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Take the chance and visit West Bank

- by Lysi Anne, Brazil - 

Last year, I had an opportunity to visit West Bank on a tour. Indeed, it was an incredible experience. I remember that as soon as we left Jerusalem we hit a big wall with fences and guards. What could be a movie scene or just a “back to the past” moment, it was not.

So far, the Wall was my favorite Pink Floyd’s album, a British rock band. And there I was, in real life facing a separation wall in the West Bank. It is possible that one side considers it as a security barrier but the impression from the other side is separation. I don’t have numbers about length and height but it surprised me to know that the wall was not there from the far past as we think but it was built in 2000. When that happened, many families were separated by it and are still separated today with no permission to circulate freely around the area. The impression I had that human lives around there cannot move freely.

Living conditions are very bad too. lack of water and electricity is almost permanent. Food supply is limited. What goes in and out depends on border control.

We all heard from media and history books about Palestine. Each of us may carry an image of how the region might be. But the experience of visiting there is more than a visit to a tourist attraction to take pictures or religious places from the bible. We are touched by our human side deeply.

I believe that a traveler should do this experience at least once. Because as much as I can describe here in words, it will never be the same than actually going there.

And how this? Why visiting West Bank from Jerusalem can bring such feeling?

Indeed traveling around the world can change how we live our lives and bring questionings that in our comfort zone we could not see otherwise. It can change the way we think about ourselves and the world.

After a while, when we visit more and more places that seem exotic to our comfortable zone, more we realize that behind a Japanese, an American, a Spanish, a Vietnamese, a Syrian or where ever one comes from, we are just human beings. Countries and borders lines become more and more fictional. They are cultural representations from different people joining together in different moments of history. And it is not only a language ,for example, that we inherit but a complex cultural and social beliefs system that we see ourselves immersed on.

All these structured beliefs make us believe our groups are different from the other group. From one another. But the deep true is that we are all heart beating, breathing air, with the same needs of eating food, drinking water, having a shelter and going to the toilet. Simple as that. The moment we think that group of people with different believes are separated from us, we lose our humanity.

A concrete wall that can be seen and touched, barbed wires with guards and checkpoints explicit “right in the face” the feeling of how we as humans in the year of 2018 still believe in separation based in cultural/social/religious believes.

And this is what makes a visit to West Bank so shaking believes, in my opinion. I hope that a concrete wall can serve us at least as a reminder of what are we doing and bring reflections of our values of justice and what we choose to believe and defend. Independently where we come from.
I would like to thanks all the team involved that made this visit possible. I know you are many. And remember we are all humans.

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