Monday, November 7, 2011

I picked these snippets off Mondoweiss.

At 7:30 am the Tahrir was interrogated, via radio, by the Israeli Navy. The ships were approximately 48 nautical miles off the coastline, well into international waters. Asked by the Israeli Navy for their destination, Canadian activist Ehab Lotayef replied, "The conscience of humanity." When they repeated the question, asking for final destination, Lotayef said, "The betterment of mankind."

US to Gaza website

Medea Benjamin, said that representatives of 12 countries are now meeting in Turkey with an eye to sending more flotillas to Gaza as well as challenging the Israeli blockade by other means.
The countries represented include Germany, France, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Malaysia, the U.S., and Palestine. The group will, she said, "continue to challenge the blockade by sending boats." But they will also pursue other methods of bringing the blockade to international attention.

By the Way, Freedom Waves is such a sweet name for the Flotilla movement. Freedom is coming in waves, on the waves, and it's waving at Gaza...genius!

I didn't sleep much last night. I need to stop drinking coffee before bed. So I slept in until 9:30, and had to book it to Ramallah, and Bil'in. The first thought in my head after waking up was, "I never regret going to the demo. Get uuuuuup." It's like I have just enough energy to weigh the pros and cons of sleeping through whatever it is, and all I can muster is, "I never regret it."

And I didn't. The demonstration lasted longer than usual, and there was a really good vibe about it. People didn't scatter at the first round of gas. Some of the shebab pulled at the barbed wire fence and threw stones over the wall, but the gas was directed at them, and everyone else was able to re-locate upwind and maintain their position upfront. A lot of jokes, a lot of shouting at the soldiers and settlers, a lot of "shame on you's." In my opinion, that gets to the heart of it. We're not there to make the settlers think that we could storm the wall and hurt them. We're there to oppose the normalization of the settlement. After some fringe-gassing and a lot of standing around, the demo ended very calmly and quietly. I did an interview with Palestine News Network, and I met some really awesome people afterwards, including a Palestinian American working for an org back home (I believe it's the Institute for Middle East Understanding) and he told me that his team could help me get set up if I was interested in writing an op-ed for newspapers back home. Now that's an intriguing thought....we exchanged info.

And there was a small group of social workers from Britain who were interested in connecting Palestinian social workers with British and Norwegian groups, and someday the World Federation of Social Workers.

Here's what Dave told me in the Popular Committee office, over juice and coffee and chocolate wafers:

"I just can't get over the warmth here. I wish I could bottle it up, and take it out whenever I'm having a bad meeting, then I'll be like, alright, I'm ready to go..."

They were a sweet group.

Here's the report from today:

Waves of freedom
Dozens of demonstrators tear-gassed in the village of Bil'in west of Ramallah.

Dozens of demonstrators suffered from asphyxiation in the weekly march organized by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil'in this Friday. Present at the demonstration was a Norwegian delegation from the Palestinian Cultural Exchange Foundation and dozens of Palestinians and international and Israeli peace activists.
The march began after Friday prayers, heading from the center of the village to the land that was liberated after the separation fence was dismantled in June. Participants raised Palestinian flags and a banner reading Waves of Freedom, in honor of the Irish and Canadian ships heading to Gaza to break the siege. The demonstration also commemorated the signing of the Balfour Declaration on November 2nd, 1917. They shouted patriotic slogans calling for the departure of the occupation, destruction of the apartheid wall, freedom and rights for Palestinian prisoners, and an end to the siege on the Gaza Strip.
Upon their arrival to the Abu Lemon nature reserve, some local participants were able to remove some of the barbed wire and iron posts that surround the wall. The demonstration continued for some time, during which some local participants threw stones over the wall. The soldiers behind the concrete wall shot tear gas canisters at these participants, as well as journalists and international witnesses.

I'm in Luban Alsharqia tonight with the Daragmeh's. We ate a huge feast of Gidri (pictures to come) and I danced dabke with the sisters until I ready to pass out. I heard a really catchy Fairooz song that I want to find. Moheeb told me that Arabs love Fairooz in the morning. It's like waking up and craving something sweet, and that something is Fairooz. I asked the sisters, "you like Fairooz in the morning?" Yes, they replied. Fairooz in the morning. I think that's beautiful. I need to locate a Best Of CD and begin my music education.

Tomorrow the Muslims fast for the day, then Eid Al-Adha begins. I'd love to see how the Daragmeh's celebrate Eid Al-Adha, and the offer is on the table (is it ever...), but