Still havea  backlog of stuff to write. Today:
  • Settler
  • PLO Rep
  • Tour of "the wall."
But I need to give up the computer.

In which I come close to harm...

The Old City of Jerusalem is eerily quiet at night. The shops are closed and everyone save a handful of male Arabs have deserted the streets, with the rare tourist, female, or soldier on the way home at night. It's not a comfortable place for females to walk alone - I get comments asking if I'm lost that could easily be much more threatening, and while I don't have that experience, I have felt useful as an escort of sorts coming home.

Last night, I chose to come home ahead of the group to talk with an NGO volunteer who had gone to an Ivy league school in order to pick his brain (surprise, surprise, this school isn't very different from Williams in some ways....) but as we approached the intersection where we were to part, we heard shouting. Loud shouting.

It was the kind of noise that suggests volume even at distance, and which carries tones of chaos and anger. We cautiously rounded the corner and saw, about 50 feet down the alley, a fairly intense street fight in progress. There were at least 10 combatants, joining and leaving the conflict, which seemed to be mainly between 3 guys. I have no idea about the cause. We walked closer, maintaining distance from the conflict, which moved down the alley a little, and stopped with some Palestinian women standing in the front of a shop. It's florescent lights were easily the brightest light in the alley, and I hoped that I could wait out the conflict there; there was no convenient path home that I knew save the alley in front of me.

The guy I was with chose to get out his iPhone and surreptitiously film the event, which disturbed me, not just because it wasn't his business to film without permission but also because I felt it put me and, by proxy, myself at risk. He chose not to stop, and I regret not taking a harder line besides non-verbal cues with a few comments. Guys were getting through down, running up and down the alley, and getting pushed into metal shop doors; the slam reverberated up and down the centuries-old narrow stone street. I convinced my companion to withdraw, and he used his iPhone to find a twisty path home to northward. Apprehensively, I followed it back and managed to find my way through the turns to the Austian Hospice, and to sure safety.

There's no moral to this particular story and no special lesson: it's only one of many, many experiences that I simply don't have the time to write up. Today, I went to an eccumential lutheran service and we met with three bereaved people who are seeking peace from both sides, despite the loss of a daughter and husband to the conflict. These experiences were also intense, but they will have to wait.

Good night.