Sunday, November 2, 2008

An olympic sport

While I was photographing The Wall at Qalandia four young children came out of their nearby houses to see what I was doing.   I agreed to take their photos and, despite the lack of a common language, we established a rapport.  When it was time to leave I said my goodbyes and walked off.  I hadn't gone far before a shower of stones came whizzing past.  I thought I was their friend! Later, an acquaintance explained that stone-throwing amongst Palestinian kids is almost the national pastime, and if it is ever made into an olympic sport then Palestinians will be world champions.  *

Which is all very amusing until you reflect that a number of kids have been shot dead while throwing stones at Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers, and that many young stone-throwers rot in Israeli jails at this very moment.

*  I would like to add that, at the time, I thought: "Israeli soldiers and border police have fired rubber-coated steel bullets at me and missed (except once).  So give it your best shot, kids." But no, I didn't.  I was really pissed off.

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