David Schmidt walked the rain soaked
streets of Amsterdam all alone. He was in a bad mood because he
felt he stood out in his old worn-out coat with the big yellow
star of David(which the Germans made Jews in The Netherlands wear from 1942
on during the war). He made himself as small as possible to make
sure nobody saw him. Suddenly a dog started barking fiercely at
him. It scared him to death, because David wás fear. Five
years ago, in 1938, he and his parents and sister had fled Schwabach
near Neurenberg to the then still hospitable Netherlands. Life for
Jews had been almost unbearable in the little town in Bavaria, Germany.
Yet in The Netherlands they had found shelter with their Dutch branch
of the family.
Though he was afraid nearly all the time, he also felt compassion
and wasn’t hateful toward all who had harmed him and his family
during his eighteen years of life. That was exceptional, because
there was always a friend trying to convince him and his companions,
whom he walked with after visiting the synagogue on Sabbath, that
they should take revenge.
At this moment he was on the way to his small house in the 1e Goudsbloemdwarsstraat
in the “Jordaan” neighbourhood of Amsterdam. His attention was drawn
by loud yelling and to his horror he could just see his parents
and sister being loaded into a big German truck, heading for where?
Screaming he ran toward them. “Don’t! Help, father, mother…” Immediately
a grinning German SS officer grabbed him and threw him into the
back of the truck without hardly seeming distracted.
Isma’il Al-Qa’im walked the sunny streets of Jerusalem. It was Jom
Kippur and so it was quiet in the streets. He and his friends were
loudly over the Zionist pigs, the Christian dogs and the fat bubble
gum-chewing American tourists in their shorts and multi coloured
shirts who pretended the city was theirs.
Five years ago, in 1968, he had fled a village near Arikâ
(Jericho the Westerns said) with his parents, brothers and sisters
to live with their family in an already crowded house in the east.
Because of all the misery he had experienced in his life, Ismaël
had becóme hate. Yet although his hatred was always present,
Ismaël also had an eye for the beauty of nature. When he was
still living close to the Jordan river, he used to sit by himself
next to a tiny waterfall, thinking on and watching the beautiful
things nature offered. When he was living in Jerusalem his cousins
and uncles had taken him to Mount Moriah. He had loved the view,
and so returned there again. Now musing from his high position he
saw a golden city lying at his feet. A land of milk and honey, like
the Jews called it. A land of peace, where people of all religions
could live peacefully together.
He had been startled by his own thoughts of a golden city, and suddenly
he remembered the humiliations he and his family and friends had
gone through, and all the feelings he had grown up with. Kill them,
thát was the message! He hurried home filled with this feeling.
David and his family were taken to Westerbork, along with a great
number of other people. They stayed there in pitiful circumstances
for some months. He rarely saw his mother and sister because they
were in another part of the camp. A few months later he and his
father and many others were stuffed into a freight car. After numerous
days without food or sanitation, they arrived in a big Lager and
were quartered in a barrack with plank beds that were built stacked
over each other.
Life was even worse here. The Germans were cruel and the food was
skimpy and disgusting. On top of that it was putrefied from the
many rats and cockroaches that also lived here. As with everything,
all this ended one day. On October 28, 1944 he and a great number
of other men were forced into a big room. To ‘disinfect,’ as was
said. David said goodbye to life on that day. He was 29 years old.
In many ways that was a liberation.
Isma’il was nearly home from his journey
on the mountain when he heard a loud hubbub. He ran onto his street
and bumped right into an Israelian soldier with an automatic gun.
He quickly viewed the situation and realised a number of his Palestinian
countrymen were being led into a big army truck by the Israeli with
their hands behind their neck. The soldier said something to him,
but Isma’il did not understand his language. Anyway, he did not
intend to take whatever the odious Zionist had to say to heart.
Quick as a rabbit he turned around and took to his heels. He did
not get far. With one well-aimed shot Isma’il, 19 years old, was
given death on the run on the 27th of October, 1973.
Because time has no meaning in the after life, Isma’il and David
arrive in the shadow land – at least they will think about it that
way – at the same time. Neither of them really knows where he is.
It is not unpleasant there. They don’t know hunger or bodily inconveniences,
the weather is always the same with a nice breeze, but it is odd
neither of them ever sees anyone else besides each other. When they
met for the first time, they recognized one another for their opposite
angles of incidence. Jew with regard to Palestinian, and in the
beginning that was hard to accept for both of them. Bit by bit they
learn to get to know each other better, and then they start talking
about war and peace. It turns out there aren’t that many differences
between them, and that is a surprising thought to each one.
At that moment a tall figure comes walking around the corner of
the thicket in which shadow they sit. For both men this is a familiar
person. David immediately recognizes the man as patriarch Avraham.
Isma’il knows for sure it has to be Ibrahim, a great prophet, (as
he has learned in the mosque), who was the bearer of the pre-Islamic
revelation, together with Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jeshua).
With a smile Avraham/Ibrahim says: “It is good that you spoke about
things that made you each others’ opposite poles for such a long
time. That initiates an understanding and makes it possible to have
peace in the countries both your people share, in which there has
been so much trouble getting along with each other. You spoke about
milk and honey. The land that was promised to the Israelites by
God, or by Allah as you want. That doesn’t mean that they who already
lived there should be exterminated with root and branch.
“Come with me; I want to show you something. It takes place in Westerbork,
where you, David, spent a long time in very poor circumstances.
And I tell you Isma’il, that those circumstances did not differ
much from those you experienced in Jerusalem. I take you with me
to have a short look over there.”
When they arrive they see about fifty people, men and women, standing
hand in hand under a circle of trees. It is Sunday the 28th of October,
2001, and these people stand in a big circle on the premises of
the former internment camp.
In the middle of the circle a few big feathers are placed on the
ground to symbolize the presence of the people that were the original
Americans, the Native American Indians. Isma’il and David barely
are aware of the extermination of the Native Americans, but they
feel that these people holding the ceremony can be a catalyst for
the melting together of their people in particular, and all people
Together with Avraham/Ibrahim they see an enormous golden globe
of Forgiveness take form, which revolves and expands over the entire
premises in such a way that the sadness, pain and heaviness that
are so predominant, are being enlightened, healed and transformed.
The sharing of the land of milk and honey will flow naturally from
this event. They both feel that there will be a moment in the future
that Palestinians ánd Israelites really will share the land
of milk and honey. Together with them and Avraham/Ibrahim a big
crowd of BE-ings from the other world is present. They are there
to help with the ceremony, and it’s CRYSTAL-clear that the atmosphere
at those premises is much lighter after this wonder-filled gathering.
Gradually the circle fades from view and the boys discover that
the shadow land of which they had been a part of for such a long
time, has been replaced by a land of light. A large number of family
members, friends and acquaintances who have long since died approaches
them, waving many coloured cloths. They know when they fall into
the arms of their parents that all will be well, and that there
will be peace not only in their heart, but also in the hearts of
all who seek to kill each other now.