Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Things that remind me of Palestine...

1) I saw this quote on a poster at my school:

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think the assumption here is that most people know there's a controversy, so the issue of where to stand is a little more in your face. A lot of people don't know why Palestine is controversial, so they aren't really standing anywhere. As such I can't always tell people "hey, this is my position." I usually have to explain what the positions are. So I'm comforted by King's message, but I still feel like an amoeba in the grand scheme of things.

I've also seen reading materials on Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement lying around the school library. I'll be going on the 7th grade trip this year--a Civil Rights Tour of the South.

2) At church yesterday, a few people came up to the podium and gave a few words about what Martin Luther King Jr.'s life meant to them. One man said that he was particularly struck by King's vision for equality not just for African Americans, but for all people. I'm going to follow through with my talk about Palestine next week. I couldn't bring myself to go to the podium because I don't have any memory of the man, but I want to tell the congregation next week that this is my contribution, my way of honoring King's work, by educating people about injustice and non-violent resistance in Palestine.

We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace someday...
Oh deep in my heart,
I do believe
That we shall overcome someday.

3)...And today was MLK Day. My fellow volunteers and I spent a few hours at Langston Hughes Elementary in Gentilly, painting murals and staining benches and helping out in the school's garden. We wore shirts with King's picture that said "Make it a Day On, Not a Day Off." After that we did some grocery shopping and a few people said they liked our shirts and the lady behind the deli smiled at me and said, "well, that's nice of you."

Lastly, Americans for Peace Now e-mailed out a petition to Hillary Clinton that asks her to support Israeli peace and human rights group as they fight to save democracy in Israel.

“On some positions cowardice asks the question, ‘is it safe?’
Expediency asks the question, ‘is it is politic?’
Vanity asks the question, ‘is it is popular?’
But conscience asks the question, ‘is it right?’

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right."