Viktor — Looking back on Jerusalem July 2017
For the second time in 2017 The Caravan’s Journal organised a storytelling trip to an interesting country in transition. This time the destination was Jerusalem, Israël and Palestine, where participants joined masterclasses about storytelling and how local professionals use stories to talk about social and political issues. Participants also worked on their own project about the area and one of them was Viktor, a Danish journalism student at Danish School of Media and Journalism and writer for the magazine RÆSON.
What do you feel was the best part of your experience of going to Jerusalem with The Caravan’s Journal?
Probably the evening when we watched the sunset in Nablus and where we shared our personal experiences and reflections about the past hectic days. It was a beautiful, quite place providing a bubble to absorb the landscape and the intense Palestinian stories. But despite all the horrible things happening in this divided world, we were able to find great hospitality, wide smiles and a lot of warmth. All together with a fantastic group of people — both organizers and participants.
Were your expectations about the experience met?
My goal was to get better in storytelling, especially with a journalistic approach, and learn about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The chaotic and dramatic social situations that coincidentally arose when we were there only helped me to become more receptive to the lectures and tours. Everything we talked about was literally happening outside. I think experiencing conflict and the life in Jerusalem first hand was an incredible journalistic opportunity. It proved to bring out the basics in me — curiosity and just being super focused on everything you see, feel, smell and hear.
What would you recommend to participants on the next trip?
The most important thing and what I also like to recommend to others is that you should do as much talking as possible. Or communicate with the locals. Don’t hesitate to meet people. It’s great to have your facts straight, but that part is of less priority. The internet is always available, but the people and the environment are not. They’re right there and right then. Take advantage of this.
If you have to choose one image you took to represent your Jerusalem experience, what would it be and why?
I attached my English reportage from Qalandia Checkpoint. I decided to do this reportage while driving in the bus from Palestine back to Jerusalem with the crew, in the middle of our stay. When we reached Qalandia all the Palestinians without a blue Israeli ID-card had to step out and walk through the military checkpoint, while my beetroot coloured passport served me the luxury of remaining seated all comfortable. This hit me and I’ve seen pictures of Qalandia packed with people and knew that workers went through the many obstacles on a daily basis. Thanks to a strong network and some lucky talking, I got in touch with a girl, who could translate Arabic to English, so I could talk to these workers. To make it unique I wanted pictures of their belongings instead of the ordinary portraits.