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.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Longing and Heartbreak


I missed my friends in Palestine a lot today, not totally sure why.  Cried a little, not sure why.  It's hard to transition to the States and realize I can't be in two places at once, and its hard to face the reality that my ability to see my friends is the hands of an unfriendly, uncaring group of folks, that being the Israeli Ministry of Interior.  I feel like I went through a bad break up, cause I have some heartache.  My heart isn't totally here in California.  Thus, it feels like a piece of me is missing, because, in all truthfulness, I think it is.

I talked to Ahmed and Musab today.  It was good to hear their voices, the Arabic came back surprisingly well.  

Some of the heartache is that Ahmed and Musab, and many others, are people that I love.  Those people that I love get fucked every single day of their lives by a racist and unjust set of systems and policies.  Systems and policies sound too abstract, their problems are tangible and fleshy -- the near impossibility of trucking in water, the fear of schoolchildren who have been beaten with chains and bats by Israeli settlers on the way to school and will surely be beaten again by the same people, the daily humiliation of Israeli soldiers and police treating you like you're a quarter of a human, that the value of your life and your family's lives pales in comparison to the value of a Jewish settler's life.  

Ahmed said, "Well, you know how it is," when I asked him how the situation was in his village.  "The problems are minor."
"Yeah, I know, there are always problems, but I am glad the problems are minor," I offered.  "How is the army escort of the school kids."
"Yeah it's good, the kids are getting to school."
"How are your mom and dad?"
"They are well, and your family? Send greetings to everyone there."
"Will do.  Sounds like you are out shepherding right now.  Have you seen settlers or soldiers recently?"
"A bit, but hopefully it will be quiet."
"Inshallah, it will be quiet today, Inshallah."

I smiled when I hung up, happy that I had spoken with Ahmed.  Then I cried.  I cried for Ahmed and the dozens of times I have seen him run with all of his might to avoid arrest, or worse, for simply shepherding his flock.  I cried for his brother who was headbutted by an Israeli soldier, who then threateningly cocked his rifle in the air while his mother shouted in desperation, "Ibni! Ibni! Khali Ibni! (My son! My son! Leave my son alone!).  I cried for his cousin who was beaten, blindfolded, and dragged away by the soldiers during the same incident.  I just cried in general, for all the shit they are put through.  I cried for all the evil Ahmed has seen.  I cried knowing that he bottles some of it up, I cried knowing that he must internalize that evil and that hatred.  

This world must change.  It must.  I don't know if it will, but I must retain the hope that change will come.  

I will fight, alongside Ahmed, for this world to be a just place.  A place where school kids don't need an armed military escort to get to school, where people don't have to travel an extra two hours by donkey to avoid being attacked by Zionist thugs, we'll fight for a world where people are granted dignity, decency, and respect based of their humanness, not on their ethnicity.  

Racism, injustice, and oppression are breathing their last breaths.  Their sun is setting. Inshallah.    

1 comment:

brit said...

Thank you for sharing this, Sam...