Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Demolitions depriving people of water, the foundation of life

Demolitions continue(d) in Al Baqa'a Valley, near Hebron. Yesterday we arrived just after sound grenades had been thrown at the men, women, and children who were angry and confused over the demolitions of their water cistern and vegetable fields. When I arrived there were lots of children crying. The moment I arrived an elderly woman asked a young mother if the young girl in the mother's arms was scared. She replied with words and tears, "She is scared to death, 100 times over."

There was some media there who were snapping and filming away as another mother comforted her teenage daughter who had a river of tears streaming down her face. I didn't have the nerve to take out my camera and 'document' their sorrow and fear. I looked at their tears and the sadness on their faces, and I had to just walk away, I couldn't bear participating in the voyeurism of their sorrow.

Often times I don't know what my role is. People don't want to be comforted, I don't want to videotape their sorrow and loss (but sometimes that's the only thing I think I can do - so I do it), and it's not helpful or effective to go fight the 20 Border Policeman who wield tear gas, sound grenades, and semi-automatic rifles. Sometimes I just yell obscenities at the top of my lungs, but actually inaudibuly inside my own head, at the people who perpetrate this evil. Sometimes I just cry to myself as old men and woman, who will soon die under an apartheid occupation in their homeland, yell, "May God destroy you for what you are doing, God is great, God is great."

I came back home after the incident and immediately started uploading video, photos, and working on a short release. Once I finsihed what I could, and was waiting for the video to finish uploading, I just sat still in the plastic chair in front of my desk. I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to read a book, read an article, watch the TV, play with a soccer ball, I didn't have the capability of desire to do anything other than sit still.

I can't imagine what it's like to be the Palestinian landowners, and see the Israeli authorities tear out your irrigation systems and destroy your cisterns, without giving an ounce of regard for the fact that this is your means of income. If I felt numb, after being present for 2 of the last 3 demolitions, as an international observer and solidarity activist (or whatever the hell I am), what did these families feel like? What did it feel like to have an Israeli policeman and water company employee tell you, "I want to see this whole place become a desert, I hope you don't get another drop of water." The way that I would hear that, if I put myself in their shoes, is, "Fuck you, you dirty Arab, I hope you can't make a living, and I hope you die, and if you don't die, I hope you leave this land, cause it's mine."

Here's the video from the most recent demolitions, on July 19.

Here's the video from the demolition of the cistern on July 16.

p.s. the young teenage girl who was crying, later brought me out a glass of hot, sweet tea. What a sweatheart.

Here's the press release from yesterday:
See photos of the incident
See video of the incident

For the third time in 12 days, Israeli Border Police carried out demolitions in Al Baqa'a valley, a fertile farming area northeast of Hebron, along route 60. On July 19, the Israeli Border Police, with the assistance of hired laborers using heavy machinery, destroyed a cistern and removed irrigation pipes from 1.5 acres (6 dunams) of vegetable fields.

Israeli Border Police and hired laborers first demolished a rainwater cistern. Border Police and the workers then moved to vegetable fields and removed all of the irrigation pipes. Israeli Border Police used sound grenades to disperse the Palestinian land owners and residents who were gathered around the site of the demolitions. Medical personnel came to give examinations to two women who were suffering adverse affects from the sound grenades, one woman was taken away by ambulance.
See the following for information on recent demolitions in Al Baqa'a valley:

July 16, 2010

July 7, 2010

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