Update + project ‘Christianity and Islam’

Dear friends. In stead of writing to you in Dutch I update my blog in English for a couple of good reasons. One important reason is that I just want to update all you lovely English speakers on what’s happening in my life (and I just assume our Dutch speakers can read English as well). The other important reason is that I’m trying to set up a project in Holland and that I will need everyone’s help. With a broader reader audience I figured you guys can be helpful in that respect. More about the project when you continue reading.

So where to start…I already left Palestine more than 7 weeks ago. And to be honest, it sometimes just seems like a beautiful memory, a beautiful dream that never happened. I really want to thank all the lovely people I met in Nablus for their updates on their lives and the questions about mine. It feels great to know and feel I’m still welcome in Nablus and it really makes that I’m still thinking about Palestine a lot. So please…stay in touch!

My life at the moment is structured but very nice. It was difficult setting foot in Holland again. I experienced a big reversed culture shock and over the past weeks I managed to give all the Middle-East-experiences a place. The physical work I’m doing at the moment (which is building tents at festivals in Holland, see picture below) helps a lot in doing that. Beside my work I’m planning some things for my studies in Antwerp where I’m starting in September (International Relations and Diplomacy). Accomodation, books, stuff like that. Thereby will I be going to Bucharest (Romania) from the 11th until the 18th of July. That’s some kind of EU-organised-study-trip regarding international youth entrepreneurship…more on that later.

All together…things are going well, things are structured and life is good :) …

But…sometimes I feel Palestine is becoming a distant memory. I guess that’s the way it goes but it’s something that doesn’t feel good. The past weeks I have been thinking about how to organise a project in which Dutch and Palestinian efforts can be combined and in which I combine Dutch and Palestinian issues.

Although at the moment nothing is concrete and I have to still figure out how to set things up, who to contact, etc. I got inspired by two persons. Asmaa’ is one of the beautiful people I met in Palestine. When I left Nablus she gave me one of the most beautiful presents I ever got. An artwork (handcraft) in which a traditional Christian and a traditional Muslim are pictured together in the holy city of Jerusalem (it’s an embroidery piece). She told me that it was her dream to see Christians and Muslims live together, in peace, in Jerusalem one day. With that present and that beautiful story I returned home where my mum, yerh…she’s pretty artistic, was -just like I was- moved by her creation. Coincidentally my mum just bought christian praying chairs at a second hand shop. My mother had a great idea: cover the seats of the praying chairs with religious embroidery pieces from the middle east. In that way two religions can be combined and Dutch and Palestinian efforts can be combined. It provides a way of interreligious and intercultural dialogue in which the main thing is: Christianity and Islam can go together and live together peacefully (a big issue in Holland). The beautiful piece of art Asmaa’ gave me is a symbolic way of telling that story.

My plan is to set up some kind of an exhibition in which artists who are inspired by Christianity and Islam, expose their artworks. Artists who find a way of combining those religions in one artwork or whose ambition it is to create more understanding on what co-existence and interreligious dialogue between two religions means (or at least a vision on that theme). Because I haven’t figured out (yet) on how exactly to do that and who to contact I encourage everyone who reads this message to think about this (still) vague initiative and come up with ideas. One of the great ideas my mum had was to coat the catholic praying chairs with Palestinian/typical Muslim handcraft. See the picture below. So…if you have any ideas, any contacts or any help to offer. Please, send me an email (pimgerritsen@live.nl) or just react on this blog. Thanks a lot.

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