Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day Four: My head is spinning

Today will be a short post, I'm tired, we have an early start and I'm not sure what or how I'm really feeling...

Tho day started with an introduction to Non-Violence training from the Holy Land Trust, the group coordinating our visit this side. It was so inspiring to hear how people who are facing such injustice can remain non-violent.

We then headed out to Al-Walaja, a Palestinian village with a special meaning for Nive, our trip leader, which will be explained later. Malwan, our guide, showed us around the area, taking us to a house which is soon to be in the wrong side of the Wall. To solve this, the Israeli government is spending $1.5m to enclose the house with an electric face and build a tunnel under the Wall, gated and then only the residents of the house will be allowed through. No guests, no family. It seems crazy that a small plot of land is worth $1.5m of 'security'.

Then we were taken to a house which had been rebuilt, following the family's previous house being demolished. Nive helped with the rebuild, as had Malwan. He told us the story the family, and how the works people did there was worth more than a prayer in a mosque.

Malwan left us (as he wasn't permitted through the checkpoint) and we made our way to meet Amra in Ramallah. She works with the PMRC (Palestinian Medical Relief Society). She gave us a presentation on how she sees the situation here, giving us so much more to think about. She spoke of the disunity of Palestine, the issues with the Palestinian Authority, and spoke to us about the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement.

She then took us into Ramallah, to see Yasser Arafat's tomb, then to a tent which had been set up in solidarity with 2500 Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike, demanding a respecting of basic rights such as family visits and against the use of solitary confinement. Two of the hunger strikers have had nothing to eat for 74 days so far! Being in this tent, surrounded by activists highlighted that this isn't a holiday. It is an experience no normal holiday would ever allow. It also made me realise how safe I felt. While being in Palestine, I have felt safer walking through the streets than I often do at home, which doesn't fit with the image often portrayed of a violent land. I have also seen a Pizza Hut about to open and recruiting. I think I might ask for a transfer!

We had a time to unload, reflex and , in some cases, cry this evening, which was very much needed. We then headed to a local bar and had a bottle or two of the local beer, Taybe Gold, and got that normal bar snack, carrot and cucumber! It was a lovely evening of true bonding.

Now it's bed time, we have an early morning visiting an Israeli Settlement, with an Israeli Jew guide, which will be very interesting. We'll then head to Hebron before sleeping at the Tent of Nations. I am very unlikely to have wifi tomorrow, so I apologise now for the lack of blog tomorrow.

Hopefully I will sleep, my head is spinning (with everything we have experienced, not the beers).

God bless!

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