We went to the Holy Land with Dr. Clay Carson, who runs the Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute, to film his play about King performed by the Palestinian National Theatre and an African-American gospel choir which was presented to audiences all over the West Bank. It was an intense cultural exchange between two peoples encompassing the joy of new friendships, creative collaborations and eye opening experiences. No one who participated remained unchanged.
We traveled through the Holy Land that the Christian choir were so passionately excited to see, as they were introduced to the other side of the land where Jesus once walked: a man whose front yard has been bisected by the Security Wall and whose children have to play in the dust of its continued construction; the ease with which they as foreigners were able to pass through checkpoints while their Palestinian counterparts took hours to navigate the same distance; a home which had no water because a settlement had taken over their well, where Palestinian women teach them songs in Arabic and join them in singing American gospel songs. And yet, amidst the hardships of occupied life, the choir is greeted with food, humor, and generosity, a mixture that brought some of them to tears.