Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reflections of what it's felt like to share "Asking Israel Why it Tortured my Friend"

Yesterday Electronic Intifada published my article, "Asking Israel Why it Tortured my Friend." In it, I describe my experience standing up in a "Our Soldiers Speak" presentation at DePaul University and asking Israeli soldier Benjamin Anthony to explain why soldiers tortured my friend Musab Raba'i. I've been surprised by what an emotional experience asking this question and sharing the results has been. I hope you'll forgive me for taking a moment to sort through my own feelings.

This article has gotten a lot of attention, but it's far from the best thing I've ever written. In fact, I wrote it at 1:30 am and the wonderful people at EI saved it from typos and spelling errors. Of course, Musab and his family have always deserved attention. Still, I feel ambivalent. I've wanted people to know what happened since Musab was tortured. I've wanted other people to be angry and sad. Now they are, but it doesn't make me feel better. I feel the same way I always did. I'm still angry and sad.

One morning, not unlike the one when Musab was tortured, I was walking with Musab while he grazed his sheep. Quietly, matter-of-factly, he told me a story from his childhood. When he was young, Musab was playing by his house near Havat Ma'on settlement. A settler grabbed him and put a gun to his head. Musab told me his brothers saved his life by running out of their house, terrifying the settler, and grabbing Musab.

There are so many stories like this that need to be told. It feels strange to know them when other people don't - and don't want to. Srg. Benjamin Anthony tried to humiliate me when I asked him why Israeli soldiers tortured Musab. He said I was ignorant and must have been mislead. I know that's not true. And I know we will continue to work for justice and peace in Palestine. This feeling of grief, anger and outrage will not go away.

I still wake up wondering what might happen to Musab today or tomorrow. Then I get out of bed and I try to do everything in my power to end the occupation of Palestine. Sometimes it feels like there is very little I can do. The day Musab was tortured, I felt completely helpless. But there is always something I can do. So I do it, because I wont feel better until Palestine is free.


Anonymous said...

I watched the clip with interest on Electronic Intifada. There is no evidence to support your assertion that the soldiers attacked the farmers at the bequest of settlers. I am not saying it did not happen like that, just that your clip does not support this. It is interesting to see women confronting the soldiers, whose weapons are casually by their sides. They do not seem to fear them at all. The soldiers appear very controlled and seem to be under attack.

Olivia Schroeder said...

Joy, what you are doing is inspiring, and the good hearted of the world are following your stories all the time. The people are with you in your mission, and Insha'Allah, there will be peace for Palestinians, Israelis and the people of the world.
I hope I may join you one day, or be a part of your mission.
Until than, may the grace of God be with you.