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Home arrow Blog arrow August 2009 arrow August 16, 2009

August 16, 2009
August 16, 2009: There is no place like home  

More about where I have just been later; for today I offer a refection I wrote during one of my 7 trips to Israel Palestine and what follows is a "docu-music-video" of Detroit MC Invincible’s song People Not Places;


That showcases some similar conditions in Israel/Palestine and the USA and how change happens-through education which leads to compassion-  feeling the suffering of another so deeply that one is compelled to do something to help alleviate it.



There's No Place Like Home

[July 18, 2007] For the past two days this committed Christian of The Beatitudes has been surrounded by and listening to Palestinian Muslims who live in the Dheisheh refugee camp; a five minute taxi ride from the Church of The Nativity in The Little Town of Bethlehem: Occupied Territory.

Over half of the 11,000 resident refugees are children under 18 enduring on less than one square kilometer of the Holy Land. On the winding narrow alleys with no names I spied a few teenage Muslim girls dressed as any typical American teenager would and most all of the young people I spoke with told me they were not into religion; but have been formed by the religious ethics taught them.


On my first day in the 100% Muslim refugee camp, my 18 year old guide through the camp was Mohammad, a member of R.R.; Refugee Rappers who stated, “When I was a child I had a dream that I would take my people; my country and fly away to another planet and another life. My homeland is Zakariyya and Telasafi [west of Hebron] and my grandfather told me that the issue is in my hand; it’s my responsibility to get out of the desert. Balfour and King Hussein, they left my people in the desert and nobody can help us to get out, except ourselves."


Mohammad raps, “Seems to people it’s hard to be what you want to be. But if I want to speak about my life I have four words; Blood, Night, Land and Hope. This means Philistine [Palestine]. Our word to all people we are here to be or not to be; Philistine [Palestine]. ”


He explained to me the imagery of the four words that represent the colors of the Palestinian flag; red, black, green and white.


On Wednesday my guide was fifteen year old Adam who volunteers his time at the IBDAA [Arabic for “to create something out of nothing”] Cultural Center http://www.ibdaa194.org  which is a grassroots organization providing social, educational and cultural programs for children, youth and women in the nearly 60 year old refugee camp.


Soft spoken and perpetually smiling Adam informed this reporter, “I was in America in November 2005 with the IBDAA dance troop. We were there for forty days and performed from California to New Hampshire. Before I went I thought all Americans were terrorists; that they were all like their government. But then I talked with Americans who disagreed with their government and learned the people of America are very different from their government.”

Co-visionaries and founders of IBDAA, Ziad Abbas stated, “I was born in Dheisheh refugee camp and I grew up in the narrow streets but through IBDAA I’m struggling not to die here.”


“IBDAA is a child’s dream born through struggle and difficulty. The dream grew up in the camp and it has become real; its shadow now reaches many areas of the world.”-Khaled Al-Saifi

IBDAA's shadow has reached to the Texas based, Palestine Children's Welfare Fund, http://www.pcwf.org/ a non-political, non-religious humanitarian non-profit organization dedicated to human rights of the people and children of Palestine who sponsored the American Christian pediatrician Dr. Don Eitzman who has donated three weeks of his life to diagnose, treat and care for the most needy children of the world living in the West Bank. “Most everywhere I have been I have seen many special needs children. Two clinics were well equipped, two moderately well, but supplies and equipment and staff are needed everywhere. I often was the only Dr. in the clinic and medicines are in short supply or not available at all. Jayous was the most like a concrete prison and almost every child needed more than I could supply. Most all the children are malnourished and too small and many were brain damaged at birth.”

On Wednesday morning this reporter sat in the waiting and pre-examining room where Tiaya, from France greets and weighs every child. Tiaya has given up all but four days of her summer vacation as a school nurse to serve at the camp because, “We must be in solidarity with them. I look for solutions; not rely on what I know.  For what must be requires thinking creatively.”

Every mother who brought a child in while this reporter was present dressed in the typical dress of a Palestinian Muslim; scarf on the head and long coat like dress, except for the western looking and effervescent Wijdan, who spoke no English but told me through my guide and interpreter Adam, “I have American friends, my cousin is married to an American and when they come here, they stay in the camp...The situation is very bad with the American government and their complete support of Israel but not Palestine. The children in the camps suffer many psychological problems, there is no place to play, no parks, no green areas and they all want to play with guns. My first son was six during the first intifada and the Israeli soldiers would come into the camp and terrorize us. They would just come right into our home and during the second intifada my next baby grew up. Now my Natalie is almost one and a half and all I want is for her to grow up in peace and that we all could return to my home village of Zakariyaa. Zakariyaa is home, this is a refugee camp.”

Everyone of the woman I spoke with were open and warm and laughter filled the room when I asked what they thought of America and Americans. Everyone agreed most American people were better than the American government except for one dissenter who claimed, “Eighty percent of Americans don’t know that Bush has no brains and no heart! Bush made a very big problem in the world in Iraq! We just want our freedom, I don’t care about politics! The Zionists stole our land, our trees, our homes and I just want to return to my homeland in Zakariyaa.”

On  December 11, 1948 The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194 in regards to the situation in Palestine and requested the “Commission begin its functions at once” and called “upon the Governments and authorities concerned…to seek…a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them” and to resolve “that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible [and that] repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation” be made.


If you are unable to open the video, please visit it here:

 

http://mondoweiss.net/2009/08/invincible-you-cant-disconnect-a-people-from-the-importance-of-place.html





 
   
 
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