I have been invited to share some stories of my time in Palestine. I have been going backwards and forwards to Hebron for the last 4 years. Initially I went with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Then I met my wife Arwa under an olive tree. We got married and rented our own house in the Old City. Now when we go back we stay with her family. We were in Hebron last summer for 2 months and plan to be back there this summer again, God willing.
Photo credit: Giuseppe Onori, Handala
I love Hebron and specifically Tel Rumeida. The people there have always made me very welcome. I learn a lot from them about endurance, patience and resistance in very difficult circumstances. I find it easier to be close to God when I am there. Praying in the mosque 5 times a day enbles me to keep my sanity in an insane situation. Jewish settlers continually throw stones at children, attack their neighbours' houses, smash windows, harrass families, burn ancient olive trees and generally try to force Palestinians to move away. Israeli police and soldiers protect them and sometimes help them.
Settlers moved in across the road from Arwa's family in 1984. Soldiers came to protect them and set up their barracks on our family land between her 4 uncles houses. The family cannot use their front entrance or walk up their street at all. No Palestinian can drive in Tel Rumeida, not even ambulances sometimes. To get to shops or school you have to go through 3 checkpoints and carry all shopping by hand through the metal detector and up the steep hill.
For more stories and photos check out my own blog
For videos see www.youtube.com
or Hebron Voices
Hebron Voices is the project I am currently involved in. The idea is to let local Palestinians tell their own stories. I filmed a lot of interviews last summer and hope to continue this summer. People give me donations and I give out DVD's free to anyone who will watch them. Contact me if you want copies.
Do come along to our Film and Falafel Night on Thursday 24th Feb at 7.30 at Christ Church, Pitsmoor Rd (and Nottingham St.) Arwa, the "Queen of Falafel" will be cooking her wonderful Palestinian food and I will show "Price-Tag Policy", a 22 min film about the setting up af a new illegal settlement near Hebron and all the violence against Palestinians that accompanies that. After the film we will discuss the impact of settlements on the "peace process".
Contact me if you have any questions or if you would like us to come speak to a group or school class.
God bless you. Thanks for your help in listening to Palestinian stories and sharing them with others.
In peace and hope,