Is Tourism an Answer?

I came across a short video this morning that I thought I would share with readers. Aziz Abu Sarah is a Palestinian whose life did not start out in a way that would make you think he would be able to connect with Israelis; his older brother died in prison after being arrested on charges of throwing stones and being beaten. Later in life, though, Aziz met some Jews who, he realized, were ordinary people.

Sarah had an epiphany: Not only did they share his love of small things, namely country music, but coming face to face with the “enemy” compelled him to find ways to overcome hatred, anger and fear.

Aziz Abu Sarah decided that tourism across borders was a small step in the right direction. He believes that it can help bring down the walls that separate people. Along with Jewish friends, he founded a tourism company to bring people to Jerusalem with two guides, one Jewish and one Palestinian, each offering a different historical perspective.

Listen to his story. It’s a small thing, and tourism won’t solve the world’s problems, cause a huge reduction in the divisiveness we are seeing today, or result in everyone being willing to put aside their differences. But a small thing is a step, and steps are what we need.

2 Replies to “Is Tourism an Answer?”

  1. Very similar to Rick Steves’ book “Travel As A Poltical Act” to bring down walls. I whole heartedly agree!

    1. Exactly! It’s part of the general idea that you have to get to know people on an individual level before you can really understand where people are coming from on the larger scale.

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