Thursday, May 24, 2007

My friend Kayla and I were talking about stress and burn-out, something that's all too common amongst people who work in NGOs and people who live war zones - and doubly likely for people who work with NGOs in war zones. Kayla suggested that I make a list of the reasons that I'm doing this work, so that I'll have something to look back on when I'm feeling hopeless.

So, here it is. I work in Palestine:

  • Because standing in solidarity with people who are oppressed at the hands of my government is a part of what I believe ethical people do.
  • Because in my own experience, international accompaniment does reduce violence and create a space for indigenous people to wage their own justice struggles.
  • Because the Israeli military occupation Palestine is one of the greatest example of injustice in this decade and one the greatest sources of international stability. Freeing Palestine is crucially important and I'm honored to be able to play an extremely small part of ending it.
  • Because even if my work doesn't make a difference, it's important to try. It's important to witness, even if only so that I am personally able to live with integrity and advocate effectively here at home.
  • Because I feel led to this work.
  • Because I find this work to be life-giving, because in a strange way it's already been my salvation.
  • Because I want to learn what it means to live nonviolently. I know that involves suffering, but I still want to experience it.
  • Because I've wanted to travel to Palestine for years, since I was in 8th grade. This is an opportunity to live out a dream.
  • Because I believe that another person with a solid understanding of the problems of cross-cultural work and a commitment to Palestinian-led resistance can only help organizations like CPT.
  • Because I love Palestine. I've traveled to many different countries and this is still the one that I love the best (though Bolivia is a close second). It's a culture I love. It's food I love. It's olive trees and valleys and beautiful children. It's a gift.

1 comment:

Jennifer G/Portland said...

Joy, Your words stir and resonate. Amidst the discouragement, they are a reminder often needed by others of us working on this issue each in our own ways. Thank you and hope, courage and inner peace as you journey forth. Jennifer G/Portland