Follow your heart (and part of mine is in Nabi Saleh)

My return to Palestine 30th March 2013, Good Friday!

‘Eat, eat, you are in Nabi Saleh!,’ says Boshra. ‘I have just rocked up from Ramallah on the servis.’ She is not expecting me but after hugs, kisses and tears (on my part) she has prepared brunch and tells me about her recent speaking tour in France. Arranged by the French equivalent of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, she, Manal, and Nariman spent 22 days travelling and giving talks about resistance and Palestinian women . It has been a resounding success and has empowered Boshra no end – when I left last December her energy seemed quite low.

Outside the boys kick a ball around as they do before and after the Friday demonstration.

Gill 2013 Boys playing football

After her daughter Bezan hands me my shades I left there in December, she and friend Ola pose for a picture. The young are media savvy here, forever documenting their lives and using Facebook.

Gill 2013 Ola posing with sunglasses 

 The uniqueness of Nabi

The small close knit village of 500 Tamimis, has resisted the occupation since 2009 after the theft of their village spring by the settlement of Halamish. Halamiksh was built from 1977 onwards on stolen Nabi Saleh land. Unique because three of the community leaders are the women I mentioned before and the children are in the forefront of the start of the Friday march.

At one time the children were not included but as Manal says they decided to teach them not to be afraid. She herself was beaten and arrested in 2009 in front of her three year old. “We had to break this wall of fear in our kids to be able to continue the struggle in the future,” she stated in an interview.

Gill 2013 Children leading march

 Manal Tamini, currently studying for her law degree, remembers childhood picking grapes and figs – so wonderful and fresh – on the land where Halamish now sits

Her husband Bilal says ‘the resistance is for our kids future, so they can grow up and follow their dreams and their kids too’.

 This Good Friday

Today’s demo seems unusually low key, neither the Israeli Occupation Forces or the ‘shebab’ is really engaged in the usual ritual. Some people tried to head off to the spring; there was a bit of skunk water, some tear gas. Here is Manal running from it:

Gill 2013 Manal running from teargas

The only injury was to Tommy Donnellen, filming from the petrol station and shot at twice. As reported in the Belfast Telegraph, a tear gas canister punctured his upper right arm. I read the press report and the only discrepancy I can find is that they reported they he tried to reason with the soldiers, but he told me he shouted you motherf**cker, lost in Irish translation?

I find being in Nabi, especially with the women, inspirational.

I believe we all learn from each other and the lessons about me, me, me I have learnt from these women are boundless. To return to another pop song, as I do shamelessly, – Hope by Emeli Sande, one for las Passionaras?

I hope that the world stops raining
Stops turning it’s back on the young
See nobody here is blameless
I hope that we can fix all that we’ve done
 
I really hope Martin can see this
I hope that we still have a dream
I’m hoping that change isn’t hopeless
I’m hoping to start it with me
 
I hope we start seeing forever
Instead of what we can gain in a day
I hope we start seeing each other
Cause don’t we all bleed the same
 
I really hope someone can hear me
That a child doesn’t bear the weight of a gun
I find the voice within me
To scream at the top of my lungs
 
Louder, I cannot hear you
How can things be better left unsaid
Call me, call me a dreamer
But it seems like dreams are all that we’ve got left
 
I hope we still have a heartbeat
I hope we don’t turn to snow
A night when you turn the lights off
I hope you don’t cry alone
 
I hope we stop taking for granted
All of the land and all of the sea
I’m taking a chance on loving
I hope that you take it with me

 Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Thank you Nabi Saleh, especially Boshra, Nariman and Manal.

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