I must share with you this image that has been running through my mind for the last six days. It happened Monday, August 1, in the West Bank village of Kfir Haris. There was a completely nonviolent demonstration remove a road block so traffic could flow freely into the village. It was also a call for Israel to end the military occupation of Palestine.
When it was declared a closed military zone, and the Israeli soldiers started firing tear gas directly into the crowd, the people who were hit with the metal canisters were injured and fell to the ground. At this point the tear gas was starting to take its toll on me. My eyes were watering up, but through the blur and through the cloud of tear gas, I could see four Palestinian villagers carrying a limp body on their shoulders. They were yelling and running to the village medical center. They were carrying a man whose ribs were broken, a 7-year-old child who was hit by a canister and a man whose jaw was shattered after being hit by a tear gas canister at close range.
I can’t get over how amazing that image is to me. I have never seen anything like that in my entire life.
The way the everyone around immedately responded to the needs of these injured people is what community is, and that is beautiful. The village doesn’t have a stretcher, but it has people. It doesn’t have an army, but it has nonviolent warriors. It doesn’t have a multi-million dollar public relations department, but it has the truth.
It is what Palestine has rather than what it does not have that will carry it through the tunnel of oppression and into the sweet spring air of a free country. It is on the shoulders of the strong that the wounded of this long battle will rest and heal. It is when the water of flows freely between the cups of everyone in this land, and when the soldiers carry not guns and anger, but rather the weight of a feast for celebration and community building that the children will not be raising their children in fear of the next stray bullet, bomb or bulldozer.
I have concluded this through my own experience in this land, and I have felt this with my own heart. I have heard through all the hurt and anger that Palestinians do want peace. But this peace, they tell me, must not come at the price of racism and military occupation. Peace truly comes on the tide of equality, economic encouragement and safety.
Israel, why do our pleas always fall on deaf ears? Is the military might clogging them? “Let my people(Palestine) go(from your grasp).”