This is 9th Grade in Palestine

Dear friends,

I'm forwarding to you below a recent brief article written by our friend, Rev. Carrie Smith, Pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City of Jerusalem, just around the corner of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Those of you who have traveled with me know this church very well - it's the one in which we worship on Sunday mornings.  And those of you who traveled with me this past June, 2015, met and worshiped with Carrie, her husband, Rev. Dr. Robert Smith (Program Director at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute), and the congregation there.

The "occupation of the mind."  In some ways, unsurprisingly, tragically "normal."  Poignant!

The Israeli occupation, colonization, and ethnic cleansing continues unabated.

Michael

 

THIS IS NINTH GRADE IN PALESTINE

Today, my prayer is for a new spelling list

Rev. Carrie Smith

Today I was the judge for an English spelling bee in a West Bank school. The 9th grade list started like this:

university

checkpoint

protect

soldier

uniform

unhappy

power

worry

At first, the words were stuck in my throat. How to ask a 13 year old Palestinian boy to spell “checkpoint”?

Loudly.  Clearly.  Slowly.  So I can hear you.

But of course the words which form our vocabulary betray the boundaries of our lives. When I studied in Frankfurt during college, my German vocabulary consisted mostly of words to do with beer: where to find it, how to order it, how to pay for it.

And in my Arabic class here in Jerusalem, we’ve had more than one lesson on “stab”:

To stab.  To be stabbed.  Stabber.  Stabbing victim.

So .... checkpoint.

I didn’t want to ask him to spell this word, or to congratulate him when he did it correctly.

But I did. And it was perfect. He knows this word.

I was grateful we had a winner before reaching the end of the spelling list, where I saw these words lurking:

apartheid

violence

racism

tear gas

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