Thursday, August 03, 2006

Occupied Voices: "Kerblog" from Beirut

KERBLOG contains truely amazing drawings documenting his experience living in Beirut as the bombs keep falling. Check out what he has to say...and draw.


Daniel said...

Dear Joy. Thank you for your blog. Great to see you do what you believe in.

If I understand it correctly your organizations is mainly directed in confronting IDF with signs that show that there is a non force avenue.

Groups like Women in Black challange also violence as a means of resitance within Palestinian society. In fact they have no affiliation to any side in the conflict. Their enemy is violence as a means of struggle.

I wondered if you can answer my curious mind. Are you aware of any other projects of that sort, that non threatheningly confront the idiology of martyrdom and violent resistance within Palestine.

The reason I ask, is to know what kind of equivalentt exists in Palestinian territorries to Groups like Gush Shalom.

And also can you tell me how risky it is for people to take an anti violence stance. It is certainly risky what you do, challangeing the IDF. Would it be fair to say that it is likewise risky to confront any of the armed Palestinian militias, perhaps een more risky?

Genuinley curious.

joy_in_palestine said...

Hey Daniel. Thanks for writing. And thank you for you blog as well. I like much of your meditations very much.

I'm going to have to be very brief - we've had a problem here tonight - about a hundred Palestinians were stopped at a checkpoint near our house because apparently the road to Ramallah has been closed. We had to speak with people, the soldiers, and file a human rights report and a press release. It's midnight now and I'm tired.

First, you ask a really good question. Let me try to answer it well.

I think that I haven't made the nature of my work very clear. I don't generally confront the Israeli army with signs. My work is accompanying Palestinians when I am asked to do so - helping them get to school, for example, or harvest their olives. We also monitor human rights violations in our area of the West Bank (yes, our focus is limited to here because that's all we are able to do.) We also try to support Palestinian organized nonviolent resistance. That resistance can take the form of demonstrations (almost never with signs. I've never carried one here. In fact, the picture you see on my blog is of an Israeli peace activist. I just snapped the photo) but also projects that provide income for families, encourage independence from Israeli products, etc. Does that give you a better idea of what we're doing?

If I'm understanding you correctly, you'd also like to know if there are Palestinian groups in the West Bank that are against all forms of violence or challenging Palestinian armed groups. While I know of no attempt to stand in front of suicide bombers or gunmen and stop them (I don't think a strategy like that would work, personally), I feel that all of us who participate in nonviolent resistance to the occupation are challenging violent methods. I think that Palestinian who are practicing nonviolent resistance are providing an alternative method of struggle and I think these actions are the most powerful way that we can reduce violence on all side. Actions speak louder then words, and showing people a better way to met their needs speaks the loudest of all.

I've also seen that when Israelis participate in these demonstrations, real, meaningful acts of peacemaking can take places. That excites me and makes me believe that this work is worthwhile.

As to a list of organizations that are doing these sort of work, the list is rather long. The Holy Land Trust, though, is an organization that I work with that certainly is trying to encourage nonviolence. you can find them at

There is something else that I wanted to add. You said that Women in Black, for example, is not allied with any side of these conflict. I think there is something more complicated in play in Women in Black's actions. Most WIB members in Israel are, of course, Israelis. And they are very clear in calling for an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In other words, their focus is on ending the violence with which they are complicit. As an American, I feel like I'm also complicit in this conflict, since we fund Israel's military. Therefore, I feel like my responsibility is to focus my work on ending my government's support of the occupation. That doesn't mean, in my opinion, I'm for Palestinians and against Israelis. I'm "for" all people. Everyone. And I'm working against the violence and injustice that I feel I have a responsibility for ending. It the area where I feel I also have the greatest chance of success.

Thanks for writing! If you're still in the area and you would like to visit Bethlehem, do send me an email and perhaps I could take you around. I love the city where I'm living right now (though I have to say that I love the villages even more.)

Daniel said...

n.b. my comment on "North" clarified... we are going straight to just before Eilat in a Progressive Reformed Jewish Kibbutz, and then heading for Neve Shalom.

The most North location on this visit will be Tel Aviv, actually possibly about the same distance from Lebanon as Betlehem?

Thanks again!

joy_in_palestine said...

actually, Bethlehem is much farther south. We're about 5 miles south of Jerusalem.

joy_in_palestine said...

Daniel, you seem to be trying to talk about what I'm saying on my blog, which is fine with me, but I'm missing a piece of the puzzle. You say you've written back to me, but I never got the response. Frankly, I'm confused and I'm feeling very uncomfortable. If you would like to talk to me, please reply to my blog, rather than posting about me on yours. I find it very difficult to have a conversation that way.

Daniel said...

No idea why you did not get my initial reply. I DID POST IT...

Do not feel uncomfortable. I am kosher :-)

For some reasom the reply did not arrive. I gathered that when your respoinse was also like you missed what I said. Let;s try to regather: 1.) I have been in Bet'lehem twice before, quite a while ago.

2.) I said something about that I would like to see the day that there will be a peace demo against the own leadership as much in Israeli towns as in Palestine. I strongly believe that peace movements must get fostered on both sides. It is not enough to have people only in Tel Aviv demonstating against their respective miltant government.

3.) Re Women in Black, Israeli in this case includes Arab Israeli who are part and prcel. I was not aware that Palestinians from the territorries were not represented within.

4.) Thanks for the link you gave. Interestingly I stubled across that the other day.

5.) Lastly I said I am planning toi go into the far South, alas even Jerusalem and Betlehem are too far North from where we are planning to go.