The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Making sense of it all

We're back! Truth to tell we've been back almost a week now but Israel doesn't leave your consciousness easily and I still feel too conflicted to state anything categorically. Actually that's not strictly true (you see I can't even state I can't state anything categorically categorically) - there is one bald statement I'm pretty sure of - it was a trip that I'll never forget.

The holy land is a mess of contradictions, factions, violent reactions, victims and bullies, peacemakers and prophets. A powder keg of a country guarded by kids with machine guns. How can a place so inspiring be fractured so utterly by hatred? Why is it that something special must be carved up into bloody chunks so that everyone can have their piece rather than sharing the whole? That's simplistic and misguided and misses the point but every argument I come up with, every theoretical construct I create to explain to myself the situation seems woefully incomplete and naive. There is faith here, and when there is faith there is no need for doubt or fear or the merest hint of a whisper that you might not be right. And there is faith here, faith that a solution can be found, that the children of Abraham can live together side by side, that ultimately grace will prevail through the haze of flying shrapnel, criss-crossed by concrete slabs and coils of barbed wire. I sit before you and I feel humbled and powerless and inspired and nauseas, from the green slopes of the Galilee to the bulls-eye dead centre of the quarters of Old Jerusalem, there's work to be done and no clear way of doing it.

I can't finish this post, I can't decide whether to end on a positive or a negative. A note of succour or the grim status quo. Neither is wholly appropriate, one breeds apathy, the other denies hope. Perhaps it's best to leave it incomplete. Because it's by no means finished ...


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