Recently, my teammate Jan and I were accompanying some Palestinian shepherds from the village of Tuba, one of the many villages in the area committed to nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation. The shepherds were a man and his nephew; I’ll call the man Samoud, which means “steadfastness,” because that is what he embodies.
Samoud, his nephew, Jan, and I were eating a picnic lunch when an Israeli settler security guard from Ma’on settlement appeared on a nearby hilltop, along with Israeli soldiers. Jan and I prepared for “action”, dropping our food and grabbing our video cameras and binoculars.
Samoud, however, reclining on a nearby rock, was entirely unperturbed. He told us to stop. “Eat,” he said, “and then maybe video them.”
While the settler security guard and the soldiers looked at Samoud, his nephew, and us through their binoculars, we continued our picnic. Samoud was not about to be intimidated by these men, their guns, and the state legitimizing their violence. In fact, it was not even worth interrupting his lunch.
Such an attitude typifies resistance here in the South Hebron Hills; Palestinians know they are stronger than the Israeli occupation, and they prioritize their lives accordingly. Are Israeli soldiers in the village? Fine – finish drinking tea, and then go meet them. Are Israeli authorities attempting to intimidate Palestinians off Palestinian land? It will not work. Palestinians will stay, and eat lunch on their land as an act of resistance instead.
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.