Friday, March 02, 2007

Sleeping with the Enemy

Here’s a dismaying tale about Jerusalem newlyweds who get wrenched apart by social separation barriers just as daunting as the Israeli security fence. Love cannot always find a way around conflict when hatred festers on home ground. BBC news ran a poignant feature clip this week about the challenges when a Jew marries a Muslim in Israel today.

Osama --not a hassle-free name for any Muslim Romeo who must regularly cross a West Bank checkpoint-- discovers that love is not enough to smoothe the way for a secure future with his Jewish bride, Jasmine. Three years into their convention-defying marriage, this besotted couple in their mid-20s cannot find any way to live together without menace. So ultimately Jasmine packs up for exile in Europe, where she hopes her man can join her once he gets permission to travel. Her permit to reside in the West Bank can't be renewed and on Jasmine's Israeli passport, an official stamp says her marital status is "under investigation". So Osama cannot even see his wife off at the airport: the authorities won't recognizes their inter-faith union. The dejected husband is held back by armed guards at the security barrier.

Let's hope the British artist Banksy's vision of breaking through such walls can somehow, someday be made reality. See one of his poignant murals below.

(photo of a bridal couple courtesy of

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