Monday, October 20, 2008

The American Colony and the Shepherd's Fields

Back to Jerusalem and a quick drink at the American Colony, before heading through Bethlehem to the Shepherds' Fields. Here can be found the fine spectacle of a water fountain comprised of spitting sheep (admittedly that may not have been the look the artist was intending).

Before heading back to the hotel, we stop off at a children's playground that has been created on the edge of Beit Sahour.

It's small and simple, but it's the only such facility serving the community.

Despite being late, a small group of young kids, watched by their mothers, are playing in the dark and delight at the prospect of mad foreigners willing to spin them on roundabouts, giggle alongside them, pretend to drop dead when shot at with toy pistols and best of all show them the instant results of photograph taking (you've got to love the immediacy of digital).

In the shadows though, a threat lurks. Nearby Israeli settlers are attempting to claim the land and the future of the playground hangs by a thread.

As I wave goodbye, anger wells up inside me.

Maybe it's the fact that the simple layout and the primary colour paint work are so similar to the hard-fought for playground in my local park that is making me identify with the project so clearly. Maybe it's the confirmation that kids (young and old alike) share that universal delight of play that transcends language and background. Maybe it's after a day experiencing such enforced small living. Maybe it's the open, innocent smiles of the little uns. Whatever it is, the anger comes and the thought plays through my head again and again.

"Is it too much to ask to let some kids have a sodding playground".

No comments: