Jan 7, 2013  By Shabhia Akter  Category: Travel,

Caravan for Democracy Mission - A better understanding

January 5, 2013 

Today we had a walking tour of Jerusalem in the rain and it was quite an experience. 

I went into a mosque and was moved by the number of Muslims that congregated to pray together in the heart of Israel. Although there is a lot of tension among the Jews and Arabs in Israel, it was an eye opening experience to see how the two groups are able to coexist. Much of the media permeated in the US makes it seem as through the Jews and Muslims hate each other and are unable to live peacefully together but I was able to see first hand how this is not true. 

I also appreciated going to the film school and watching movies about tangible issues that the people of Israel have to face including homosexuality and the security barrier. Although the security barrier makes life harder for many Palestinians, it was not done to segregate two peoples; it was a measure taken by the government to combat the bombings that were becoming all too common in Israel. Before this journey, I was very critical of the wall and did not agree with its presence but now I understand that it was necessary for security reasons. I also have a better understanding of the geopolitical issues that Israel faces and can speak more intelligently about why certain things are the way they are in Israel. 

This is why I am extremely thankful for this experience and look forward to telling my peers and colleagues about all the new things I have learned during this incredible journey. 

Shabhia Akter