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Finding hope

March 8, 2013

The hardest thing about this blog is getting everything down into a readable (without being boring, because it is hard when you’re detached from it) and informative post. Today I got OVERLOADED with emotions and information. There are other blogs if you’d like other people’s angles two being jasminepilbrow.wordpress.com and mirandagsp.blogspot.co.uk

So today we visited (after a ride on the aparthi-tram) Sabeel, a liberation theology pro-Palestinian Group which advocates non-violence. A lot happened but Cedar Duaibis, a 77 year old Palestinian woman and co-founder of Sabeel spoke to us for over an hour. It was one of those really good talks in terms of, you got lots of info, was interesting and insightful and felt like you had only been listening for five minutes.

When Cedar spoke about the oppression her people had gone through, you couldn’t help but empathise completely with her. Cedar was not sad because of her suffering, which as an Arab-Israeli was considrable, but at the lament of her people. Cedar

She based her work and life on four points:

— Stand up for truth and justice without picking up the sword
— Rise above the ways of the world without abandoning the poor and the oppressed
— Seek the humanity of the oppressor without losing integrity to appeasement or collarboration
— Be loyal to God, without adhering to strict and narrow religion

I think I most came out of the talk impressed by this person’s endurance. She was 12 when the 1948 Naqba happened, and she had been fighting for her people against the Israeli state ever since.

After the talk, I spoke with Cedar’s 22 year old grand daughter Jumin (I think) about how her grand mother had faced violence, oppression and tyranny and still had hope, faith and love in her heart. Jumin opened up to me about how two years ago, she was home (studying in the United States) and felt very disconnected being back in Jerusalem. Most of her friends had left because of how hard life is there under the occupation, Israeli soldiers are everywhere and she felt, in her own words “Like I didn’t belong here.” Feeling this way, she told her grandmother “I don’t think I can come back here again, I think I’ll stay in America. How can you have hope after fifty years of this and it’s getting worse?” Cedar’s response changed her life. “I have hope, not for me, but for others. If I lose hope, others will lose hope. I have to hope for my people.” Jamud decided then and there that she would return to Palestine and stay- and she has. Though she is leaving briefly again to a complete a Masters in human rights studies at London, her plan is to work for a non-violent resolution to the conflict in Palestine and not to move away. She now has hope too, not for herself, but for her people.
Cedar and her grandaughter were juxtaposed with our afternoon meeting. We had a tourIMG_0717 with Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions (ICAHD). Our tour guide was Ruth, an Anarchists Against The Wall activist.  The tour was full of information and confirms everything I thought I knew about the Israeli land grab. Basically, the laws of the State, since Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967 are all geared to kicking the Arab Palestinians out. Things like not letting Palestinians build on land to keep the “scenery” of the country side, while encouraging Jewish people to build bigger houses and form more populous areas. Below are two pictures, the first is of the skyline of West Jerusalem, in this one, you can see sky scrapers and loads of cranes.  The second is of the skyline of East Jerusalem, where you can see no real development since…..? I’ll give you a clue- roughly 1967. Now, guess which one is predominately Arab Palestinian and which one is mainly Israeli?

East JWest J

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to share Ruth’s opinion on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions(BDS) movement, which is a way protesting the Israeli occupation, mostly from outside of Palestine. One of the key ideas (the Boycott) is for individuals to use their spending power to slow the flow of money into the Israeli State. She was very keen to tell us that we need to look this up for ourselves and this is her opinion only but she had two points against BDS. Firstly, that if Israel were to suffer, by default the Palestinians, whose economies are so entwined would suffer too. Secondly, most of Israel’s income does not come from exporting food etc. it comes from the arms trade. Israel sells “crowd dispersing equipment” that is fully tested and proven to disperse crowds, or “we export oppression”. Chinese police, when they wanted to learn how to forcibly evict people from their homes came and trained with the Israeli’s. When the Occupy movement was being broken apart by the various States, they all used equipment patented by Israel. Along with tourism, this is Israel’s biggest export and Ruth believes people should be confronting the arms industry everywhere, rather than just blockading a few coffee shops. She did stress that she believed every consumer should be informed and

The wall cutting through Palestinian neighbourhoods

The wall cutting through Palestinian neighbourhoods

make good choices, but I think she was driving at the Arms Industry being the bigger threat to Palestinian peace and security.

It’s all been an overwhelming day, but speaking to Cedar and her grandaughter have left me feeling inspired. Ruth has just met and is marrying an American fellow. She has decided that she does not want to bring up any children she may have in a place where there is violence everywhere. Someone asked if she meant physical violence and she said “No, economic violence, racism, just violence in dealing even with each other- in America it feels like there is less violence and that’s where I want to go now.”

Sending you peace (can you please send some back, there is a shortage in this country- even if there may be hope).

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3 Comments
  1. Jim permalink

    Boycotting Israeli arms manufacturers… Sounds like an opportunity. Perhaps a world wide movement to pressure domestic national governments to put a ban on Israeli weapons imports. Australia uses Israeli drones….

  2. Helen Bayes permalink

    I have hope because you are there, learning, and because of wonderful people like Cedar and many others who practice non-violent resistance and peacemaking. I have hope because of organisations like CPT and Sabeel, and Defence for Children and …. oh so many others who stand up, speak out and are supported by lots of volunteers and donors. The oppression cannot last. It is being noticed by more people in more places everywhere every day. It’s just question of when will the transforming moment happen. May it happen soon and non-violently.

I would be honored if you espoused your narrative here.....

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