Posted on October 30, 2014 by Geo Poor
I live 0.93 miles from the Green Line. For those who don’t know what that means, I live, in a perfectly normal suburban(ish) area that is less than a mile from an area that is called by some “occupied.” An area that looks just like this, and many other cities, and yet if anyone builds there, it causes an outcry. An area sensitive enough that many would die for it.
The other night, I visited a friend’s house a 10-minute walk towards the center of town. The Green Line is burned into the ground by our minds and history mere feet from the wall of his home. This is not a frontier; this is not the Wild West. This is a normal residential neighborhood, poised upon what is viewed as the edge. We stood, on a hilltop, with a vista of dreams and nightmares. As I turned my head West to East, I saw beautiful hotels, symbols of progress, buildings many centuries old, sites holy to three religions, an ancient and revered cemetery, villages, a contentious wall-fence-securitybarrier, lights, stars, and beauty. I heard, from the valleys, gunshots and fireworks, cheers and screams, as riots, protests, and the funeral preparations of a terrorist, a murderer of a 3-month-old baby took place below me. Events from the newspaper unfold before me as my friends and I, good people – some of the best I’ve known – who want nothing other than to live lives peaceful and meaningful, safe and free, reflect. This is supposed to be a place of such ideals: the source of salvation for over 3.7 billion people, a reminder to treat others as if they were created in the image of God, a City of God, a City of Peace. Our dreams, safely snuggled inside our minds, struggle to emerge into fruition.
Down the street a few nights later, a man suspected for attempted assassination will be killed in a gunfight with police.
The past week has seen tragedies – an assassination attempt, people killed without trial, injuries, massive mobilization of police, the shutdown of a holy sites, and the deaths of innocents including that of a human baby, her whole life laid before her and then washed away, a passing shadow. We have seen diplomatic diatribes, allies and foes jousting with words, drifting and pushing further apart. The situation has been rough before, but it seems to be getting rougher. In man’s history, has he created a tool, the opposite of sandpaper, to make things rougher? To undo good and progress? To make the edges more jagged, more able to cut and hurt? Any tool other than words and deeds? Are we hurtling carelessly toward an end? Toward something big, something terrible?
What effect do such events have on us, as they wound, and they terrorize, and they push all sides apart, as floating debris flees from a drop of oil hurled into a tub of water? Do we lose our humanity? Do we lose the humanity of the other?
In this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” a man lay dying in an abandoned church – an empty shrine to God, filled with pain, a haven maintained by a lone priest, praying for the end of the nightmare of deaths. The church is referred to as “four walls and a roof.” Within the confines of these walls, both trapping and protecting, we observe the last testament of one of God’s human creations. As the man prepares for whatever God had in store for him, he speaks to a friend who holds in his arms a baby girl.
“Nightmares end,” he advises in his last breaths. “They shouldn’t end who you are.” It seems a prophecy that I would like to believe.
“Just look at her,” he smiles as tells the father of the baby girl. “And tell me the world isn’t going to change.”
.כן יהי רצון