" /> Jerusalem Archives - Naomi Foyle

  September sings, but the chords of summer echo on, not least of my visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories in late July for readings from A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry, the bilingual anthology I edited last year for Smokestack Books. Travelling with Rachel Searle, the Director of BlakeFest (Bognor Regis) – for whom I am consulting on the Building Jerusalem event in this year’s festival – Palestinian-American poet Farid S. Bitar, and performance artist/historian Catherine Charrett, I chaired two poetry events in East Jerusalem and Ramallah; visited with Jewish peace activists in Haifa; and, in the Occupied Galilee, met with poet and political prisoner Dareen Tatour on the eve of her sentencing. Rachel and I returned home sobered by the manifold injustices we had witnessed, but also inspired to ‘see the world in a blade of grass’, and motivated to continue creating poetic bridges between Palestine and…

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Jerusalem.  The Holy City.  Centre of three major world religions,  and surely a place that should transcend political differences, remind us of our shared humanity, and humble all who enter its ancient walls? For while I am not a member of any of the patriarchal Abrahamic faiths, it seems to me that Christianity, Judaism and Islam share a reverence for knowledge, love, and justice and their houses of worship can be experienced as imperfect shrines to these ideals.  Despite the promise of interfaith harmony still faintly echoing through the lanes of the Old City, however, modern West Jerusalem is not built on any spiritual values I can recognise.  The contemporary city is closer to ancient Rome – a gloating festival of Zionist triumphalism, a swaggering celebration of military might, intent on the ruthless dispossession of the indigenous population.  As such, it cannot last. But more of prophecies in a moment. …

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