Archive for the ‘gaza’ Category

August 16, 2007

A phone call from M in Rafah leaves me dumb and numb.

He thinks the recent IOF slaughter in Khan Younis is the start of something big.

“How can I use my privilege?” I asked him. “How can I influence my governments, my people, bring awareness and change?”

“I don’t know.” There was a long silence. I told him to take care, then immediately apologized for coming off so trite. How do you take care when being air and land bombed?

And I remember the Abu J family dancing in midday heat under the shade of their tent; I recall countless instances of young children touchingly concerned for even younger kids –or for me, offering tea with such graciousness. Memories of kids making do with barren, dusty, potholed surroundings, smiles bigger than I remember from my own safe childhood, playing football, sledding down a Tel Rumeida hill on a push-dolly, flinging out Dabka steps, shimmering to pop music from Egypt and Lebanon…

And I’m sure, Fatah or Hamas, kids and people are the same in Gaza, which is currently –yet again –being pounded by Israel.

There’s the family who, last week, welcomed me and another volunteer into their Hebron home, though we arrived after 10 pm and not actually knowing anyone present.

Sultan had earlier in the day told me of his sister’s wedding to occur the following day, minus significant family members stuck in Gaza. The sister was heartbroken, he said, that the family wouldn’t be together. He’d asked me to stop by the pre-wedding celebration that night.

But they graciously welcomed us, showing more interest in and hospitality to us than we deserved, unexpected strangers crashing a wedding party in tragic times.

I look at the words M brings together from his observations and from other news. It gives me deeper insight to the largely unreported tragedies occurring daily in Gaza, as well as the sporadic positive events and celebrations.

When I see the photos he takes, I cannot image seeing death like that on a near-daily basis. I cannot imagine the futility and bitterness that must grow with each click of the shutter. I can’t image how he gets any sleep at night, or gets past his own personal tragedies.

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tired of peace talks

August 14, 2007

I’ve just come from an Israeli-organized Israeli-Palestinian peace event, where many of the Israeli participants were young, funky, dreadlocked men and women who talk of peace.

Combatants for Peace  
spoke there, Osama and Shimone giving their testimonies, Wael and Itimar fielding questions.

A few older Israeli women threw out accusatory questions on suicide bombers and Israeli military-resisters.

I drifted away.

Down roads lined with healthy fields, past a gas station and a military memorial museum –between which no less than 20 sprinklers tended a vibrant patch of grass –and along a trail.

Paused to admire some unusual bird calls, sniff the unfamiliar odor of moisture in the air –from the 20-sprinkler-strong lawn irrigation, the lush growth all around, the reservoir ahead –and watch the sunset illuminate trees and distant hills. Was struck by how far away, within this small stretch of land formerly known as Palestine, Hebron and Susiya were, with their thirst for water.

Gaza is on another planet, so cut off and unimaginably different it seems. Followed the path around, turning up another just as a small fleet of IOF jeeps trundled past.

The Israeli peaceniks, some do appreciate Palestinians’ daily trials and obstacles. And a great many are oblivious.

I admire Orr, and even Itimar who today talked of having vowed he would kill 200,000 Arabs with ease in order to defend Israel. He is, of course, changed, aware, fighting non-violently via education and dialogue to awaken other Israelis. They take on the hard-liner patriots, like the women of today.

M sent me an edit today. More Gazans killed in another IOF alleged hunt for “wanted men” and targeting of bystanding civilians.

It is all so tiring, all this Occupation and denial of history. And the re-playing of history, where the once-occupied become the Occupiers.