The first thing that I noticed was the wind. We walked out of the airport and the wind hit straight into my face, but it didn’t feel like hitting at all. It felt more like a caress. As I was scanning my surroundings I also noticed that nothing felt new. As we were walking towards the rental car, I began to feel even more at home.
I had a couple of reasons to go on this trip. First of all, I was beginning to feel tired of the continuous work I had in Amsterdam. I love my town, but sometimes you have to leave something you love to appreciate it more. I also never performed outside of the Netherlands and Israel seemed like a fun and exciting first country to go international. I also have history with this country. I can still remember the first demonstration I went to concerning Israel. It was right after the attack of the Turkish flotilla. I was walking on Museum square with thousands of Turks. Most of them were screaming for revenge. I wasn’t sure in what position I was walking there. In the following years I protested for the lives of the Palestinians I had barely met. I had raised 50.000 euro’s with people like Fouad to restore a school I have not seen yet.
I was expecting everything to be so different, but on the contrary. The little town called Shfamer looks exactly like the town my parents grew up in. A little town called Yozgat in the centre of Turkey. The streets, the shops, the food and even the people are all the same. Identity is also a reason why I wanted to participate. “Who am I?”, has been a returning question in my life. Sitting in Bayt al Musica with like minded people, asking the same questions, made me feel more at ease with my worries for the future. The stories we shared also felt like home. Stories about dreams, belonging and love. When we stood there, together, I felt like we were all reaching for the same thing. Understanding each other.
The media always portrays the extremes of every situation. While I walking in the streets during protests, with my fist in the air, I only thought of the Palestinian children in the West Bank and the Israelis in the settlements. I never thought of the thousands and thousands of people that are stuck in between. Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze that live together. With this project I have seen a glimpse of their lives.
While I am writing this, I feel the cold hard wind of The Netherlands hitting my cheeks and I feel homesick. Now that I left yet another new family, I can’t wait for the soft caressing winds to take me back to them.
Esra Dede – Dec 2016