On Monday, Dec 4th I received a notification on my phone that y’all President was set to make an announcement the following Wednesday that would shake relations in Israel, namely Jerusalem and the neighboring Palestine. Under any other circumstances, his interference with the world would garner frustration & anger from me, but this time, staring at my phone, I worried. Wednesday evening, my father and I, were set to travel to Israel, specifically Jerusalem & Palestine.
To the dismay of many people, I didn’t cancel the trip. It was my father’s birthday, and the trip was a chance for him to pray at Al-Aqsa, one of the three most sacred mosques of the Muslim faith, and the opportunity for him to pray there on Friday. I wanted that to happen for him.
Often when I travel, I wonder how I’ll be received as a black man, but on this trip, it was how I would be received as an American. This trip started on uncertainty, but ended as one of my more unforgettable trips. In retrospect, being able to visit in the midst of such a moment made the trip that more unique. From spending the day walking through the quarters of Old Jerusalem, to walking through Ramallah (the very place the State Dept. advised against visiting) and speaking with Palestinians to discover that it wasn’t Americans they hated, just one in particular (wild guess?) and seeing that the city and surrounding West Bank were more than meets the TV.
More importantly, I got a chance to hang with my Dad and give him an unforgettable experience.Brothers, if you can, take a trip somewhere with your father. This was the first trip I’ve taken with my Dad as an adult, and I really got a chance to learn a lot about the man he’s become, and share with him a big part of my life. Definitely a different person because of it. Thank you Norwegian Air (@flynorwegian) for getting us there and thank you Israel for making that happen.