Virtual street corners is the creation of Jon Ewing, a Boston based artist. He wanted to connect two Boston neighbor hoods, Brookline and Roxbury. He converted two shop windows and placed life size screens in each shop window. Via video conferencing the two neighborhoods’ were able to communicate with one another – 24/7 real time. And we in Gaza were a part of it!
We talked about everything and anything that came across our minds during the two hours we were connected. We talked about movies, TV shows, hip hop& rap, the situation in Gaza, the health care, the cinemas, the electricity crisis in Gaza, and guess what? We talked about the 2010 world cup (of course) and apparently all of us had mutual support for Africa and Latin America.
We exchanged songs and poems. Amongst us there was a young Gazan rap singer, and when they found out they asked him to Rap. Even in Arabic they thought it was “aight!” The artists afterwards agreed to send him the beats so they could work together – stay tuned for exclusive Boston – Gaza collaboration!
We expressed freely our emotions and thoughts about each other. They told us what they thought of us and we were honest too. They asked us “what are people like in Gaza?” We found it difficult to answer. So we asked two foreign guests who were at the back of the room to come and say how they felt. Nitin (An Indian name which means the moon) said he had been overwhelmed by the energy in Gaza since he arrived. Chantal an Italian lady who also supported added “the food is good” then she said but only after Italian!
We connected with people of all ages. We talked to some kids, one of them had a Latin American origin and started to speak Spanish, another knew French and talked in French. We talked to an American Muslim who is studying to memorize the entire Qur’an. Then suddenly there was a guy who spoke ARABIC. We were shocked to hear an Arab between. We asked him where he was from and it turns out he was originally from Jerusalem and was in Boston studying Boston. At that moment I really understood Tida’s aim “to connect Gaza to the world and the world to Gaza” In roughly 2 hours we connected with Americans, Afro-Americans, Latin Americans, and a huge number of anonymous people. I think in those two hours none of us were stereotypes, we were all people.
The conference was a huge success and the guys which were responsible for it in Boston want to stay in touch with us. We will do this through Facebook, twitter, and our own blogs. It was absolutely amazing to know what American’s really think of us and to chat with them away from politics, away from prejudice, away from everything. We were complete strangers talking about everything in life and after couple of hours became friends.
We all went home thinking of this event, the outcome was great and we are all looking forward for another chance to meet with these people again and again and again … Thanks Tida because you helped bring the world to us, and us to the world.
for any information about Tida go to: http://www.tidagaza.org/