Friday, February 1, 2008

Bethlehem and the Wall, part 2

Again, this is written by my father, who is currently visiting Bethlehem:

Feb. 1, 2008

I walked to the Wall this morning. It’s only perhaps 500 meters from Bethlehem Bible College, toward Jerusalem. It’s huge. The only time I’ve seen something like it was when I visited West Berlin in 1977, and saw the Berlin Wall up close. This one has the same sort of feeling, of being blocked out (or in). There are massive guard towers, with little windows in them, and I caught the face of a soldier looking down at me. I wonder what he was thinking?

There’s a big gate, too – I guess so they can drive through into Bethlehem, if they need to.

The wall is covered with graffiti, lots of it about freedom and justice (I'll have to write down some of them). Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr., and Arabs, and Latinos, and others. Famous people, and local people. Some of them mention America (like, “thanks for helping Israel build this wall,” or mentioning how much American money was spent on the wall).

As I walked up and down, the wall looming over me (50 feet tall? Taller?), and stretching on and on, I couldn’t help but think of the wall of Jericho, and praying, “God, bring this wall down. Bring down this barrier between Israelis and Palestinians. Bring healing, forgiveness, reconciliation. Allow these people to learn to live in peace.”

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