Unusual deserted street. Old Jerusalem.

by Andrea Brandt



For NPJ:

Jerusalem. The assignment was freelance. Money. I flew to Tel Aviv, rented a car and drove to Jerusalem. I came to meet a scholar, grab an interview and do some research. I became a habitué of a particular café in short order. I knew the  proprietor.

One of the people I met was a sociologist and friend of mine from Munich. He is older than me and wore a t-shirt under his wool sport coat that read in Yiddish, familyerati bridz familyerati  (familiarity breeds familiarity). It was a very old saying even when I was in my mid-twenties during the time Helmut Kohl was Chancellor. My friend was a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1967 through 1969 and  experienced the side effects…incredible tension of the Six Day War in 1967 (Israel, Egypt, Syria and Jordan). His observation: Middle East diplomatic relations are like riding a roller coaster. Brace yourself for the ride.

The café we met was familiar.  I enjoyed speaking with a business man – philosopher as well as a few students from the Hebrew University and a professor/scholar. The conversations were cordial, at times disturbing and always enlightening.

One dangerous reappearing issue is that any conflict may reach a point where one or both sides figure they will fight with a nothing to lose attitude. Negotiated peace are two words covering different visions with many interpretations. Who died a few hours ago or yesterday or last week or month? Memories need reminders. On which side and under what circumstances?  The mangled bodies of a child, father, brother, sister, or mother, affect actions concerning peace. “Let the other…experience the last person to die.”  Killing begets killing. I’m not into begetting anything except positive ideas. Land and territory become sacred to the human and cultural gut. And sharing space? Perilous enough. The strain of existence shows up in the face. But, people live their lives. They create occasions to celebrate.

So, a paúse in a familiar place with familiar faces putting together my thoughts Freelance doesn’t pay a lot but there are perks as hinted at in my last column. When an opportunity presents itself, try it on, get a feel for it and then…make a choice…be lucky.

There’s other sides to this assignment. That’s where I will be in the next twelve hours. We all deserve good luck and inner peace, regardless of the season.