Big Jump at the Jordan River

by Big-Jump-Team EN

This is the story of what happened for the simultaneous "Jump" action into the Jordan River with the Big Jump Challenge teams EcoPeace Jordan, Palestine and Israel, as reported by Lisa Kawar and others from the environmental organisation EcoPeace Middle East.

"I feel excited to report to you about a special event we held on Friday, May 29th, at the baptismal site of the Jordan River, on both sides of the river, which shows an example of our cross-border environmental education program:

We wanted so much to do a simultaneous jump into the Jordan river with our partnering teams EcoPeace Palestine and EcoPeace Israel, but unfortunately this is not possible due to the deteriorating situation of the Jordan River and the high level of pollution. So we decided to turn this activity into a campaign, in which we could raise the public’s awareness of the Jordan River’s situation and call for regional cooperation between concerned governments in rehabilitating it.

 

Youth water trustees, alumni, and staff gathered on both banks of the rivers: Jordanians on the Eastern side and Palestinians on the Western side with Israelis. For political reasons, participants are not allowed to cross to the other side of the river, but they were able to communicate from across the river. The signs raised spoke volumes about the river’s needs: “Water Has No Borders”, “Water Cannot Wait”, and “Save the Lower Jordan River”.

Following this, we took snapshots, which were later compiled into a short clip, of participants holding small messages of facts about the Jordan River, telling its sad story and calling for governments’ commitment to clean pollution sources before they reach the river, implementing water conservation strategies, and cooperation between governments to rehabilitate the Jordan River, for the benefit of the local communities who can flourish from Eco Tourism, and also for the benefit of nature and ecological systems.

We hope our voices will reach out to everyone, and that we will be able to return life to the Jordan River.

You can see our full photo album for this event on our Facebook page, and here is the videoclip of the Jordan River's story. Heard in the background, is the "Jordan River Love Song". This song was written and sung together by youth water trustees from Palestine, Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan at a youth camp in the framework of the crossborder campaign of the "Good Water Neighbors Project" and "Community GIS Project".

The "Local Love Story" song reflects the insights and learning process of "Water Trustees" from Jordan, Israel and Palestine who live along the Lower Jordan River. The ideas and messages in the song were created at one of EcoPeace Middle East (Friends of the Earth Middle East) regional youth camps. Yousef AlShammary, the Jordanian field staff who is also a poet, collected the messages from the mixed groups and wrote the song's words as if the Jordan River were speaking itself. The words in Hebrew and the melody were composed by Yishai Oz with the youth from the 3 nations. We hope this joint song, composed as part of the "Good Water Neighbor's Project", will contribute to the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River and to the relations of the people who live by the River...

Here are the translated lyrics of the song in English:

 

This is the tale of a great love affair

Between the Yarmouk, the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan

Once they were destined for love and respect

And now conflict has divided them

chorus

'cause it really doesn't matter whoever we are

We all have the right to live with hope

With pure water provided for all

As an example of good neighbors to the world 

 

Our role in the world is changing

As Friends of the Earth we're bridging the divide

The Lord gave us water as a gift

We should wisely preserve it for our benefit

chorus

'cause it really doesn't matter whoever we are

We all have the right to live with hope

With pure water provided for all

As an example of good neighbors to the world

 

This activity was undertaken with the support of the USAID Conflict Management & Mitigation Program, the Swedish International Development Agency, Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Trade & Development Cooperation and the European Union's Partnership for Peace Programme. The views expressed are those of EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East and do not necessarily represent the views of our funders".

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