Another sunny day in Jerusalem


I ran into some vigorous protests today. After Israel’s Independence Day celebrations, the Palestinians wanted their say. Many of those present were the descendents of those who lost homes and land in 1948 and later. Of course, the wall and the Israeli West Bank settlements have continued this loss of land.

After allowing the protesters 40 minutes of chanting, the security forces waded in and hauled off two men — they knew who they wanted. Later, various people got shoved and beaten, including some older women, young boys, and Palestinian medics. A group of “tween” girls led the later chanting and paid the price by being chased down and thrown around. One needed bandages. One soldier was about to shoot a girl with rubber bullets at point blank until his comrades yelled at him to stop. I’m sure that most or all of these soldiers would rather not be having to do this. They have all the physical weapons on their side, but the taunts of the crowd must bite. Then again, the memory of suicide bombings and other atrocities hardly encourages gentleness.

The protest was led by women. Later, after dark, young men took to the Old City’s streets, singing in call-and-response. In the narrow streets, they roared. The crowd dispersed without trouble, but the night is not done.

Meanwhile, hundreds of busloads of sunburned tourists wander the Holy City, seeking their Gods of love among stones that have surely seen more millennia of human blood than any other rocks. Living history, indeed.

To close, here’s a Banksy from a building just behind the 8-12 ft concrete wall that separates the people of Bethlehem from Israel.


8 thoughts on “Another sunny day in Jerusalem

  1. Anne

    I learn such a wide variety of things from you! This time around: a “banksy”.
    Wiki as happy to give me the history of Mr. Banksy’s “career” in exhaustive detail but it took the Urban Dictionary to give me what I think I was looking for:
    1. A generic term for stenciled street art.
    2. A general slang term for easily done street art that mimics commercial advertising.
    I always enjoy (and often learn from) all your posts. Thank you for writing!

  2. Kat Z.

    Thank you for that insightful report from the front lines of an area that seems steeped in tension, hate, and tragedy. It makes one wonder what kind of gods foster that? Or, do the affronts and injustices have much to do with religion? Must be fascinating, if not exhausting, to be there.

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Thank you. To have so many cultures, sacred sites, and limited resources (e.g., water and productive land) squeezed into a small space is perhaps a recipe for trouble, but also an opportunity to use our humanity to find a good way forward. It seems that all sides have legitimate grievances. Getting beyond that is, as the last century shows, a challenge to say the least.

  3. kathrynslife

    I’ve been in Kashmir this last week – another victim of international boundaries. At a Hindu shrine in the mountains there is a sign saying “there is only one truth but many learned men to interpret it” I love your blog – found it via a friend with children at Sewanee and was delighted when the book came out. I hope the sabbatical is working out well for you. We have found sabbaticals changed our lives for the good more than once in the past – they give one time to look up from the page. Thank you for bringing so much pleasure to our lives Kathryn Marsh (usually in Ireland)

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Thank you! I hope that your travels in Kashmir are fruitful and safe. It is certainly a region that has been at the center of much conflict, but incredibly culturally and biologically rich I understand. With my best wishes, David


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