At the lake in Sjovik, Sweden
I get up too early for my talk about popular resistance in Palestine. I could not sleep well. I kept thinking about the upcoming demonstrations Today (Sunday) wity family and friends participating. How many will be killed and how many will be injured. Only later in the day will I find that out (5 murdered, many injured, several friends arrested). But for this Sunday, I am sadly not with them. I am here at 7 AM walking around a lake, thinking and anticipating and then lecturing to 100+ Swedish activists. Intricate pattern of the ripples on the surface of the water in the early morning light contrast with the Tsunami of thoughts running through my mind. The green carpeted forest is punctuated occasionally by hues of purple and yellow flowers. But my mind has images of walls, barbed wires, uniforms of border police, young faces gathering bfore the demonstration in anticipation of tear gas, rubber coated bullets, and dum-dum bullets. Some 20 ducklings in two groups are faithfully following their parents in an orderly march on the surface of the lake. But it is the march of young students 6-20 year olds haphazard and zigzagged down the hill in Al-Walaja that I am thinking of.
I close my eyes to take in the sounds. Gentle sounds of water bobbing on a stone near me. Silence outside but my mind recalls the deafening thuds of stun grenades, the volleys of tear gas canisters, loud piercing noise of the Israeli jeeps. A bird chirps on a pine tree calling for love then falls silent. My brain replays conversations with Israeli apartheid soldiers and with Palestinians anxious for their abducted loved ones. A bumble bee lands and takes off near me; the buzz of its wings seem more majestic than the lake’s feeble whispers. Then it is gone. I recall large angry flies in holding cells and on the bridge to Jordan. I feel and smell the fresh clean air occasionally scented with a whiff of Pine oils, dashed with a tiny pungent leaf of aromatic plant. I even catch a whiff of burned wood. A nice smell actually as a young Homo sapience starts a wood fire to cook a meal. But again our memories interfere with our senses. My mind gives me the smell of tear gas, human urine, sweat, and pepper spray. I reach down and pick a handful of decomposing leaves and soil. Sadness, death and rebirth, pain, beauty, and struggle form a complex of art that I do not understand. Maybe it is my lot in life.. or maybe it is life..
After breakfast, we talk about history and direction of popular resistance but my mind is still back home. In the coffee break I check the email and the news. Yes, many killed, many injured in the global uprising that is beginning to pick-up steam. An email from an aunt of Munib Al-Masri, severely injured in the May 15 peaceful demonstrations (see copy below). I did not know Munib himself but I know many of his relatives. But now we have little time to think. Back to the conference and recruiting Swedes to join the July 8-16 actions (see PalestineJN.org). Lots of interest and really good decent concerned people. My spirits are lifted. Life goes on. Someday I hope to return to this beautiful country just to enjoy nature without the intrusion of symptoms of apartheid. Maybe even to celebrate and show off two pieces of torn walls, the one I acquired in Berlin and one from the larger wall that will tumble in Palestine InshaAllah very soon. Stay tuned. Stay human.
Letter from Munib’s aunt
Dear Family and Friends:
As some of you may know our 23 year-old nephew Munib Masri II was shot in the back by an Israeli soldier last Sunday in Southern Lebanon during a peaceful demonstration to commemorate the Nakba of 1948. He is miraculously alive, and has undergone multiple surgeries and had his left kidney and spleen removed. He is still in intensive care - it is going to be a long road to full recovery, but we are hopeful.
In Lebanon there have been 12 killed, and 112 wounded. Our thoughts are with them and their families as well.
The bullet was a dumdum bullet, which is designed to enter the body and splinter into multiple lethal fragments. It took a 7-hour surgery just to clean out the debris, gunpowder, and shrapnel that was left behind by the bullet. This was after the lifesaving surgery done in a tiny government hospital in a village in south Lebanon. The mood was of excitement and hope. He was part of a bus full of College friends, dressed in a polo shirt and jeans, they were laughing and stopping for coffees on the way.
What happened in 1948 is called The Catastrophe, but every day since has brought us fresh catastrophes. Munib is not the first unarmed civilian to be hit by soldiers. But, if we work towards it, he could be the last.
If you could forward this on to anyone you know who would like to help place an article, write a feature, or do an interview it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support.
Here is a link to Friends of Munib Face Book Page