Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Little Dabke in Palestine! See Video :)

I love watching any type of dance. And I ESPECIALLY love watching children dance. Which is why coming across a kids’ Dabke rehearsal was such a pleasant surprise.

Let me explain where this happened. You know Bethlehem? As in the Bible? Just a few miles from the spot where Jesus (supposedly) was born, lies the Dheisheh refugee camp. Housing some ten thousand Palestinian refugees, it’s also home to a children’s folk dance troupe.

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Graffiti art on the streets of Dheisheh

It is not a new camp. The original residents of Dheisheh fled the fighting, or were expelled from their villages, in the wake of the founding of Israel in 1948. Like all refugee camps, this too started out as a tent city, a temporary dwelling place for those with nowhere to go. Six decades later, these kids were born here. Their kids will probably be born here. There are lots of camps like this all around the West Bank.

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Back in the 50’s it still looked like a temporary camp

Want to see for yourself? You can. From Bethlehem, take a taxi to the Ibdaa Cultural Center at the entrance of the Dheisheh camp. There is a nice, cheap guesthouse too, so you can stay the night. I warmly recommend it.

Here’s a clip from the rehearsal:

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Becoming a Gray Alien

I’m tired of being white. I’m tired of being human, too. I’d rather be a shiny, gray-faced sea monster.

The journey to the Dead Sea is mindblowing. Jordan is a sight for sore eyes. Mountains and valleys, desert, towns, castles – the Kings Highway is magical. And then the sea emerges. The horizon is dreamy. The dead calm water blends into the sky.

The sun is setting, and I rush to the beach. I dip my body in the water and return to the shore. I stick my hand inside a big pot and grab a handful of mud. I begin to spread the dark, thick substance on my body, like jelly on a piece of toast. Little by little I disappear.

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I return to the water as a gray alien. I touch my tongue with a finger tip, and it burns a hole inside my mouth. The hot, mad salt doesn’t let me go far. A few steps from the shore, and I’m on the surface belly up. I float like a piece of cardboard. My gray skin has melted into the Dead Sea. My body is gone. Only a face remains.

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A man in a turquoise T-shirt appears and tells me to return to the shore. But…I want to stay…but…but…The turquoise man doesn’t understand that monsters belong in the sea. The sun is down and the fun is over – for now. Come morning, I’ll return.

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