Tomorrow I go back to my work in the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani. I am incredibly excited. I am going back to *amazing* teammates, a village of incredible people, and work I love so dearly. In the months that I have been away, Tuwani has continued in its nonviolent resistance. And the village has succeeded in gaining dozens of small victories that feeds into this beautiful, replenishing cycle of nonviolent resistance --> small victories ---> life gets just a little bit better in the South Hebron Hills --> the movement for Palestinian nonviolent resistance grows, little by little. Every year, the village gains access to more land; valleys that were once perpetually declared a closed military zone by the Israeli military are now in frequent use by Palestinians. Every year, through the power of nonviolence, Palestinians gain victories over the violent Israeli settlers who are trying to force Palestinians off their land.
Of course, these victories do not come without great sacrifice, courage, and commitment. For example, Israeli settlers from Ma'on and Havot Ma'on have stolen property, shot at Palestinian flocks (wounding three. One sheep died from its wounds), and killed a donkey while shepherds were grazing their flocks on their land. (To name just a few violent incidences.)
And yet, Palestinians in At-Tuwani and the surrounding villages persist in their commitment to nonviolent resistance. For instance, less than a week after Israeli settlers killed the Palestinian donkey, the Palestinian villagers organized and successfully used the land on which the attack occurred. Instead of driving Palestinians off their land, the Israeli settler violence only strengthened Palestinian nonviolent resistance and commitment to their land.
This -- the strength of Palestinian nonviolent resistance -- is one of the many reasons why I am thrilled to be going back to Tuwani. Also, I can't wait to see the Palestinians I have missed while I was away. I am excited to play with the village children, with whatever book or toy is most taking them at the moment (last summer, the fad was spending hours paging through "Where's Waldo?"). I look forward to being in the beautiful South Hebron Hills once again, working with beautiful, amazing people.
About this Blog
"Ordinary People" is something of an intentional misnomer. I live and work with Palestinians practicing nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. They are doing things that are hardly "ordinary": committing themselves to active nonviolence and to loving their enemies -- following the commands of One who was anything but ordinary. And yet, the Palestinians with whom I work are also very ordinary -- they are not some kind of spiritual superheroes/superheroines who do things most folks can't do. They are simply ordinary people daily committing themselves to living a higher calling -- a calling of love and active nonviolence.