all-day simulation: Palestine!
Published: August 2, 2018
Marhaban, everyone! Today was Palestine simulation day. Early in the morning, each villager received an ‘X’ on their bitaqa (nametag). A blue ‘X’ meant that you were a first-class Israeli citizen. A black ‘X’ meant that you were an Arab-Israeli citizen. A green ‘X’ meant that you were a Palestinian living in Israel. Depending on what color you received, you were treated differently. For example, before breakfast, those with a blue ‘X’ were allowed to enter right away, those with a black ‘X’ were questioned about their movements and potentially scanned, and those with a green ‘X’ were detained for a while, potentially got their bags checked, and were scanned and questioned. In the arts and sports period, one group baked mana’eesh, or bread with za’tar. Once it was time to eat the bread, those with a blue ‘X’ received a full piece of bread, those with a black ‘X’ received half a piece, and those with a green ‘X’ received a third of a piece.
However, aside from the checkpoints before the start of or at the end of activities, the day’s program proceeded as usual. In the mughamarat, one group constructed family trees out of colored paper.
Another group discussed different weather vocabulary, and drew their favorite type of weather.
A third group learned about the countries of the Arab world, including how people greet each other in Iraq versus the Levantine versus Egypt versus the gulf. They also competed to see who can finish writing all of the Arab countries down first.
At one of the istikshaf (exploration) periods, one group baked bread on a stick over a fire.
When we headed to lunch, as I mentioned earlier, the simulation continued.
By the way, lunch was great, once we all made it inside!
While the older villagers were taking a nap, our day-campers were reading, drawing, and writing.
As soon as the villagers woke up from their naps, once again, they found themselves facing another checkpoint.
Eventually, everyone made it to the free time activities, including the day-campers!
Next, villagers headed to their second mughamara.
In the arts and sports period, villagers went to their cooking, music, basketball, and drama activities.
Instead of the usual musalsal, the drama activity group gave its final “Cinderella” performance.
After dinner, we moved onto the evening program, where we explored some of Palestinian culture.
At one station, we learned how to dance the dabke.
At another station, we played a Pictionary relay race, where villagers tried to remember which Palestinian foods were drawn on a poster and run back to their teammates to illustrate those foods.
At a third station, we drew on a wall that was symbolic of the West Bank or apartheid wall.
Lastly, we held a debriefing session where villagers could reflect on what they learned that day and ask questions. We also had a few of our Palestinian counselors talk about their experience in the U.S. and in Palestine, and specifically about how their rights as Palestinians living in Israel differed from those who are Arab-Israeli or Israeli citizens.
And that was it for the day! Thank you, once again, for tuning in!