Life as normal in the West Bank
Humans the world over are just the same. We all have a desire to live and make a life no matter our situation.
Looking from the outside through the lens of the media, it can be easy to forget that life carries on regardless of the external circumstances. Babies are born, children go to school, couples get married, people go to work and there is usually music all around.
Humans are all the same, we all want to feel connected to something and to others. We want to feel love and security, and hope at the end of the day we can go to bed with a smile on our face.
The media for all it’s value is often good at telling only the violent stories. We’re often accused of sensationalising a situation, of beating a story up and taking things out of context. To an extent, I agree we do all of the above.
When the everyday detail is left out, the detail that two streets away from the protest, children are walking to school as though nothing is happening, is often left out and it’s easy then to forget that life carries on regardless.
I’m sitting in a kitchen in Bethlehem in the home of a welcoming, kind, friendly, happy and hard working Palestinian family. There’s a light breeze that is bringing some of the normal traffic sounds in from the main street and in front of me is a box of a Corn Flakes, a jar of Nutella, cheese, milk, bread and the remnants of my coffee.
Around me is a microwave, a dishwasher, fridge and freezer full of food, an oven, sink, cupboards of crockery, drawers of cutlery and all the other normal things you find in a kitchen. It’s no different to a kitchen in Australia, England, America, Germany, South Africa etcetera.
Of course this isn’t the case for all Palestinians, or even all Austalians, but life for this family is the same as life for my family. The teenage girls go to school, they are addicted to Facebook, they love looking at clothes and shoes, doing hair and makeup, watching CSI and NCIS, they go shopping in the mall and they argue with their parents just like I did.
Looming somewhere in the background is the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, looming not too far away from the house is the 8m
high concrete separation wall dotted with IDF soldiers to control their travel. But these girls go to school, they’re mum teaches high school English and their dad makes beautiful olive tree wood carvings.
We all got dressed up to go to a beautifully elaborate wedding of a cousin last week; music and dancing, a bride in a big white gown, a groom in a suit, too much food and one very large wedding cake. People were happy, they were celebrating, just as they had earlier in the day when senior high school students got their final exam marks. I didn’t hear anyone discussing politics, other than the family kind.
When a situation is seen from the inside, the view is vastly different to the one seen from the outside. It is easy to think that lives stop and become solely about the conflict, or the economic situation, or the whatever else. But carrying on despite all of that is life in a way that most people around the world can relate to on one level or another.
We are all people, we all have the same needs and desires no matter where we live, which language we speak, or which religion we follow.