Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Sunset over Occupied Territory

The Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee, and Palestine viewed from Umm Qais, Jordan 05/05/2015.  All afternoon we walked through the ruins of Gadara, considering the silence, the ancient architecture and the follies of men. For centuries Gadara was contested. Men, women, and children died in various wars dating to the centuries before Christ. Today, the Greek-Roman columns crumble, weeds fill the Ottoman homes that came much later. Cows move slowly among the ruins, feeding on the grass and wildflowers that push up through the stone. The ancient city of Gadara, now called Umm Qais is quiet now. But nearby, men still kill each other over cities, towns, waterways and desert. They occupy and oppress, and they kill for beliefs, ideologies, and greed. The horror taking place in Syria is just a few kilometers to the east. The occupied territories of Palestine just to the west, over the next hillside.

In the silence of Umm Qais, the wind stirs the branches of the olive trees. Flowers bloom on the pomegranate trees. Children laugh. I stand with three Palestinian women, looking for their homeland. And the ghosts of all the men who fought and died on this land watch silently as the sun slowly sinks in the west.