Encounter 141– November 27, 2020

Winter is here and has made us decide to hold our circle inside the sulfur plant ‘skeletal’ structure. The decision was taken in a deep discussion among Shmulik, Nahshi and myself on our way to the “Migdalor”. We picked up Hayuta on our way.
We get there, get organized, and realize we forgot to bring water with us…
Luckily Maharan arrives, with a container of water in the car. A call for help which Nahshi sends out on our whatsapp group is answered by Mari who promises to bring more water.
In the meantime, Maharan, a lawyer and teacher (citizenship and history) tells about some of his experiences as a lawyer and slips into an interesting historical review in which he details spatial allotment according to the Bedouin tribal organization system. Maharan says this entails the entire Sinai peninsula, the Negev desert, ‘Trans-Jordan’ and a bit further to the north. This division also stretches in time, namely from the 18th-century on… Fascinating.
Shani and Or arrive, the film students from Sapir College who filmed, edited and presented a short film about the Migdalor as a part of their studies.
Maharan goes on from Bedouin history to American stuff, giving us a sociological explanation of Trump’s fall. He proceeds to the fall of the Israeli Labor party (Barak finished that one off…), continues towards various versions of the end of the world in different belief systems, tells us about the dynasty of Genghis Khan, his sons and conquests, and finally ends up this world-history review with his conclusion that all of North Africa is descended from Palestinian Canaanites…
Mari arrives with her promised water, as well as Nur and Nomika.
We hold an acquaintance circle to catch up.
Maharan tells us that in the Gaza Strip they’ve lost control over the Covid-pandemic. The only way out now is ‘herd immunity’.
Nomika updates us on getting ventilation machines into the Strip.
To my request, Shani tells us that their film about the Migdalor received warm professional reactions, but because of details that might endanger others, it was seen only by their classmates, lecturers and us. 15 minutes-long film edited from 30 hours of shooting… Editing was a frustrating experience. Eventually they focused on the editing, with despair and hope of the average person as a leading theme. Shani also made a film based on a conversation she had – with the help of Ghadir – with Warda, the caregiver of Iyad Al Halaq who was murdered by Border Police in East Jerusalem. She focused on reactions of people who hear her interview with Warda.
Nomika reads the invitation to the film made by Adir and Liora (not yet screened…), also students at Sapir who have come (and will return?) to our circle. This film too could not be screened because it is based on contact with people from Gaza. We are considering holding a small event for invitees only to watch the three films.
Brian arrives and introduces himself. An ex-lawyer from Virginia.
Since Maharan is a lawyer too, right away a discussion ensued about psychopaths and good people…
Nur, encouraged by Nomika, reads us two poems she has written on her personal experience in the stormy relation with her Gazan neighbors.
For Brian’s sake we hold another acquaintance circle, this time emphasizing the matter of “Gaza awareness”.
Mari speaks of the complexity of these relations that attracts her to come to the circle and understand more.
Nahshi speaks with friends in Gaza. He talks them from time to time. The circle is interesting, new, people are showing interest. Waiting to get back to some semblance of peaceful routine.
Hayuta comes to support the supporters… Less across the fence.
Nur thinks about “Nur” who lives in Gaza and what her “double’s” life is like.
Nomika, 14 years after founding “Another Voice” wishes not to lose the ability of seeing the other’s suffering. Over the years, ties have formed.
Shmulik speaks of a single space in which he is partakes, hoping for one human space.
Shahak arrives on foot towards the end of our meeting, with a backpack, as he left his vehicle behind. He has been living temporarily in Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, and a talk with Shmulik aroused his curiosity to come and join us. He doesn’t know Gaza. He came to the vicinity in order to get to know the inhabitants of the Israeli side. Although he runs for his own pleasure through the kibbutz fields and arrives at the Gaza Strip fence, it doesn’t make him want to get to know those who live on the other side.
Brian lives in Ashqelon. For his fellow inhabitants there, Gaza is the origin of missiles. He has come in order to remember that there are human beings living on the other side. Whoever doesn’t know that thinks that the ‘other side’ consists only of beasts, he says.
Or says that until he came to film us, Gaza for him was a mystery. And didn’t interest him. Filming and meeting us made him get interesting and realize that there are people over there who are suffering, but Corona has overtaken the interest in Gaza, again.
For Shani, Gaza has been quite an issue with her conscience lately. She has heard some details from a veteran member of Kibbutz Nir-Am whom she met while observing Gaza. He gave names to places she saw with her friend, and told them of villages that no longer exist. Shani realized how much her generation lacks information.
That’s it. We were thrilled to see Or and Shani again, listen to Nur’s sensitive spirit through her poems, see Brian for the third encounter in a row, listen to Maharan’s abundant knowledge, and as usual – drink Nahshi’s coffee…
Participants: Maharan, Shmulik, Nahshi, Hayuta, Shani, Or, Oded, Mari Nomika, Nur, Brian, Shahak.
Wrote: Oded