A pedestrian in Jerusalem



It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve not been to a mosque for Friday prayer. After last night’s small and adolescent skirmish between excited young worshippers and police, a ban had been placed on anyone under 50 from praying inside the holy precinct. This meant I had to pray at the hotel behind Shaykh Hasan.

Shaykh Hasan provided us with a moving and relevant bit of advice and with that I went on a short walk in the area just outside our hotel.

People went about their normal daily lives, even with a heavy police presence. The air had somewhat returned to normal. I went with one of the guys from our group to buy a pair of flip-flops. Our group leader expertly haggled with a local laundry owner. An old… no… ancient barber came out and greeted us. His english was better than our Arabic. The normality was slightly unnerving. But I’m told that this is life in Jerusalem.

I suppose by letting myself be distracted by the excitement of ‘resistance’ I risk missing the wonder of this place. And yet I feel it’s the overwhelming weight of knowing whats happening to people a short distance away that bears on my mind.

I believe very strongly that we’re placed in situations in our lives, all expertly choreographed to test us, and make us better people. The fact that I was asked to come on this trip at all, my expenses being covered, and being allowed to take part in the religious rites, I know I’m blessed and should be thankful. I wonder though, about how being in a situation where during part of the day I sit reflecting and worshipping and the other part of the day I follow, hear and witness the result of the evil thats happening, I wonder how this will effect me as a young man.

I should hope I return a better father to my daughter, a better husband to my wife, and a better son and relative to my family. I should also hope that I get closer inclined to the process of refining my spirit. And tell the truth no matter how hard it might be. Most of all I think I should return and be a man who can still hope. How could I not, walking and seeing the way people carry on, living under occupation.

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