Middle East

Dealing With Media

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one of the photos I took almost two years ago when I last was in Israel. A jewish boy in front of the Dome of the Rock.

Another Off Topic Post on a Friday, in English this time.

I think we all are aware of the situation in Israel and Gaza and it literally tears up my heart to see this. This sounds soo cheesy, but I don’t what to be on either ‘side’, I really just want everyone to not be extremist and I want people to be aware of the other side.

But this isn’t to be about the conflict and the war itself – I don’t no enough about the the conflict in depth and I don’t know enough about war (and frankly, I hope I’ll never know).
This is about the media. And propaganda and the whole issue of ‘opinions’ and ‘statements’ and snippets we get to see here and there on TV, on social media and via any kind of communication outlet.

From my time in Israel two years ago (gosh, I’m getting old!) I still am connected to people on facebook I now wish I wasn’t. There are things in my news feed I can’t really take, not because they are too violent or too disturbing because of the misery displayed, but they literally SCREAM racism and propaganda. There are racist jokes about ‘Arabs’ shared and things ‘Arabs’ can do or be in Israel, while Israelis can’t do any of the things displayed in any other Arabic country. And then, reading newspaper articles online you get a distrubing image of Hamas using their people as human shields, houses bombed in Gaza and so many people dying. On TV there are pictures of big, teary eyes of children. And below these online articles are really hateful anti-israeli, anti-zionist and antisemitist comments you wouldn’t exactly expect in a country like Germany. I mean…almost 70 years later.
And to round up this chaos when talking about the situation with my friends over in Israel I get an idea of the way they view the situation over there: being ready for the army’s call but at the same time a little bit sad because this call very probably won’t come, being confronted with rockets every day, multiple times and having no real chance to leave the country – or: not wanting to. But when they ask my perspective they usually don’t believe it. A family with German citizenshop killed in Gaza? Well…they probably didn’t do anything to leave Gaza then – right? (Nope, they probably did. All borders are closed.)

I don’t have any idea how to solve all these problems. I don’t even want to argue with my friends about how the dead people (and I’m not talking children only here) in Gaza used to be as human as the dead Israeli soldiers and how some people being as extremist as Hamas is probably does not give any other person the right to be the same.

I don’t know what it is like to be hated by a small and yet armed group of extremists and I am very grateful for that, but eventually I just wish for peace and an ending to the killing.

My BA thesis which I wrote last year was about constructions of identity in performances with participants from the Middle East (Israelis, Palestinians, Iranians) and during my work on that and seeing the productions I was writing about I saw a lot of (‘acted’) hate and misunderstanding. I like to believe that in theses groups they actually were close and they could overcome these things, but I know that there people around (of ANY nationality) thinking that other people (of ANY nationality) don’t have the right to do what they are doing or to be where they are. And it really hurts my actual body to know this. To know that people are like that. And that they are willing to kill other people for that.

I know this post sounds a little whiny and maybe even a little bit ‘The white girl is having trouble with the bad world!’, but really: All I want is peace.

And I’d love to make a statement, leave a sign, whatever.
But that’s hard without making someone else uncomfortable, without being seen as anti-israeli, anti-jewish, anti-whatever and without seeing myself as anti-human. I’m stuck there and here in between things.

But then again, this is not about me, this is about these countries (which is more like one country and one kind of not-occupied, but in the same moment occupied one) and about the people living there. They need to know things and we all need to learn and know things and we all need to support whatever it takes to establish a human way of living for both sides over there in Israel and the Palestinian territories. And not in some pseudo-liberal but segregating arrangement.

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Temple Mount viewed from Mount of Olive, this is not only the ‘most Jerusalem’-y image for me, but also a multi-religious one.

Hebrew Confession pt II

Since my Bachelor’s thesis is gonna deal with identification and building identities in two different theatrical contexts with performers from the Middle East (to be precice Iran, Israel, Palestine and – not very Middle Eastern – Germany) I thought a lot about what ‚identity’ could be and last week I met up with a co-worker from university who lived in Israel for some time and is dealing with the Middle East in her dissertation (and has been before in her Master’s thesis) and we talked for some time about our work(s) and the Middle East and the experiences we made ‚over there’.

Obviously – and that was what we agreed about – identity (and especially national identity) is constructed in a slightly different way in the Middle East and I think that the language plays kind of an important role in this game. And then I realized that my knowledge of Hebrew is influencing me more than my knowledge of English or most basic German (which are basically the only two modern languages I know at a decent level). Even though I love English and I do quite an amount of my communication in that language (not to talk about German being my first language as some of you will know/assume/have figured out) my ‚relationship’ with Hebrew is of a different nature. My Hebrew is (of course!) not of the quality my English is – why should it? I’ve learned Hebrew for two and a half years now (two years ‚active’) while my English has been growing for eleven years now (gosh, I’m getting old!). But still it really belongs to me and it had from the very moment of learning the Alef-Bet – which wasn’t really the case when I started learning Russian (for the record, no, sadly I really don’t relate to Russian).

The week before our meet up I talked to a class mate from from the Hebrew class I went to before I decided to go with the harder one. When he asked me why I as a theatre girl would learn Hebrew I answered something very weird but fitting at the same time.

I said: You know, I guess in fell in love with Hebrew the minute I started learning it. And now we’re married. Life-long.

Actually THAT gives me a different perspective of some other things in my life, but I guess, that would be another story….