Greetings from Tel Aviv and peace and all good! After nearly 20 hours of travel, various security checkpoints, and some interesting vegetarian combination meals provided by the airline, I touched down at the Ben Gurion airport.
Upon arrival, through the speakers of the 777 airplane, drifted the melody of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” ‘And I thought to myself,’ what an amazing life this is and what phenomenal juxtapositions therein. Here I am, thrilled to be able and willing to participate in this delegation with CodePINK and yet simultaenously, feeling conflict within my ownself. Let me go back a moment and explain.
From the flight from Newark to Tel Aviv I was fully immersed in what felt, looked, and sounded, like Israel. It was incredible. I watched the Hasidic Jews performing morning prayers in the back of the plane and reading the Torah by overhead light, while the plane was dim and quiet in sleep. I watched the young people laugh and cajole in excitement as we approached our destination. And I watched the children sleep in little baby bins with Hebrew prayers protectively crowning them.
I began to feel like an imposter, like I was doing something wrong. After all, can I not tell anyone my purpose for going to Israel? How would my new friend to my left receive it if I said I believed the siege, the occupation, of Gaza should end?
Then, I began to deconstruct my beliefs in nonviolence. Remembering that there is no other. There is only love. I sat in my seat, in the wee small hours, feeling the prayers being quietly spoken surround me, remembering the Gandhi quote-the ways of truth and love always win out. However, if I said these sentiments to any of my Israeli companions or potential Palestinians acquaintances, what would they say? Would they believe that there is no ‘other’? Would they be able to breath in the potentiality of transformation that nonviolence brings? Maybe not all, but I know some do.
We, the CodePINK Israel/Gaza team, will be meeting this evening June 5th with Coalition Women for Peace-an Israeli organization devoted to healing this terrible conflict. There is tremendous hope in that. There is tremendous hope in the fact that there are current and past delegations that have been going into Gaza, delivering humanitarian aid. There is tremendous hope that there are organizations all over the U.S. and the world devoted to peacemaking and peacekeeping. Personally, there is tremendous hope that so many of my dear friends and family supported me so I could join this delegation. People do care about what is happening in the world.
And it is in this hope I remember I am not an imposter doing something wrong, for simply taking a stand. A stand against injustice. I think of the two handed nonviolence philosophy learned from Pace e Bene workshops. The philosophy of extending one hand outwards and the other up in guarded blessing. This makes sense to me and I can sit in this truth.
This is what I will bring with me today upon entering the infancy stage of the delegation, or maybe it is my own infancy stage.
It is also what I will remember upon touring this area. Last night I walked to the beach and stared out at the Mediterranean Sea, looking at a deep expanse of beauty rich in color. The setting sun cast shadows on the sand and nearby cafes. Looking closer I saw three young people, in military uniform, walking along the beach path. To my right, I saw a type of mall with various eateries inside and a uniformed man waving a security baton over incoming patrons. Walking back to the hostel from the beach, a young military man passed by, gun strung across his back, and I thought back to Louis’ song and the juxtapositions therein. The sun set and the moon shone its nearly full beautiful face.
May Peace Continue to Guide Us~Peace, Salom, Shalom, Pace, Pax, and all the others of course~