More than a Wall

It's armistice day when we remember the end of conflict. But we're on a journey into 'occupied Jerusalem' where peace with justice seems a faraway dream for many. Fayrus is a passionate guide from the organisation: Grass Roots Jerusalem, and she takes us to viewing points south, then east and north of the city to tell the story. 
It reinforces what we've been learning of the deep sense of injustice experienced by the Palestinian people, how they try to find ways to survive or eventually give in to the pressure and leave. Poor infrastructure of their part of the city by comparison with the (Israeli) western sector; water gets cut off so they buy it and store it in black overhead tanks; the difficulty of securing permission to build, then the threat of demolition if they do; confiscation of land, or cut off from their land making it almost impossible to cultivate; the harassment by communities of Jewish settlers; the pervasive presence of the police - we even get stopped and questioned. They say they've had intelligence and are expecting trouble.  We are told to move on. We do. But they were a few nervous moments as they stood there with their guns at the ready.
And then the wall! All nine meters of it high. We stop on the Jericho Road and see some of the graffiti, even one which says: The same hands which built, can break down! But this is no Berlin Wall which, by comparison, looks like child's play. But I think of other attempts to separate and isolate: South Africa's bantustans, Rhodesia's protected villages; and other volatile borders - India-Pakistan, North and South Korea. And how the people of the Zambezi Valley and those of Cape Town's District Six were moved forcibly. They are painful memories, but here we are in real life today. 
She picks up the remnants of 'crowd dispersal weapons' - effectively mini hand grenades, and I have flashbacks to our own land mine disaster in 1979.
I can understand how the anger within a person like Fayrus could reach boiling point and lead to protest and even radicalisation, but the morning ends with beautiful stories of creative projects that Grass Roots Jerusalem have fostered, with communities organising themselves in a way that would have made Margaret rejoice. They try to find a way round! They deserve support, but they're doing it themselves.
The morning moves into an early afternoon walking the Via Dolorosa, The Way of Sorrows. There are fourteen stations of the cross. Misunderstanding, fear, anger undergird the violence unleashed against an innocent man. He is condemned to death, flogged, spat upon, thorns are placed on his head, he's made to carry the means of his own execution. His male followers seem to have fled; the women of his day are there - they weep. He says: 'Don't weep for me - weep rather for your own children.' 
Perhaps that's why I feel this deep sadness as I think of the people of Jerusalem today. 
I might say that in the morning we visited the fourteen stations of the wall, this afternoon, the fourteen stations of the cross.