Wednesday, August 16, 2006

There are no words for how I feel leaving Palestine for the second
time. I don't have the vocabulary to describe the way my heart is
broken apart by a need to stay here - to sit on the land, to hold the
hands my friends, to climb into an olive tree, to refuse to move - and
a desire to escape the madness of this occupation. I don't want to
keep looking into the eyes of young men and women who stand with guns
at the checkpoints. I don't want to look at the pictures of dead
children and demolished houses shown on television. I don't want to
listen to my host father describe how difficult is it for the
Christian families in Beit Sahour sell their olive wood carvings. I
don't want to see how everything gets worse every day. I don't want
to continue feeling so powerless and so ineffectual.

I'm ready to go home, to talk about what I've seen, to renew my spirit
somehow. I'm ready to see my Palestinian American friends who can no
longer come home because of new Israeli regulations. I'm ready to see
my own family. But I know when I come back to Palestine again, it
will be worse. The Wall will be bigger, the land will be smaller,
unemployment will be higher. And the coffee will still be delicious,
the hospitality unparalleled, and hopefully the children will still
smile. My heart will be ripped out again when I return to Palestine,
but I know I can't stay away.

This week has been an endless goodbye. I'm desperately trying to fill
up the time with anything that will distract me, but it's not working.
I can't escape the way I'm feeling. I've learned what it means to
pray without ceasing. I keep crying out for something to change, for
every person, every shop and organization to some how survive until I
come back to see them again. And I pray because I feel like there is
nothing else I can do.

I try not to write sad things. There is so much of that already being
written that I just want to write about hope and, in a small way,
love. So maybe I should try to write something hopeful here: I'm
still hopeful because all of us are still fighting. Here in Palestine
and a few people in Israel and around the world, we're still
struggling for justice and peace. I will come back to Palestine and
while I am away, I'll work hard for my friends here. No night can
last forever. Someday this occupation will have to end.

1 comment:

Rick said...

I understand exactly how you feel. When I was in Hebron with the Christian Peacemaker Teams in February 2003 I got to see first hand the misery the occupation caused.
The Palestinians I met were wonderful, gentle people who just wanted to have a normal life free from occupation and to be treated as human beings. My heart went out to them.
Most of the Israeli soldiers didn't want to be there and often took out their frustrations on the Palestinian population.
The Jewish settlers there were mostly right-wing thugs and fanatics who could beat and rob the Palestinans at will with no repercussions. It was very maddening.
I have a strong desire to go back. To try to do something-anything!--to help make life better there for the Palestinians I have come to care so deeply about. I often wonder how they stand the stress of living life in a cage.
Most American look at all Palestinians as terrorists. But they are just average people who just want to live a decent life. Without justice there will be no peace in that region.