Rumblings – Let Us Pay Attention

 The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

– Rumi

For those who pray, send good vibes, fast, meditate, anyone of a faith or mere faith in humanity – Please pay attention to the upcoming visit of Obama to Israel/Palestine. There seems to be rumblings on both sides.

Can we unite together for peace?

Can we fast together for the violence and the occupation to end?

For the freedom of the Palestinians to become a reality?

For us to recognize the light in one another and bow down to each other out of loving kindness?

There are beautiful nonviolent movements that have continued to carry on on despite the firing of tear gas, bullets, and the beatings from IDF forces and settlers – these are comprised not just of Palestinians, but of Israelis, Americans, Europeans, and so on. These movements are filled with men, women, and children seeking peace, freedom and a recognition and end of the horrible atrocities that have continued since 1948.

I know this opinion, especially in the South, is not highly looked upon (quite the understatement). I’ve been labeled – anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, anti-American and ignorant.

But I have faith in peace, I have the understanding and belief that we are all interdependent of one another – that when one weeps and mourns, we weep and mourn with them.

I refuse to remain quiet or believe that I can do nothing.

My faith calls me to love both sides of any conflict. (Oh this is hard…)

My faith drives me to seek equality for all humanity – and creation.

My faith leads me to the belief that another world is possible – that upside-down kingdom where we all will join hands and rejoice in peaceful unity regardless of our difference.

Let us pay attention to this visit, to the continued struggle to Free Palestine and let us acknowledge there is something each of us can do.

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A good op-ed article in NY Times : Peaceful Protest Can Free Palestine

My Voice Will Remain Loud

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Emotions are still raw from watching “5 Broken Cameras” the Oscar nominated documentary by Palestinian filmmaker, Emad Burnat, and Guy Davidi. Please watch while it is still available on Netflix, share it with others, and if you want more information on what happened when Emad and his family landed in LAX for the Oscars, please click here.

My eyes are still swollen from the intense crying at seeing nonviolent protesters attacked, killed. Children being arrested by the IDF in the middle of the night. Fathers being ripped from their families through no fault of their own except the hope to create a better world for their children to grow up in.

The Palestinian community is resilient, steadfast, and full of heart and I only wish I had a portion of their loving kindness and sustained hope in their nonviolent resistance against the illegal occupation and the building of settlements on their cultivated land by Israel.

I was awake most of the nights reliving the images that I watched on my laptop screen. It is unsettling to acknowledge that this is their daily life – mere survival in the midst of constant denial of their human rights.

How privileged am I? How can I use this privilege to bring about change rather than sit in my safe and secure apartment thinking I can do nothing?

My voice can remain loud but soaked with kindness for both sides (admittedly this is extremely difficult for me). I have, since graduate school, stayed tightly on the side of the Palestinian movement even to the point of completely demonizing Israel and Israelis. That was and is not helpful. Peace has to include ALL people, even the ones that commit these atrocities. As Martin Luther King said only light can drive out darkness.

In my small town in Arkansas, I will shin my light and continue to engage in conversations that promote peace and freedom for Palestinians. I will encourage others to learn about the history and fully comprehend the true living conditions in Gaza and the West Bank. There is much need to dispel the stereotypes permeating the air involving any individual from the Middle East. I have hope and will celebrate even if only one person changes their views of Palestinians from “terrorists” to their “brothers and sisters.”

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

—Gandhi