Two questions I got a lot over the past couple of weeks: “Why do you have a painted toe nail?” and “Why do you want to go to Palestine and teach English?”.
While the former could only be replied to in a rather vague and obscure way, the latter has a much more straight forward answer (albeit a long one).
1. I had a really good experience the last time I was there. The country is easy to get around in and the people were incredibly friendly and hospitable. That alone would make it a destination to return to, just as for example Thailand.
2. I’m intrigued to learn more about the culture. In Germany, Middle Eastern and Arab culture are usually reduced to a rather anti-islamic back-and-forth about head scarves and suicide bombers. Which obviously doesn’t quite cover the full spectrum.
3. I was shocked by the discrepancy between what I saw and heard in Palestine and what is portrayed by media in Germany. There Israel is seen as some noble save haven for the Jews of the world, whereas in reality it seems to be much more of a ruthless colonizing force that is working on ethnically cleansing the territory it claims.
About that I want to learn more as well. Part of me refuses to believe that Germany is supporting a country that wants to be pure-race and that considers some lives more worth living than others. It can’t be.
4. I was shocked by the human rights violations Israel commits on a daily base. Hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes, millions are living in ghettos and camps and the whole world doesn’t seem to give a shit.
Long before visiting the region, I had the wish to do something more with my skills than just earn a living. When I saw what is happening in Palestine, it seemed that I could help people tell their story by teaching them English and how to develop websites. I won’t make a difference, but it’s a start. And I don’t want to be like the millions of Third-Reich-Germans who looked the other way while grave injustice was happening in front of their eyes. The least I can do is to have a closer look.
So to sum it up: I’m curious to learn more about the culture and the situation and I would also like to do something about the injustice I’ve witnessed.
For those (Germans) interested in alternative sources of information, Al Jazeera is easily accessible: English Al Jazeera Website. Israeli NGO B’Tselem has a different view on things, as well: B’Tselem.