Saturday, July 02, 2005

Jerusalem Pride

This past Thursday was Jerusalem Pride 2005. I am still trying to wrap my head around all of it, but maybe I'll get more perspective by sharing some details with you kind folks.

The parade was an early evening event (the Sun is HOT in Israel). Everyone was to meet up in the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall in downtown Jerusalem. The police were expecting about 1,000-2,000 people. Conservative estimates put the turnout at 5,000 and the most I've read is 10,000. There were a lot of folks packed together. I hated it. I don't like crowds to begin with and this was just not fun.

Here's a picture of Yaacov's back and the crowd before the start of the parade. You can see that lots of folks from "the media" turned out too. So many cameras!

I thought that this was an interesting picture. Here we have Burger King, beside a shoe store selling Clarks, and on the far right is a pride poster/sign in Arabic. In the foreground (I am such a great photographer!) are the tops of two heads. One is bleach-blonde and the other brownish. Not long after I took this picture these two women started kissing and I felt like I was standing next to Tom Cruise for a minute because of all of the camera flashes and clicks. There was a mean lady standing nearby and she started spitting near/at these women. It was HORRIBLE! I didn't know what to do. I don't even know the word for spit in Hebrew! At this point I just wanted to go home.

Eventually the parade started and things got moving. People were able to spread out and breathe a little bit. However there were some stink bombs and apparently other things tossed into the crowd. The smell was really unpleasant.

So people along the route were supportive and others were in opposition. This has to be the most controversial things I have ever done. I have a tiny idea of what the civil rights marchers in the South must have felt like not so many years ago.

Here's a fuzzy shot of a group of folks marching form the youth organization. I wish I had gotten a better perspective shot. It was so inspirational to see King George Street FULL of marchers!

Here's Yaacov carrying the sign I made. Our friend Isaac is on the left in plaid and our friend Sharon is on the right with the pink ribbon.

Shortly after this picture was taken we got word that three marchers had been stabbed. Yes, an ultra-orthodox man stabbed three marchers! I can't tell you how upset, frustrated, and confused I am. There was a good deal of police presence along the whole parade route and they caught the man. However, it is just CRAZY to me that someone could be so UGLY and TWISTED to do something like that! I just don't know what to say.

The parade continued and the festival planned for the Liberty Bell Park took place after the march. I was able to meet up with darling Savtadotty and her cute friend Danny. But I was so exhausted from the week that I was in no mood to stay and party for long. Plus the news of the stabbing and all of the stress of the week was weighing down on us. Yaacov and I left early.

The next day Yaacov went to visit the victims in the hospital. One woman had surgery to reconnect muscles and such in her arm after the stabbing. Another victim had deeper stab wounds and will be in the hospital a few more days. I think that the third victim only received stiches. The whole community has been shocked and stunned.

There will be a vigil later this week and I will let everyone know what the plans are for that. I know that just one crazy person on a stabbing rampage is a fluke and random. However, the persistent hatred and animosity by large groups of the population in Jerusalem just cements my resolve to continue to work hard for this cause.


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