. I wasn't there. But I hear you.

I don't know how Anna did it. I don't know how Lois DOES it.

This is the wonderful country all these crazy Christians here in the US are supporting.

And the people catering to the tourists have started traveling here to sell their wares.

Brad, I'm so glad you're out of there and NEVER planning on going back either. *hugs*

Oh, and random question: what inspired your username?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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