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97 (Borderless Airwaves | 国境のない電波)

March 1, 2011

On the way to Jerusalem, Sept 2009 | エルサレムに向かう途中、2009年9月

On the way to Jerusalem this past weekend, our usual favorite radio station became inaccessible not long after we were on the road. I started searching for other stations and almost immediately, Arabic dialogue and music flowed through the speakers, one station after another. Jordanian radio stations.

The first time I heard radio from a neighboring country was during a drive around the Golan Heights. I was startled to suddenly hear Arabic while searching around for a radio station. But of course, roughly 20% of the population in Israel are Arabic speakers (not including Palestinian territory). It made perfect sense for there to be Arabic radio stations.

But to my shock Yuval informed me that they were, in fact, Lebanese radio stations. My ears perked up even more and I listened intently. I couldn’t understand anything of course, but it was utterly fascinating to suddenly have access to what felt like wealth of information. The dialogues, the music, the commercials! I love how radio inspires imagination. I couldn’t believe that in contrast to the physical Lebanese border inaccessible from Israel, Lebanese airwaves floated freely. It was like being let in on a secret. Except that of course, I don’t speak Arabic. But Yuval does.

On our way back from Jerusalem this past weekend, we listened to a few Jordanian radio stations for a while, finally ending up with one that read the news in English (I was pleased to hear that the announcer was a woman). The news went on for a full 20 minutes, mostly about the uprising in the Middle East. Yuval joked that we heard more information about what is going on in the area in those 20 minutes than what we would get from a week’s worth of news in Israel or Japan. Considering all that is going on at the moment in so many countries, 20 minutes was almost not enough.

As we got closer to home, more and more Israeli stations started to filter in. And although I still don’t understand the language very well, the first bursts of Hebrew felt comforting to my ears.

先週末エルサレムに向かう途中、お気に入りのラジオ局 が出発してから間もなく聞こえなくなってしまいました。他のラジオ局を探し始めたら、アラビア語の会話や音楽が次々とスピーカーから流れました。ヨルダンのラジオ局です。





Much love,

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