Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Some upcoming events and oppertunities in the area
In many ways, I work the hardest for an end to the occupation while I am at home. Over the next few months I'll be speaking extensively about Palestine and involved in other projects. There are a couple of events and opportunities that I want to make sure you're aware of, especially those of you living in the Portland/Vancouver area.
First, this Friday, Sept. 1st at 6:00 pm I'll speaking on the Bread and Roses show on KBOO Radio! In Portland and Vancouver, you can listen at 90.7 FM, or any where the world over, you can listen online at www.kboo.fm Pretty cool!
Second, on Sept 16th, the slice of life in Palestine is coming to Vancouver, Washington. A life-sized replica of the annexation wall will be presented at the Vancouver Peace and Justice Fair. And we need your help! To make this unique public education opportunity a reality, we need people willing to help us set-up the wall and take it down. Super-human strengthen is not required - just the ability to follow directions. And if giving instructions is more your style, consider helping out with at mock checkpoint I'm working to organize. I'm looking people willing to impersonate both Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in an effort to give people an idea of what checkpoints are like. If you're interested in helping with either set-up and take-down or with the mock checkpoint, please don't hesitate to drop me an email (or comment). We need all of the help we can get!
Thirdly, as always I'm looking for places where I can speak about my experiences in Palestine. Last year, I was able to speak to a variety of audiences, from church groups to high school classrooms to living rooms. I'm very happy to speak almost any where - but the sooner I can get presentations scheduled the better. Drop me an email (or comment) if you're interested.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Gaza After Disengagement
PS: I'm home safe after absolutely no hassle at the Tel Aviv Airport. Humdillah!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I wanted to include this link to an old CPT report that describes the sort of peace process I believe stands a chance of ending the occupation. While I hope there will be a time when political negoitations work and when dialogue, or a truth and reconciliation commission, are appropriate in Palestine and Israel, I feel this is not it. The pressure of injustice is simply to great and those that want to make peace need to struggle for justice.
This piece talks about Israeli and Palestinian activists working together and becoming the "other peace process." Take a look: http://www.cpt.org/archives/2000/apr2000/0006.html
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.
Monday, August 14, 2006
The group issued a press release stating their motives which is translated below:
The international law requires of every human being the duty of resistance to war crimes using every possible means. At this moment, when the rockets are falling, the war crimes are committed, the victims buried, it is time to fight to stop the war.
The activists are carrying a clear message: Stop civilian killings; Stop the war crimes; Stop the Israeli government criminal policies.
It is the duty of every soldier to refuse to serve orders which are war crimes. The support by the Israeli people of this criminal government means they are participants in committing these war crimes.
The number of dead is continuously increasing. The attacks by Israeli air force are planting death, destruction and hate. In Palestine, the occupation continues killing and torturing Palestinians. The civilians of Northern Israel are used as human shields and are paying their lives as a price to serve the ego of generals who are even unable to acknowledge failure and defeat.
The war crimes are committed everyday, hundreds of kids have been killed. The number of those killed is over a thousand. There are tens of thousands of injured and over one million refugees and Israel continues the air strikes, the killing, the destruction, and the annihilation in order to prove who is powerful in the region.
We repeat and we say what is known for everyone; there is no military solution. We are calling on the Israeli government and its people to wake up and behave in a moral way.
We must stop the war machine and the destruction. we demand an immediate ceasefire, an exchange of prisoners, and the release the political prisoners in Israel.
Call Out for Stories of Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance
Friends, I'm currently living in Bethlehem and I'm volunteering with a
Palestinian organization called the Holy Land Trust. We're working to
put together a web resource center on Palestinian nonviolent
resistance. We're almost ready to launch the site, but we want to
give members of the movement a chance to submit articles and links
that you think should be included.
We're looking for stories of nonviolent resistance actions. The
purpose of this website is to provide an introduction to the
resistance movement that anyone can understand. We're most interested
in dynamically written stories of nonviolent actions, focusing on the
actions of Palestinians and their supporters, rather than the terrible
responses on the Israeli army that we know always take place. We want
to highlight, as much as possible, stories written by Palestinians,
but please don't hesitate to submit any story. Multimedia sources –
videos, audio, pictures, etc – are also welcome.
If you have a story, video, or link you would like to be posted on the
website, please feel free to send it to me at jubilus AT gmail DOT
com. Weblinks are the easiest resources for us to work with, but
previously unpublished material is great as well. Please include, as
much as possible, all relevant information – who, what, when, where,
Thank you so much for your help creating this resource! Feel free to
pass this request on to anyone you feel might be interested.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Monday, August 07, 2006
Pictures of Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance:
I've got so much to do, but I've been going through photo archieves here and there are a few that just can't help but post. I've taken none of these, but I still wanted to share them
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Today my good friend Marwan told me that he had to go into to see the doctor yesterday. He said he has some sort of problem with his heart. I asked him what happened and he told me that he had watched the news from Lebanon this morning. On the television, there were pictures of the children killed in the bombings in Lebanon. Marwan told me that he looked up at the picture and down at his own children. He shooed them out of the room, hoping they wouldn't see the pictures of dead children, children their age, who look just like them. And then Marwan went to the doctor with a pain in his heart.
"Don't look at the pictures," Marwan tells me. "A little bit of news, that's okay for you. But too much, for you it's not good."
It's difficult to know what to write while this terrible war rages on in the country next door. Whatever I write about Lebanon and Israel will likely be out of date by the time that you read it. Besides, many of you may have more access to English-language news than I do. The truth is, to me the war seems far away. But for many of the Palestinians I live with, the bombing feels very close. Besides, while the world has been concerned about Lebanon and Northern Israel, there have been more killings in Nablus and of course Gaza. There's a heavy feeling in the air, as though sadness and hopelessness have finally taken hold. Even I can feel it.
This morning my friend and host-sister Iylana told me that every group that had been scheduled to come to Palestine through the educational travel program she works with have cancelled because of the war. Actually, until yesterday there was one group still coming. But they were denied entry by the Israeli authorities. "I don't know what we will do" said Iylana. "Without tourism, we have nothing."
I suppose this is how Palestine is effected by the war. Old problems are compounded - Just as tourists were starting to come to Palestine again, they've stopped. The checkpoints are worse then I've ever seen them, since Israelis fear for their security even more. The United States complicity clearer than every and the world's abandonment of Palestine is felt more acutely as more attention is showed on Israel and Lebanon. In many ways nothing has changed. Everything is just a little bit worse.
I just learned from my friend Vivian that in Beit Jala, the village to the west of Bethlehem, the Israeli soldiers stationed there have been releasing their sewage into the town almost week. "It usually happens on a Thursday" says Vivian. Great, I think, almost laughing. The occupation shows its ugly, petty side again. Perhaps there is something that we can do about this incident. In the midst of the madness of the last two months, it's nice to deal with the sort of problem I'm more familiar with. But the truth is, there is no escape from the feeling of hopelessness. We just don't know what to do.
"A little bit of news, that's okay for you. But too much, for you it's not good." I should stop writing about these terrible things. Thank you for working to end this war, but don't stop. And please don't forget those of us who are living near by.
Shu Akbarek? What's your News?
So, just what have I been doing here in Palestine? I'm not very good at writing personal updates - I get distracted by all of the politics here. But here are some of the things that I've been up to.
First, I've been helping to edit an new book called "The Doves" by Hebron Artist Samih Abu Zakieh, director of the Palestinian Child Art Center: http://www.pcac.net Samih drew 100 beautiful pictures of doves (like the one here) while he was living under 24-hour curfew in Hebron. His book tells the story of the drawing and includes all 100. It will be published very soon and I'll try to keep you updated on how it can be purchased. No, I'm not getting a cut - it's a beautiful book and you'll be glad you have a copy!
Besides editing "The Doves" I've been working on a website documenting Palestinian nonviolent resistance. It will be online soon, inshallah (God willing) hosted by the Holy Land Trust. I'm pretty excited about it!
Finally, I've been away at camp. Yeah, the second annual "Nonviolent Activist Summer Camp." You can check out an article on it here: http://www.holylandtrust.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=85&Itemid=1
So there. That's some of what I've been up to. We now return to your regularly scheduled blog.