“History isn’t the lies of the victors, as I once glibly assured Old Joe Hunt; I know that now. It’s more the memories of the survivors, most of whom are neither victorious nor defeated.” - Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
When I first told my friends at Yale that I’d be will be visiting Israel and Palestine I was met with incredulous glances. I seemingly had no stake in the conflict. As a Hindu Indian brought up in the East, what could I possibly contribute to a conversation rooted in Abrahamic theology and in cultures that are worlds apart from my own. But perhaps, being a complete outsider allowed me to learn about the dispute from an approach that was empathetic to all sides. I was amazed by the variety of narratives I was presented with, each of which looked at the conflict through a different lens. Colonizers versus the colonized, victims versus terrorists, liberals versus fundamentalists — characterizations that changed with every other conversation I had.
During the trip, I saw children in varied settings — their sense of wonder for the world juxtaposed against backdrops of centuries old war and animosity. Across Palestinian and Israeli territories, I saw the same spark in these children’s eyes, and yet, they were held are far apart by the accidents of history. This photo series is an attempt to reconcile innocence of youth with the harshness of the world in which it must exist.