>So, this is one of the things I really love about blogging. There’s such a sense of community. There are awesome people you meet. Seeing the bloggers come together and try to keep consciousness of the plight of Fouad Al-Farhan points out what’s so special about this blogging community. They care about some guy they’ve never met in another country. They care enough to mark the days of his incarceration. They care enough to talk and talk and talk, which is, after all, what blogging really is.
And so, today is Blog About Human Rights day and Blog About Palestine day. How exceptionally appropriate that those two fall on the same day.
I remember about 15 years ago, I heard Hanan Ashrawi on Larry King Live. This was shortly after the Oslo Accord had been signed. In response to one of Larry’s questions, Hanan said of Israel, “just because it’s state-sponsored doesn’t mean it’s not terrorism.” I personally mourn the fact that Hanan’s voice has been very quiet since the Palestinian state was formed. She was a calm voice of reason, well-spoken, and, frankly, female. Women find it easier to trust and understand other women…
I also remember on my first visit to Jordan nearly 13 years ago now the thing that made the biggest impression on me was a trip to Baka’a refugee camp outside Amman. I blogged about it almost exactly 2 years ago. I have hard time not crying every time I think of the folks who live there. As I remarked two years ago, Baka’a residents are “in transit”. I had the saddest conversation about this the other day when talking about the new road the government is building.
(The last time El 3atal and I went through we had to take a huge detour around the camp because they’re constructing an elevated roadway through the camp. In some ways, that’s kind of appropriate, hunh? These people who spend their time waiting and waiting to go home get to watch outsiders speed by on their way home or to their farm for a “break”. When do the people of Baka’a get a break?)
I was talking to a European guy and a Jordanian gal about the new road and it was so clear to me that the Jordanian had no understanding of these people. Now, I’m not the most sensitive American, but I get the people of Baka’a. I can imagine how heart wrenching it is to know you aren’t home. Palestine is home. Their subtle form of protest speaks to me. The visible reminder to all that they are visitors in this land is meaningful in the way that a protest in front of an embassy or office will never be. 12 years later to see the same cinder blocks holding the same corrugated tin roods on the same worn out shops is amazing. Why would I build a real house on land that isn’t mine? Really, why would I do it if it signaled to the world that I accept that I am home. Do you know, I lived in Louisiana for 8 years. I never expected to live in Alabama again, and yet, Louisiana was never home. I owned a house there, had all three of my children there, but it still wasn’t home. I guess we Southerners are like the Baka’a refugees in that way. I didn’t leave because I had to, yet I still knew that anywhere else I lived, it wouldn’t be home. So, how sad that someone who grew up here in Amman can’t see that.
For me, this is the tragedy that is Palestine. You have the people on the inside living in danger, turmoil, horrible conditions. You have the people in the camps living in danger, turmoil, horrible conditions. And all they did wrong was live on a piece of land that someone else wanted. All they did was demand rights, freedom, and RESPECT. All they asked for was basic human rights. And, so, today I join the other bloggers in uniting for human rights world-wide, for the cessation of Israeli aggression, and for the world to stand and pay attention. It is criminal that the only time most Americans think of the Palestinians is when an act of terrorism occurs. It is unforgivable that the only thing the average American knows about Palestinians is that some of them blow up planes and buses. Americans live next door to Palestinians who fear claiming their heritage, they see Palestinian culture adopted, adapted, and outright stolen by the Israelis (“Jewish Hamburger anyone? Felafel, the Jewish hamburger indeed!). And, the world would simply rather not see them.
I for one stand up for the Palestinians! I stand up for human rights! Here I am, count ME! And on this day blogging for such worthy causes, I will not remain silent, I will not talk about froofy Mom-topics. I will speak and pray and hope. I hope for my Palestinian American children’s‘ sakes that there will be a solution in their lifetime. I hope I won’t be showing their children the Baka’a camp. I sincerely hope I won’t be explaining why they have no permanent homes and such sadness in their eyes. Those are my hopes…