Lighthouse 111 Zoom – May 1, 2020

Today’s circle revolved around the idea of “neighbors”.
It was facilitated by Jaber from his home in the unrecognized village Al Zarnouk. Since the place is not recognized by the State of Israel, it has no regular connection to internet infrastructure, so this Zoom meeting suffered much technical trouble. Still we held our circle properly, with Jaber facilitating and shortly translating everything that was said into Arabic so that Marwan could understand and take part.
Most of us are old hands at this circle, and we keep sharing our various feelings towards our neighbors in the Gaza Strip. Still, there is always someone saying something new, or reminding us, such as Smadar who spoke of the colored pencils she bought in Gaza as a child, which reminded Rami of a poem about a color box that Tali Shorer wrote many years ago, when she was 13. He read us all this charming poem.
It was interesting to hear Maya Segal (mother of Mir, who spoke before her), who had arrived from Russia to Israel 30 years ago, and notices that all of us, inhabitants of the region, are victims of cynical rulers.
Vivian spoke about a picture of a hotel she stayed in while visiting Gaza, about her activity to bring hearts together, and the initiative that was interrupted when the Second Intifada broke out.
Mary showed a video she took of two miniature olive trees she once bought – the one planted outdoors didn’t know it was supposed to be miniature, and grew up as a large, beautiful tree. The one that stayed in a flower pot indoors wilted and died. So here we have a live image of freedom vs. closure…
Bella reminded us that this was Mayday, and that we used to demonstrate for a better world. “I don’t think we were that successful…” said Bella, sadly.
I was helped by the popular Italian song “Avanti Popolo” sung and played by a young Italian woman from the porch of her home to raise the spirits of her neighbors, sunken in the Corona-virus crisis. “Brotherhood of hardship” shared by people under lockdown…
Julia proudly showed a photo of her grandchildren celebrating May 1 in Tel Aviv. Julia has been working on a research study for a year-and-a-half now. One of the issues at hand is Israeli people’s attitude towards the Gazans. Most of her interviewees, left and right wingers alike, use the word “miserable” to describe the state of the Palestinian Gaza Strip residents.
Uri has told us more than once about father, the physician who in the 1960s saw giving health services to Negev Bedouins as his life calling. This time Uri brought a video that he and Naomi had made about his father (whom the Bedouins named “Abu Asa”) and his life work. Even the award granted his father in 1966 by the Albert Schweitzer Foundation was donated by him to create a medical infrastructure for Bedouins in Jordan, and raised hell in Israel.
And speaking of Jordan… Rami, using a photo as well, spoke about the delegations that reconstructed the nomads travelling the “perfume route” on the backs of camels loaded with myrrh and other good-smelling stuff on their way from the Dead Sea or the Timna copper mines to the city of Gaza and its port. Rami participated in the reconstruction of these journeys, shared by people and camels from the entire region, from Jordan to Gaza. He had slept in the hotel shown in Vivian’s picture…
Mention of the perfumes raised Nahshi’s memory of some medication he had once taken made of one of them…
Towards the end, ‘Atawa spoke. His family bears the 1948 tragedy in actual physical fact after being separated and divided between Israel, Jordan and the Gaza Strip, when the borders were finalized at the end of the war. He expresses sorrow about Israel’s past and present treatment of the tragedy of people who do not belong to the “right” camp.
Rami concluded with thoughts and hints about renewing our physical encounters at the Migdalor (Hebrew for lighthouse…). Mere thoughts and insinuations… Jaber stayed on for a few minutes to translate everything for Marwan who showed impressive patience listening to a language he does not understand.
Present were Roni, Shmulik, Jaber, Rosie (from Sweden), Nahshi, Limor, Mary, Mir, Maya, Uri, Oded, Smadar, Vivian, Julia, Bella, Mirale, Malki, Marwan, Ghadir, ‘Atawa.