10 February 2008

Supporting Palestine....

It's been 6 months since I last walked on Palestinian soil. Life here has taken over and prevented me from doing a lot of the work I had hoped or envisioned myself doing for the Palestinians. However, it has not made me forget. I miss that place. I especially miss the people there. I've spent this time processing what I learned about the history of Palestine, what I saw, what I experienced and how I want to continue my work there.

It seems that when most people return they speak primarily at local anarchist events, synagogues, churches, perhaps a Friends meeting center, and at local universities. They typically speak about the protests they attended, about being tear gassed, about the horrible violent conditions Palestinians and the human rights workers live in on a day-to-day basis, and about the effects of Israeli occupation. Most get the message out quite well.

This has led me to think about what message I most want to convey when I speak to people. While I don't think the plight of the Palestinians can ever be communicated too much, and although I experienced and witnessed these same types of events, I also experienced another side of daily Palestinian life through the eyes of children that doesn't get told too often. The children made me very proud to be a part of their lives if only for a short six weeks and in turn I want to continue to do more to help them.

Since I volunteered through Art Under Apartheid and formed a friendship with its' founder, Katie Miranda, I decided that this would be the best route for me to pursue. But how exactly will I do this? This is the next step. Katie needs art materials, so I'll be purchasing art materials and sending care packages to her. How often care packages are sent will depend on her needs, the kids' needs, and of course available funds.

We also discussed getting more volunteers to come and run classes or tutoring sessions during the "off" seasons of fall, winter and spring. Those are the times when volunteer availability is at its lowest. One volunteer has stepped up already to provide a couple of hours of English tutoring homework services for the kids.

If you have some free time, preferably 2 weeks or more, contact Katie through the AUA website and get going! If you'd like to make a financial contribution to help send supplies contact me at yogalina5@yahoo.com.

Peace & Solidarity!

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