i thought working on gardens, putting hand to earth, learning what it looks like to green and grow would heal me. but then there were those times there wasn’t enough water. and then there were those times the water was too much. and the mint in the shade grew bigger and fuller than the mint in the sun because would you look at that, the mint prefers the shade. and who knew sometimes the sun can be a bit too bright. take a bit too much out of us. in Cyprus whose little green and purple things with the orange lining are weeds but here in Palestine I learned they have the highest concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids of any living thing in the world. and maybe things are only weeds sometimes in some places in the wrong kind of light. and we scoff and we uproot but never tested for all its promise. and i don’t know where i am going with this. i don know where i am going at all but i thought laying w these plants would heal me and its my fault for putting so much pressure on a few xylem and phloem but its okay cause these days…i’m just trying to heal myself.
habibi: do u support starbucks?
me: i dont drink coffee remember?
habibi: not for anything else?
me: well it has also been recently brought to my attention that starbucks–
habibi: supports the israeli army yes.
me: yes. i cant give my money to that.
habibi: i dont get it. how can people give money to weapons and guns and army and death?! why dont they support green and trees and life? why??! WHY??!!
maa baarif habibi. maa baarif.
a friend of mine lent me a bike to use while i am here. i named it eartha. eartha has transformed my day to day considerably.
there is this video called “the architecture of violence”. it is part of an al jazeera series on rebel architecture. this particular video explains the violence the israeli regime levies against palestinians within an architectural framework. the architect the video follows mentioned that part of controlling a people is controlling their movement. their mobility. this is done thoroghly by the israeli regime. palestinians are forced to constatnly think about how and if they can move. for example, there is only one road that connects the north of palestine to the south of palestine on which palestinians are allowed to drive. there are also the checkpoints, the hour long lines, the turnstiles that palestinaians are forced to wait through in order to move from locale to locale. conversely israelis can move through any number of highways scattered throughout both israeli A N D palestine. these high ways markedly accelerate israeli their movement through space. and it is not the acceleration through space in itself that is part the violence. it is the difference in access to mobility. it is the difference in some being allowed to accelerate and some being disallowed from accelerating.
walking, for me, in ramallah, has been quite annoying. moving from locale to locale has been a n n o y i n g. people yelling “oh my god” “choclate mami” “jamaica” “senegal” “africa” “OOOOOOHHHHHHH” “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOW” has been a n n o y i n g. and often infuriating. this bike though allows me to accelerate through space. ironically, in a way i am not supposed to. “women” arent supposed to ride bikes. that kind of movement in the public sphere is meant only for men. i am supposed to endure those looks and words. those sort of drive-by aggressions. despite the fact that I (and really more so palestinian “women”) are the ones most likely to n e e d acceleration to move quickly is meant for m e n.
really makes me wonder about the relationship between occupation and notions of emasculation…
three guys tried to interrupt my bike path the other day. they thought it was funny. idk why. what they dont know is that i will run them over.
i have been here for the past eleven days.
words i have heard a lot
military occupation, cultural occupation, martyr, death, mobility, dispossess, steal, land, burn
me: bobo. how are u feeling right now?
the day before yesterday. in bethlehem, i saw soldiers shoot at a group of young boys throwing rocks at the wall. we watched the sniper take aim for about twenty minutes. the gate opened and all of the boys started sprinting away. a shot rung in the air. one got in the leg. he couldnt run when about nine israeli soldiers rushed out. he tried to hide in a building. of course they found him. of course. we watched as they carried him back behind the wall. bobo said he will probably be in jail for six months to a year. for throwing rocks you can actually get up to 20 years in prison. he looked no older than 15. we were about 20 feet away from it all. we watched. we recorded it on video. then we went to get lunch.
went to a protest in bilin yesterday. got tear gassed over and over. tear gas hurts a lot. it burns. u cant breathe. u cant see. it h u r t s. until it doesnt. and the israeli soldiers keep shooting it. they shoot a few. see where u run for cover. then shoot there as well. u go back. u move to the side. then u go forward again. shouting. scared of live bullets. of plastic bullets. of the grenades. but more scared of being a voyeur. of being there but not being t h e r e for the people who HAVE TO BE THERE. i was frustrated that we barely took ten steps towards the wall before the soldiers were shooting tear gas at us to disperse. i had a thought. FUNDRAISEFORGASMASKS. i then had a much more practical thought: if everyone had gas masks and kept moving forward, the soldiers would no doubt shoot live bullets. they do that anyway. even without gas masks. they have no qualms about letting you know that the illusion of safety the illusion of security the illusion of normalcy for israeli settlers, those smug and smiling sitting behind the wall, is far more important than palestinian l i f e.
after the protest, we took a tour of bili. it was really informative. palestine made so many compromises, gave up so much land because they thought it would mean peace w israel. but even with the oslo peace agreement. israel continues to illegally (according to international law) steal land from palestinians. and build whole settlements (like small cities) and military bases. and doesnt allow palestinians to dig for water. or build on their own land. like the land that israel hasnt stolen (yet) they wont allow palestinians to dig for water. imagine. and the settlers burn palestinian olive trees. and the military follows these settlers to make sure they dont get attacked. in the past 20 years it is estimated that settlers have burned about 200,000 olive trees. olive trees are what tie palestinians to their land. its not just about the economics. olive trees are part of Palestinian cultural fabric. they feel a connection to the land as deep as the roots of the olive tree. and settlers burn them. its nothing less than sociopathic.
i am going to try and see if i can work with this org i just learned about called the jordan valley solidarity org based in the jordan valley. they are committed to non violent resistance and an end to the occupation. ironically, being here has made me more committed to violent resistance than i have ever been in my entire life. the only way israel will start doing a n y t h i n g is if shit/people start getting blown up. Israel has no conscience. none. but of COURSE i will give my energy to the communities here and the people here who are struggling and resisting in the ways that make the most sense to them. until i cant anymore. until the cognitive dissonance is too great.
nothing i am saying is new. palestinians have been saying all of this, calling, begging for help losing land, dying since 1948. and too RESISTING CHALLENGING AND FIGHTING BACK since 1948. i am just sharing my experiences and my engagements w the occupation. i will post more resources for all of us trying to learn more, be better, do better.
saying goodbye to sasha wasnt hard. we smiled. we laughed. we remembered. we know we will see each other again.
TILL NEXT TIME BBY ❤ ❤
palestine tomorrow marn.
hard for me to let go that one of the people attacking me in the street over this boy who called me “maimon” was a black british woman. its really really hard for me to let that go.
i dont really go outside much. outside is where everyone else is. where the eyes are. where the words are. where the pointing and the laughing is. and i dont like feeling ashamed for not going outside much. its like this paranoia that wont leave me. oh its rest day what are u doing? oh nothing i dont really wanna go anywhere. but like u just got here u should go and see the city. oh no i feel weird. i am anxious and worried. but u havent even been out u dont know that this place is like the other places uve been to. so i look paranoid. and so i go out. but dont meet many eyes. ignoe the glances. ignore the smirks. start to feel safe. start to feel like i was overreacting. then something happens (something always happens) and i remember I FUCKING KNOW MYSELF AND MY LIFE AND ANTI BLACKNESS IS NOT A FUCKING FEELING OR IDEA ITS AN ACTUAL GLOBAL PHENOMENON BITCH. AND I DONT NEED TO FUCKING GO OUT INTO THE CITY TO KNOW WHAT I WILL FIND. I DONT KNOW IF JESUS DIED ON A FUCKING CROSS. IF THERE WAS A CROSS. IF THERE WAS A THIRD DAY BUT I DO KNOW FOR A FACT ANTI BLACKNESS WILL MEET ME EVERYWHERE I GO. I TRUST THAT. AND I TRUST ME. SO I WILL NOT BE SHAMED INTO LEAVING THE COMFORT OF MY CHAIR. AND MY LAPTOP. AND CYBER SPACE. WHERE MY AFFIRMING COMMUNITY IS. OR KINDLE BOOKS WITH POST APOCOLYPTIC NARRATIVES WHERE PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE ME ARE POWERFUL. ARE SORCERERS AND LOVE WOMYN AND FUCK WHO THEY WANT AND FUCK UP WHO THEY NEED. AND WORSHIP THE GODS INSIDE THEMSELVES. U CANT, FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN BODY, MAKE ME LEAVE THIS SANCTUARY. I WILL STAY. AND I WILL BE HAPPY. AND I WILL NOT BE ASHAMED.
-a note to myself and to u. fucking all of u.
my paranoia is v v supported by real life facts. the risk in “checking things out in this new place” feels so high. i have been assaulted, physically assualted four of the five times i have been to turkey. four of five. people say mean things to me all the time on the streets. little kids have called me monkey like i was ringleader for fucking barnum and bailey. and then there is the staring. people stare and stare and stare. the stares are punctuated only by intermittent bouts of laughter and “omg look at thats”. or at least thats what i imagine they are saying. words that cause groups of three/four/five/ten to turn around and together continue. staring. where two eyes turn to twenty. ud think i was fucking houdini out here. but IIIIIIM crazy. i mean i am. i really am. and i really AM paranoid. thats the pathology of this. i really really do believe everyone is looking at me. even if they are not. i really do believe that people are being racist. but is that so wrong? considering the history of the entire world wouldnt it make so much more sense for me to believe that peoples words are coming from a place of white supremacy/global imperalism than…anything…else? why do people get so worked up about that? and by people i obvi mean white people. wouldnt u rather i believe u are speaking from a place of socialized oppression than like…personal malice anyway? i thought thats what white people were always defending? “IM NOT RACIST. IM A GOOD PERSON!!” incorrectly equating racist w bad person. i am pulling that apart by saying they are two separate things. exactly!! u r a good person!! now let ur words and actions reflect that. im paranoid cause im vigilant. im vigilant because i have to be. because u will hurt me. u always do.
i hate outside. i left my home, my city, my state, just to stay inside this here place all day. i hate that things have made me like this. but i know who i am. i know what i can take. and i know the outside is not always gonna be a part of it. its hard to deal w but i am making my peace.
writing is cathartic