just take a look

Saturday 3 October 2009

Hopefully I’ll soon not have to spend my extra time looking for a job and be able to post more regularly on here.  Until then, I’ll continue to try and do a little bit when possible.

Today, I want to show you some seriously disturbing video from the West Bank of a night of home raids in a town know for its weekly demonstrations against the Israeli Wall, 16 September 2009.  The description from the second video is below.  Total viewing time of both videos is about 15 minutes.



Shortly after 1:30am, Israeli forces invaded Bil’in again. They raided the house of Abdullah Mahmoud Aburahma in an attempt to arrest him. However, he was not home at the time. Palestinian and international activists intervened by jumping over the wall into the garden since the soldiers had shut the gate closed. Some international activists were threatened with arrest unless they move back. The soldiers had sealed off the house while operating inside. They forced open two doors breaking the locks and destroying the doors. They trashed several rooms and beat Mohammed Khatib who had come to the rescue of Abdullah’s family. He was taken to hospital in Ramallah for treatment and returned to the village later.

Military reinforcement arrived in five Jeeps. Outside the house, one Palestinian activist, Emad Burnat, who was filming, was pushed to the ground. One soldier also broke his camera. Hamde Aburahma and other Palestinian journalists were threatened with arrest unless they stop filming. They hit Ashraf Aburahma, another activist, with the gun injuring his right hand.

The house of Abdullah’s brother, Khaled Aburahma, was raided as well, which traumatized his children that were pulled brutally out of their sleep. The invading forces said that until they find Abdullah, the entire neighborhood was theirs. They searched every room and trashed one room downstairs next to the store. They stole Palestinian flags, banners and posters used during demonstrations, and then left the house.

The invading forces exited the village around 3am without any victims.

Abdullah Aburahma called all the Human Rights organizations worldwide to help stopping the night raids in Bil’in, and to support the demonstrations against the occupation which is a legal activity


keeping up the energy

Wednesday 30 April 2008

Sometimes it’s hard to find the energy to wake up each morning and fight against injustice, and after the events of a day like today, it would be easy to give up and say, “to hell with the world.”  I won’t recount to you my entire day (at least not in this post), but I will share with you one of the unfortunate events of the day: learning that the orphanage sewing workshop, whose story I had been following closely, was last night invaded by soldierswho stole all the materials and equipment, a workshop that was used to earn money for the girls orphanage (read the story tagged above and previous stories).

In a conversation today, the enormity of the horrors of this world were all too clear, and the ease at which one might give up on a positive future were very much apparent.   But near the end of the conversation, I recalled to the group the sixth of Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s Six Principles of Nonviolence: “Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.”  Or to phrase it another why I heard, “the arch of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

I certainly feel that I couldn’t be working toward a world full of love, justice, and peace if I didn’t feel that — some day in the future — it was possibility to accomplish these things.  Many might categorize me as naive or unrealistic to think some “utopia” of a world is possible, but I say, “why not?”  There may be some kind of evil or badness is us, but I also know that there is a whole lot of love and humanity in every person out there, and we as a species need to cultivate that love and humanity in those around us.

In a world with so much out there to depress and frustrate us, we are called to avoid apathy and ignorance and to build relationships and work toward peace and justice.  It is our duty to love and to seek out ways that all around us might find that love.  We must work to break down the barriers that separate us and blind us to our commonalities and work to truly find what unites us as a common humanity.

Africa — wow!

Monday 7 April 2008

From approximately 27 March – 4 April 2008, I was in Zambia, Africa. My experiences there are far too many to put into one blog post, that’s for sure, but I thought I’d try to write a little something about my time there today and see if I want to write more another time.

I guess what I want to say is that Americans really just don’t realize that it is possible to be happy without very much “stuff.” America is a country built on materialism — don’t you agree? — and that’s pretty easily observed by traveling to (parts of) Africa and recognizing the vast contrasts between the two places. Leaving a land where some families have more cars than people to arrive in one where families have no electric or running water (and are lucky if they have a well/hand pump to obtain clean water from), I saw the stark differences of Zambia and the USA. But who was happier?

I think we could all agree there are certain basic things a person should have and that as probably requirements for finding contentment: enough food and water; a safe and protected living environment; access to sufficient medical care; shoes and clothing. Maybe you’d add some more. The point is, though, that there is no requirement of iPods or Mercedes or even televisions and computers to be happy or content, and I was able to experience that very poignantly while in Zambia. One evening we were able to have dinner and fellowship with members of one of the “villages” on the farm where we stayed. Before dinner, some of us (visitors and hosts alike) played with a soccer ball and sang songs, and we shared in conversation before eating dinner (in the dark because one of the cooks had taken too long in making her food). We were smiling and enjoying one another’s company, and I think we were all pretty happy. Most of us only spoke one language, — English or Tonga — though, so I never really got to ask, but I enjoyed my evening.

If you know me, you know I tend to live a pretty simple life. I indulge in movies and pop culture, to be sure, but I seek to live pretty simply. When I told someone I survived living in DC for only about $650 a month (including rent!), she was pretty shocked. But just because I forego the pricy food or the 64″ TV (though it’s pretty tempting) doesn’t mean I’m not happy. I think I’ve said it before, but once you have those basics covered, I really believe it’s all about the relationships and people in your life that make things worth it.

It’s truly an injustice that there are people in Zambia (and America, to be sure) who live without running water; who live without readily available resources to deal with certain medical problems they might encounter; who live with only one or two pairs of clothing and maybe nothing to wear on their feet; who lack enough food to meet their bodily needs.

What isn’t an injustice is that some people don’t have televisions or 50 shirts or cars that gulp down 10 gallons of gas to drive 150 miles. Perhaps the injustice is not that some people don’t have these things but that so many people do.