the separation wall between Jerusalem and Jericho
for more photos, click here
I'm sure many of you are familiar with the story of the blind men and the elephant, in which six blind men each feel different parts of the elephant, convinced that their individual part is the only true characteristic of the elephant. The poem posits that humanity does the same thing with God-- we are each convinced that the piece we know is the only true characteristic.
I've been thinking about this story a lot since I've come here to Palestine/Israel, the birthplace of the people of the Book-- Jews, Muslims and Christians. Looking over the Jerusalem skyline, you can see the buildings of all three places of worship prominently displayed. Since arriving, we have met peacemakers of all three faiths, all passionately committed to ending the occupation and finding ways to live together. At ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions), we met Jewish activists working against the oppressive violence of their state. At Holy Land Trust, we met Palestinian Christians who teach nonviolence and organize weekly demonstrations against the separation wall. At Wi'am, Muslim peacemakers lead mediation workshops and work to reconcile inter personal conflicts. Yet religion continues to be used to divide and separate people, something my understanding of the elephant doesn't support.
If only we could recognize the common humanity in one another and unite as brothers and sisters, the children of Abraham that we all are!