Thursday, February 28, 2008

i didn't write this, but i read it

I came across this article on the Colorlines blog...titled, here (at the link) "Queer Dead and Nobody Cares," but it drew my attention because the Colorlines headline is "Black Queer Hate Crimes Ignored" (not sure why they use the term 'crimes,' rather than violence, since "crime" lets the State define it...maybe because 'crime' sounds more extreme...hmm, what does it mean that 'crime' (defined by the state, often arbitrary, includes non-violent drug abuses as well as self defense, etc) sounds more 'extreme' and even 'threatening' than violence which is, well...violent. this sounds likea good topic for a future post...but i don't want to do it now, because i want you to click on this link and read this article instead):

Monday, February 25, 2008

last night's nightmare

Last night I had a nightmare:

It was set in some university classroom.

The Cast of Characters: me, some white-male-zionist professor, this dude i knew in college freshman year, a friend i grew up with, and a bunch of other students that i'm pretty sure weren't based on anyone from real life.

The Basic Script of the nightmare goes...

nightmare-zionist-prof: ramblerambleramble offensivezionistcomment ramblerambleramble equationofjudaismwithzionism rambleramble.
me: attempt at revolutionary anti-zionist palestine liberation statement and statement about how he is wrong
nightmare-zionist-prof: blatant attempt to silence dissent
me: blatant attempt to tell him and everyone else that he's trying to silence dissent
nightmare-zionist-prof: really obnoxious statement about how students are young, and should not have opinions because we will soon get old and cynical
me: something along the lines of "you're supposed to be trying to empower students not silence us" but that sounded a little less rhetoric-y and also less articulate (you'd think i could be more articulate in my dreams...i mean they're dreams...)

Okay except the other detail I'm leaving out is that every time i spoke, my voice got really quiet, like someone was observing the scene and turning down my volume. AND every time i spoke, everyone else's voices - all the chatter and background sound- got way louder. So I couldn't be heard.

So okay my analysis:
we had the professor who was blatantly trying to silence dissent
and then we had the existence of this unidentifiable force that was also trying to silence dissent, and that wasn't letting me challenge the professor effectively on what he was doing...

so there are those who blatantly try to silence dissent around zionism and also a larger force that sometimes feels very intangible that's doing the same? brilliant observation, right...?
hey, i never said my dreams were deep. just hella frustrating! and totally the type of thing that would've happened in real fact, if you just scroll down a few posts, back to my college days....yeah.

i say "silence dissent" rather than "silence me" because that's what it felt like - and because i did go to sleep very frustrated with certain other people who seem to want to silence dissent around zionism and aren't willing to own up to that fact....
again...i never said my dreams were deep.
i tend to have the deep, meaningful, analytical/metaphorical/symbolic thoughts when i'm awake. my dreams, unless they're reallyreally significant, are pretty straightforward most of the time. it's good, because that way when they aren't, i know i need to really focus on them.
this one i don't need to focus on.
just complain about in a blog.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


"like it wasn't enough they are stealing your land, they had to also steal your things," i typed into the "g-chat" box on the corner of my screen.

like it wasnt enough they are stealing your land.
they had to steal your things.

i repeat this to myself.

they are setting up a youth center in al xhaleel- more specifically in tel rumeida. you can find information about tel rumeida in past entries of this blog, because it's where i spent most of my time when i was in palestine last winter. the short version: tel rumeida is the "borderlands" of al xhaleel and the surrounding, encroaching settlements. it’s the borderlands of hebron (indigenous, arab) and "hebron" (settlers, jewish, colonized)…
part of hebron is officially under palestinian control- now don't get me wrong- it's still occupied, it's still got checkpoints, it's still got soldiers, and it still gets attacked. but palestinians have some rights like, you know, um…driving cars. being there. rights like that. then there's the other section that's under 'israeli' control – that's where the settlements are. except this piece of tell rumeida, where palestinians live. there they don't get to drive cars. they don't get to have guests who are from the other area of hebron. they are subject to constant searches and checks for "id" and they need to pass a checkpoint to get anywhere…there are roads they cannot walk on because they are 'settler' roads…etc. here, in this part of tel rumeida, they are building a youth center. and they are re-building and re-building and re-building this youth center because the settlers keep destroying it!
the youth center hosts a summer program and some really awesome dedicated folks in palestine (with some international help) are developing more year round programs for young people. all of it is very exciting. except for when it's very depressing:
F: but today we went to issa's house to make a demo about gaza
but we found that the settler break the house and stole alot of stuff from the inside"

me: i don't understand how people can do things like that. like it wasn't enough they are stealing your land
they had to also steal your things.


It is at times like this that my blood boils in shame and rebellion…
because their blood, the settlers blood, it is somehow related to mine…
and that makes me nauseous.

and because this youth center is a space for resistance. it needs to exist. it is just beginning to exist. it needs to keep existing. like palestine needs to keep existing. it all needs to keep existing. it all will keep existing. it will.

me: these things make me so angry.
you are so strong to keep on fighting it.
F: well
hamdellah we r strong

yes. hamdellah you are strong.
i wish we were all so strong. because if we were then maybe it could move beyond survival, towards liberation. maybe. if we were all so strong. i'm even not sure who i mean by "we."

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm looking at images of phoenixes now, on google...amazing the ways we will use what we have to search for hope...sometimes quite literally!
If only I could find a way to accompany these images of phoenixes (I have such a fascination with is SO revolutionarily beautiful that they rise up from the flames and/or the ashes to create something far more exquisite) with the sound of the ocean, the scent of sage and lavendar, the feel of sunlight on my back and cool water on my toes…
sounds like i should go to the beach (and bring some sage and lavendar)…
but instead, i'll try again to ground myself in the space that i'm in.
healing is hard work. it is so much easier to run from the past, feel comfortable with disjointed memories and missing pieces of the story, call fear "anger," and just run, run away. not that anger isn't a valid emotion; but it usually doesn't travel alone…it has a necessary accompaniment…fear…sometimes politics…outrage…etc.
i keep reminding myself to breathe. my breath tends to get shallow when i get nervous, and it's only when i give it my full attention that i realize i'm barely inhaling…
breathe…. deep... breathe….
because somewhere in this air, there is hope and resilience.
and this is the oxygen we need to go on living.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

total eclipse

tonight was a complete lunar eclipse...seen in the Americas, in Europe, & in Africa, according to some website I read. in a lunar eclipse, the earth's shadow travels over the moon's surface, so the earth blocks the sun's rays from hitting the moon. for this to happen, the earth, the moon, and the sun must all be perfectly aligned.

Hours prior to the eclipse- which, by the way, I had no idea about at the time- I began to feel like time was being slightly shuffled about. I faced this onslaught of emotions I thought were long gone, about issues I thought were not on my least not really. From this, I felt inexplicable anxiety...As I sat curled around a pillow, wondering what was going on, my mother knocked on the door (of my bedroom in her house, where I am at the moment), and said to me "Come see the eclipse."


Initially I glanced out the window, and saw the moon, which was fading, but not into darkness; it was fading into another shade of light, one that was reddish-brown and almost glittery. Apparently, that is the dust that generally curves towards the moon during an eclipse, and can be a variety of colors, depending on what is around the moon at that time. Overwhelmed with a desire to be closer such a magical experience, and with more-than-a-little hope that if I connected with this eclipse, which had, seemingly, caused the previously inexplicable anxiety and anger, the eclipse would, maybe, pull me out of that space...or at least give me some perspective on it. I wrapped myself in a coat, a scarf, a hat, and a blanket, and walked outside to sit and watch the sky. I watched the land as well; the trees at least. They were bright beneath the fading light of the moon and the glow of the red dust. The branches looked like they were dark black and shining white at the same time. In addition, I marveled for a moment at the way in which each branch held its self so solidly, like it was so sure of itself and its right to be in that shape, no matter what gust of wind blew it in other directions, it held so strong to what it was. The glowing absence of a moon made me feel small, but also strong, insignificant, but also spiritual. It felt like certain worlds were merging. Take that as you will...metaphor or reality...I think it can be read as either. But it felt like whatever boundaries generally regulate things like time and space were lessened, blurring a little.

When I looked up lunar eclipses on "google" I found a few things, first, one sentence I wished I'd read prior to my anxiety attacks earlier today:
"Pay attention to detail on this day and be open to sacred time versus linear time, so you can minimize frustration. "

Some other things I found:

"This moon will assist you to get in touch with your deeper self, your wisdom and the feelings that desire to be acknowledged, honored and respected. Expect to experience some releases emotionally as this eclipse supports clearing and detoxifying mental, emotional and physical issues in support of body, mind and spirit aligning with and embodying more of your soul's Light."

"Many are apt to experience heightened awareness as it pertains to identifying flaws in thinking or within a certain system within their lives. Through taking an inventory at this time you can apply your wisdom practically in support of navigating more consciously through some issue within your life."

Maybe this will apply to other peoples' lives as well...

I feel slightly obligated to write an "apology" now, in which I explain that I know maybe it's silly for me to talk about the moon like it's something spiritual, followed by a reassurance that my politics are the same as they always were. I'm going to resist that urge. I'm not going to apologize for this post. if you take it as nothing else, take it as a metaphor, and a chance to reflect...what does it mean when a shadow of the reality we know most intimately travels over another surface, making that other, smaller surface become hidden for a moment. what does it mean that that surface is never really hidden, but instead becomes a reflection of the dust particles around it - and those dust particles are a direct result of what has recently occurred in that location- the red is usually from some kind of volcanic explosion. what does it mean that after this shadow attempts for a moment, to vanish the smaller surface from our sight, the smaller surface (that's the moon, in case you're no longer following) shines brighter than it did before...or at least, it looks that way.
You see?
Everything is a metaphor.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

bridging blogs

In the spirit of reconciliation and healing, I think it's time to reconcile my two, this is a link to my "personal" blog, which, due to the hazy 'boundary' between 'the personal' and 'the political,' which many times is not a boundary at all, is mostly about the organizing i've done in the united states...while this blog, previously, was about my time in Palestine.

I decided to combine the blogs today, when reading this article at NarcoNews: Nogales Residents Say US is Building Border Wall on Mexico's Land
and this report about indigenous self determination in the Americas

I thought, "why separate my experiences challenging one apartheid state from my experiences challenging another?"
and of course, not only is it all connected, but a great deal of the work is actually challenging both- take, for example, Adalah-NY's campaign against Lev Leviev, israeli billionaire who is (1) building settlements in the west bank, (2) building settlements- um, er, i mean, "developing" in low-income communities in Brooklyn, and (3) involved in some other shady dealings in Angola ALL of which you can learn more about here:

So, please see my other blog here for what you may have missed (if anyone even reads this blog anymore...) and keep reading this one for new posts...