I have grown up in this area of Gush Etzion, loving to my core this piece of land, connected to it with my soul. With all that love, I have also grown up with fear - and hate. Slowly, just a little bit at a time, I became aware of the tragedy of my reality. I could open my eyes and see that there are other people living here, loving this land as I do, who are humiliated, estranged and hurting. I can understand their connection to this land.
I was in 12th grade during the Second Intifada, and that was just a more concentrated time of fear and pain than what had been going on for years in my life.
As I was growing up, into my 20s, very slowly I came to the realization that when I see Arabs, I do not see them as people, as individuals, but rather as the enemy, whom I was to be cautious of, maintain a distance, and eye nervously to be aware of any sudden movement from their side.
But after your workshop, I realized that I cannot keep on living in this torn world, in this broken reality without doing my small little part to fix it.
To take a portrait of a Palestinian woman was truly special to me. Not noticing it at the time as I was busy with the mission by focusing on her face, noticing her beauty and trying to maximize the light and natural elements around us to capture that beauty. And in the conversation we had afterward, to realize that she too, like me didn’t like to see herself in a photo, and had issues with her image as well. It was such a powerful experience.
Thank you so much for all you do. You can never know what the seeds you plant will grow up like, but be assured that you have planted many seeds - of trust, of belief, of love. - Nechama