A Call for Questions: Stories from the Mideast

by andrewcagle

The Middle East is a ballroom. Its nations and societies are dancers. Each moves to its own unique tune. This past year, the tune and the dance that accompany it began to change for many countries. Each song was united by a common rhythm, the rhythm of change. The dancers have taken steps forwards and backwards as the notes and arrangements transform. The dance has slowed to the interlude of uncertainty and a hesitant future. It has quickened with the crescendo and chorus of hope and progress. Still, these societies are at the beginning of a struggle to create an external reality of what has always constituted their internal nature and spirit.

On Friday night I will board a place that begins a one week journey taking me to the cities of Cairo, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Amman. While this trip is a break from work in South Sudan and a time to relax, I can’t fully put to rest the urge to learn, ask questions, and report what I have seen and heard to others. The Middle East is a place I love, and for me, enjoyment is to hear its stories. On my last trip, the story was the exploration of identity and the meaning of home among Palestinian refugees and IDPs in the West Bank and Jordan.

It is an exciting time to visit. My stop in Cairo will be brief, only a fraction of a day. I will have the chance to talk to Israeli and Palestinian activists in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In Jordan, I will be able to revisit one of the camps where I spent a good amount of time filming. My old neighborhood in Amman is home to a community of Jordan’s growing number of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Jerusalem and Amman sit in the heart of the ballroom. Struggles for a better future not only beset the Hashemite Kingdom on all sides, but reside within it as well.

This week before I go, I want to ask for your questions. What are the stories you are most interested in? Who would you talk to? What would you ask?