Monday, November 26, 2007

Mull of Kintyre

Why am I thinking of the Mull of Kintyre, a windswept cliff on the west shore of Scotland, after a day of traveling through the Israeli/Palestinian desert with Alon?

It's just another twist of this peculiar week, I guess.

I've visited the Mull of Kintyre with Maya Honn and Noga Weiss nearly a decade ago. We found a very cheap hotel by a secluded beach on the west coast of the peninsula. I never did sing the famous Paul McCartney song in its cozy bar. It would have been too corny, but watching The video on Youtube I recognise a lot of what made those times special, bonfires on the beach, the grassy knolls and the sense that everything is open.

The desert we traveled through today doesn't give the same feeling. The Dead Sea is dying further due to human activity. It's simply drying out. Concrete walls along segregated West Bank roads are depressing. The roadblocks are disgusting.

But I shouldn't be ridiculous. This goddamned desert is even more arresting than the Argyll. The sulfur baths in Ein Gedi (we got in for free, part of the job) were intoxicating, and getting to stand 400 meters below sea level is a privilage. The Mull of Kintyre is fantasy incarnate. Israel and Palestine are reality. Annapolis (site of the current peace convention) is somewhere in between. We'll yet see where all of this leads.

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