"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Thursday, January 18, 2007 Abbie Coburn's Palestine Journal -- Part V The fifth installment of Abbie Coburn's Palestine Journal -- emails sent back from her trip this month. Re-printed with permission.
Dear all -
Walking in the forest of Al Lajun, where the air was cool and clear, the ground padded by pine needles and fresh rain. Fields in front stretching for miles. It was the perfect place for a picnic...or a massacre.
In 1948 the Israeli army stormed the peaceful village of Al Lajun forcing the residents to take what they could and flee. Raping women, killing countless. Are you enraged yet? Should I mention them killing children, because they did that too. Will that make the story matter more?
Our companions for the day Abu Omar and Adnan were both young men in 1948 and were forced to flee to nearby Um al Fahm with their families. It's where they live to this day, waiting as the situation gets worse. Again the Israeli army is confining them, restricting their lives, taking away their humanity. They've already taken 80% of the land of Um al Fahm where countless refugees have come to over the years. It's a slower massacre this time.
And what of the land? What of the land that Adnan and Abu Omar can see on a daily basis, but never live on? Well, it still stretches for miles, but it now falls under the control of a kibbutz. They use the land for their cows to graze. (Oh, it all makes sense - of course the palestinians needed to be kicked off, otherwise the cows would go hungry!). And in 1951 Israelis forced the palestinians to plant trees on the land that was once theirs.
So, it looks like a peaceful forest that was there all along. (What palestinians? I don't see any palestinians!). And the bricks of the houses that were destroyed in '48 were made into roads that crossed the fields. So the massacre lay beneath us as we walked along stolen palestinian land.
It's calculated. These Israelis are smart. Everything is thought out. Nothing is accidental.
Driving along the highway, leaving the West Bank. The Israelis have denied access to these roads to all Palestinians so it's just us and the Israelis now. Those palestinians will have to make do with tunnels beneath the highway. Looking alongside the road there are high trees and plants all along. They seem to be blocking a small cement wall on the other side.
It's small though, only a couple feet high. Y'know why? Cause Israelis are smart like that. What I see appears to be a wall only a foot high, but from the other side, the Palestinian side, it is 30 feet high! That's what some strategic landscaping can do for national security. The Israelis don't want to be reminded that they're living in the midst of apartheid. That they are supporting apartheid. That they are creating something far graver than apartheid. So, we'll just put some pretty trees for them to look at instead.
Are you disgusted? Are you okay with this? Are you tsk-ing? Are you sighing? Are you outraged?
Stripping people of their humanity, imprisoning them on their own land, tearing apart families, having cows eat the blood of their ancestors...doing this in the name of security? I am not okay.
There's more to come. But, tonight I'm off to Ramallah for a night with a friend and the two group leaders. Our trip is done, but we can't quite seem to get enough of each other. At least there are other radicals in this world. Why must I be a radical to support humanity?
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."