Posts Tagged ‘palestine’

Photo: Ahmed Zakot.
A Palestinian farmer unearthed a Byzantine floor mosaic beneath his olive grove.

We keep learning that beautiful discoveries can still be made, even in mundane settings. Perhaps you have discovered yellowed letters your parents wrote to each other when courting. Perhaps there was an antique bottle inside a wall when you renovated.

Such items can be exciting, but it’s hard to beat the discovery a farmer in today’s stumbled upon.

Elaine Velie reports at Hyperallergic, “Salman al-Nabahin, a farmer from Gaza’s Bureij refugee camp, was trying to plant new olive trees in his orchard but something underneath the soil was standing in his way. He investigated for three months, digging out the soil with his son until they unearthed a stunningly well-preserved Byzantine floor mosaic.

“Al-Nabahin told Reuters that he searched the internet to asses the mosaic’s origins. An archaeologist from the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem, René Elter, later confirmed the work as a Byzantine mosaic, placing the mosaic between the fifth and seventh centuries CE. …

“ ‘Never have mosaic floors of this finesse, this precision in the graphics and richness of the colors been discovered in the Gaza Strip,’ Elter [told the Associated Press], adding that more research is needed to determine the work’s intended function.

“The Palestinian Ministry of Culture stated that investigation into the mosaic was still in its early stages and a team of national experts would partner with experts at the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem to research the work.

“Gaza is situated on a thriving ancient trade route, and dozens of important archaeological discoveries have been uncovered there in the last few years. The recently revealed mosaic, however, sits less than a mile away from the Gaza-Israel barrier, which Elten said puts the discovery in ‘grave danger.’ …

“ ‘I see it as a treasure, dearer than a treasure,’ al-Nabahin told Reuters. ‘It isn’t personal, it belongs to every Palestinian.’ “

Sarah Kuta at the Smithsonian adds, “Now, archaeologists with the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the French Archaeology School are hard at work studying the flooring to learn more about its ‘secrets and civilization values,’ says the ministry in a press statement.

“The mosaic features 17 iconographies of birds and other animals depicted in bright colors. Archaeologists … don’t know whether the mosaic had religious or secular origins.

“The farmer has been covering the unearthed areas of the mosaic floor with tin sheets to protect them; so far, he’s dug up three separate sections, the widest measuring 6 feet by 9 feet, according to Fares Akram of the Associated Press. In total, the land covering the entire mosaic is about 5,400 square feet, and the mosaic itself measures about 250 square feet. Some parts of the mosaic appear to be damaged, likely from the roots of an old olive tree.

“ ‘These are the most beautiful mosaic floors discovered in Gaza, both in terms of the quality of the graphic representation and the complexity of the geometry,’ [Elter] tells the AP. …

“The Bureij refugee camp [is] located about half a mile from the border with Israel. Archaeologists and other experts are concerned about the mosaic’s future because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as looting and a lack of funding for historical preservation.

“ ‘It is a spectacular find, especially as our knowledge of archaeology is sadly so spotty given circumstances there,’ Asa Eger, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, tells the Art Newspaper’s Hadani Ditmars. ‘Gaza was very important during the period of this mosaic and known for its burgeoning wine production exported across the Mediterranean.’ “

You’ll love the photos at Hyperallergic, here, and at Smithsonian, here. No firewalls.

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I was so happy to get this hopeful update on Kids4Peace Boston today.

“For a while last summer, as violence escalated in Israel/Palestine, the possibility of Israeli, Palestinian and US youth coming together for a Kids4Peace camp seemed pretty unlikely.

“But despite countless barriers and uncertainties, all 25 young leaders — Muslims, Christians and Jews from Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Boston — did make it to be together on that beautiful mountaintop in New Hampshire. …

“Being in the presence of one another and listening, really listening, to each other’s stories is the crucial first step in the Kids4Peace experience.

” ‘I came to Kids4Peace to try and understand the different viewpoints that each kid has. Some people don’t understand that someone with a different opinion than you can be right without making you wrong.’
~Participant from Boston

“In the midst of violence, in the midst of despair, there are people who turn towards each other rather than away. This summer 25 peace leaders and their families proved that they are the kind of people who choose to turn towards. These young leaders walked away from camp feeling empowered by and connected to others who believe, as they do, that together peace is possible.

” ‘To be a peacemaker is to hold our hands together, and to help each other not killing each other, to treat each other as humans.’ 
~Participant from Jerusalem”

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Margarida Santos Lopes has a hopeful story at the Christian Science Monitor about an Israeli rabbi and a Palestinain who are friends.

“Shaul David Judelman is an Israeli rabbi who moved from Seattle to Bat Ayin, a religious community in the occupied West Bank.

“Ziad Abed Sabateen is a Palestinian farmer who endured imprisonment during the first intifada against the Israelis more than 20 years ago and whose family was dispossessed of most of its land to accommodate Jewish settlers.

“The two men are good neighbors, friends, and business partners – not enemies.

“Mr. Judelman and Mr. Sabateen are committed to ‘peaceful coexistence’ between Israelis and Palestinians, whether they live together in one state or two separate states.

“The majority of those in both their camps may find it hard to understand the two men’s close relationship. But neither side repudiates them as traitors or collaborators. …

“On a mountaintop with a view of the Mediterranean Sea … Judelman and Sabateen plan to create the Heavens Field Farm, which will put ’emphasis on belonging to the land, not ownership of it,’ according to their joint manifesto.

“Their idea is to run an organic farm that will sell vegetables in local markets, support families in need, and attract volunteers and tourists. Among their partners are a joint Israeli Palestinian journal, called Maktub, and other nonpolitical groups such as Eretz Shalom (Land of Peace).”

Read more to understand how each came to their worldview through different paths.

Photo: Udi Goren
Shaul David Judelman (l.) and Ziad Abed Sabateen, in Bethlehem. They want to create an organic farm in the West Bank as a project for peace.

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A musician and his scholar wife have created an unusual show based on their visits to Israel and Palestine and on the music and sounds they absorbed there.

Joel Brown writes in the Boston Globe: “Performer Yuri Lane grew up the son of artists in San Francisco’s then-gritty Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, which he found to be good preparation for traveling the West Bank as a Jew.

“ ‘I learned a lot about tolerance, and seeing people for who they are, not judging them,’ he says. ‘Also, some street smarts.’

“Lane began visiting Israel and the West Bank in the late 1990s, following his girlfriend, now wife, Rachel Havrelock, a religion scholar who studied on both sides of the Green Line that marks Israel’s pre-1967 borders.”

Together they have created “From Tel Aviv to Ramallah: A Beatbox Journey,” which they call a “hip-hop travelogue.”

Lane tells the Globe his travels “just kind of opened me up, just being Jewish in Israel . . . and also traveling across the Green Line and seeing a lot of similarities between Tel Aviv and Ramallah. … The night life and the jazz cafes and places where people can smoke water pipes and hang out, listening to the sounds of music, from sped-up Bedouin music to hip-hop. I really just tried to be a sponge.” More from the Globe.

By the way, you can hear Yuri’s harmonica beatboxing on YouTube. (Had to look up beatboxing: “a form of vocal percussion primarily involving the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one’s mouth, lips, tongue, and voice.”)

Photograph: The Boston Globe


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