If you don't believe me that Åland exists, I've got proof.
and If you don't believe that it's one hell of a beautiful place, I've got proof.
These pictures were taken over a year ago, while I researched for an article about islands in the Baltic. Then last night I got the loveliest reminder of their existance and of the existance of the island's themselves, for that matter.
It was an email from Lotta, an Ålander I met very briefly on the street in Hebron about as long ago. Lotta left all the calm of the islands to come protect Palestinian schoolgirls who are being beat up regularly by the settlers on their way to school, under the soldiers' indifferent (or at least uninterfering) eyes. She was also involved in other humanitarian and educational work in that cursed city. She could hardly believe I've just come back from her tiny cluster of islands and raved about its smoked salmon. Our unlikely conversation was made difficult by settlers who were using a megaphone to intimidate her, calling her and her friends Nazis and antisemites.
Antisemite? Don't get me started. Over a year following our meeting, Lotta ran into my email address and sent me a warm word from the chilly baltic, signing it with a wish for peace "be'esrat hashem". It's not so difficult to simply exchange kindness, care and goodness across continents and lives. It's just a matter of choice, or of course we may choose otherwise.