I am back. I am reviving the blog. I realised I lost my focus and my yearn to write about Palestine. My love and feelings for the place however, have not abated.
Since coming together with my friend Elaine and setting up Feed A Village in Palestine, I have been on a journey, I never thought I would ever undertake. I have been out to Palestine now on an annual basis and am planning my fifth visit later this year with the project.
Each time I return, I feel like I am going home. I have forged friendships there, seeing people time and time again. I have met the most generous of heart people who materialistically have very little, but they have their pride and their sumoud, their steadfastness.
I wrote a little on our visit in December 2014, but have written nothing since. I concentrated muchly on raising money for the project, and as I was absorbed into this, I was absorbed 24/7 into Palestine. I felt I was living and breathing it, posting on Facebook about fundraising activities etc, and it was almost like I didn’t need to write in my blog, as my focus had changed so much.
But fast forward to this December just gone when we were back there for 3 weeks. I had gone with the focus upon collecting stories from the Palestinians we met along the way, their lives, their hopes, their dreams. The situation on this last visit was bad. Many had been killed by the Israeli army and settlers, many Palestinian teenagers were looking for revenge and set out to stab soldiers. These were shot dead, killed outright. Along the way, innocent victims were shot, stabbed as an air of unease and paranoia spread. Checkpoints, strip searches and blockades were set up within the West Bank by the Israeli Army. We arrived as all of this was going on in full swing.
Whilst there, you almost go into auto pilot, you don’t know if you can get from A to B, you don’t know if ‘someone’ is going to think you are an ‘enemy’, ‘a traitor’. Journeys were rerouted, stopped altogether. We heard gunshot, we had journeys changed as ahead of us people had been shot dead. But this is normal life there, you just almost shrug your shoulders and carry on. This is how Palestinians live, this is their life.
It wasn’t until my return home that it hit me how shit the situation had been. I was happily driving in my car, going from place to place without a care in the world. I began to cry. I hadn’t appreciated how free I was here and how hindered I had been there. It made me sad, deeply sad, and then the reality of what we had experienced out there really hit home.
I have found it really difficult to adjust for the past couple of months. I speak to friends in Palestine often and hear what they are going through, and I feel guilty that I can only offer platitudes from here. I realised that now was the time to revive this blog and tell their stories, give them their voices, and for me to write again about things and feelings I haven’t wanted for face for a while.
I realise that this blog was born out of my naivety of my journey to the Holy Land, and seeing all I wanted to see. I realise what a journey I have taken, in a way I never thought my life would take. I feel that now is the time for me to accept the fact that I am an activist and I need to own the fact that Palestine is in my heart.
I hope that the stories that I write in the future will open your hearts too to the lives of these amazing people I have met on my journeys.