Week 70 – Thoughts on Equality

Ni’lin really is a surreal place. When I first arrived in the small West Bank village that I would spend the next week in, I didn’t expect to see an orthodox Jewish settler getting his car fixed… I stared at him in complete disbelief, and he smiled and waved back. Stealing people’s land is one thing, but apparently it’s worth leaving them a little bit so that they can give you cheap rates for puncture repairs.

I walked further into the village, past the blood-stained butchers with cow-carcasses hanging in the front porches. A guy called out to me from a shop:

“Hey you! When did you arrive from Gaza?” I’d never seen the man in my life.

I met up with Saeed, a friend of a friend whose father used to organise the demonstrations against the Wall here, but was recently arrested and sentenced to over a year in prison, and I told him about the settler I had spotted. “You might see them coming in at the edges of the village,” he replied, “but they wouldn’t dare to come down to the centre!”

That evening, in his grandfather’s house, Saeed showed me videos that my eyes struggled to believe. Images of Aqil Srour, Ni’lin’s fifth martyr in just one year of their struggle against the Wall, bleeding from his heart. He had been murdered in cold blood by an Israeli soldier as he attempted to come to the aid of an injured youth, shot just seconds before by the very same soldier. Ironically, Aqil was present in every previous video. When the Israeli army tried to enforce a curfew upon the entire village in the summer of 2008, everyone was out in the streets, building make-shift road blocks and throwing stones at invading soldiers. It is this kind of militancy which we must take our inspiration from.

From the pictures, it looked like Ni’lin was a war-zone, or as Saeed remarked… “You don’t see this in Bil’in, do you?!”

On Friday we marched to the Wall, here comprising towering concrete blocks. The settlements surrounding Ni’lin are so close that they appear as if you could touch them… you can literally see the residents driving around in their 4x4s, and the sprinklers watering their gardens.

It was as I was observing this scene that the first shower of tear gas came raining down from the other side of the Wall. All the other demonstrators ran into the fields and trees to the right, but the restrictions of my wheelchair meant that I had to stay on the main path. A couple of minutes later, I saw the huge gate at the Wall sliding open, and a few seconds later I saw Israeli soldiers running through…

I quickly turned, and began progressing back up the hill. Unfortunately, I had made my move too late. I heard two soldiers behind me shouting for me to stop, and felt that running from armed, racist kids might be a mistake. When they caught up with me, they started ordering me, in Hebrew, to go down to the Wall where their base was. Two more soldiers came and after telling me to shut up started saying the same thing. Luckily, they eventually got distracted by the other demonstrators in the fields. So much shooting to do, and so little time. I used the opportunity to make a move.

I saw the news about the floods in Kashmir, and behind the headlines I see that comparisons are increasingly being drawn between stone-throwing Palestinian and Kashmiri youth. I predict that my conscience will compel me to travel to the region next. Unless, of course, we are successful in initiating our own uprising, and we make the streets of London our own battlefield in the global struggle for equality.


15 responses to “Week 70 – Thoughts on Equality

  1. “On Friday we marched to the Wall, here comprising towering concrete blocks. The settlements surrounding Ni’lin are so close that they appear as if you could touch them… you can literally see the residents driving around in their 4x4s, and the sprinklers watering their gardens.”

    That part I could never fathom without seeing both sides of the wall.

    You’re a good man Jody, and if you want too turn the streets of London into a battlefield I’ll be right there in the struggle beside you.

  2. Another thought provoking, admirable & inspiring peice Jody

  3. Utterly amazed that a settler would have the nerve to show himself amongst Palestinians – insensitive, stupid or what? Israelis who are against the settlements is a different thing.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Arash Sharifi

    Great writing. really paints a clear picture of what is happening there. Freedom to all oppressed people all over the world.

  5. In October 08 I was in the village of Husan, near Hebron. I’d received a call that there’d been an army invasion, so we jumped in a taxi and headed out there. We were met by our good friend Ezra, who briefed us on what was going on.

    Anyway, the next morning we were surprised to see a settler pull up in his car. He went over to the soldiers and proceeded to give them a right old telling off! He told them they shouldn’t be there, and they should leave his Palestinian friends alone. Seems he was friendly with the people of the village, and did his shopping there. It was quite surreal.

    Best wishes Jody. Maybe I’ll see you out there again soon.

  6. simply inspiring, as always Jody.
    let’s keep on the fight..hasta la victoria

  7. Nice article. Keep posting! Your writing is very Fiskesque.

  8. Amazing article as always Jods, keep going….Stay safe.

  9. sarah connolly

    As you say Jody there are Israeli sympathizers maybe the man having his car mended was one of them, I hope so, you stay safe. Granny x

  10. I can assure you with considerable certainty that he wasn’t, but there are some Israeli sympathizers yes. I just don’t think that “sympathy” is enough in this situation.

  11. Sharmila Sengupta

    I am of Indian origin,though not Kashmiri.63 years after independence,the Kashmiri people have yet to be asked what or where they feel they want to be. The plebiscite they were promised never saw the light of day.The Indian government has even had IDF people over as consultants to deal with “miscreants”.Meanwhile,the Hindus and Sikhs in the Valley have been ethnically cleansed.I have seen Hindu and Muslim Kashmiri friends turn on one another,breaking their own hearts and mine…
    Can I recommend two films on Kashmir to you?One is “Mission Kashmir”which was made about a decade.Not that anything has changed much since.The other,made this year,is”Lamha”(Time).Both are in Hindi,with English subtitles.You can watch them online at http://www.hindimovielinks4u.net or http://www.onlinewatchmovies.net.If you do decide to go to Kashmir,Jody,it will be a great day for an embattled people.Look up http://www.kashmir-information.com.All the best.

  12. Bonnie Alkhafaji

    I really like your articles. I hope for peace for this region.

  13. I agree with Sharmila, if the plight of Kashmiri people has touched your heart you must go there. They have never gotten any coverage in the international media and this has allowed the Indians to do as they please with impunity (the biggest democracy in the world behave not much unlike the only democracy in the middle east).
    The recent upsurge in the insurgency (an indigenous movement now by all accounts, except perhaps the official Indian account) there paralleled by an even greater upsurge in state sponsored violence has finally been accorded some attention by the world media but one cannot expect too much when such big business/strategic interests are at stake.
    India is also the chief military ally of Israel in the region.

  14. R.H.A.S Journal

    Thanks for sharing the film links. Will check out also.

  15. Finlay McIntyre

    One of my favourite’s by you 🙂 x

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