Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Grieving for Palestine

GRIEVING FOR PALESTINE

I am grieving and finding it hard to find words to fit the cause of my grief: Israel’s official murder of Palestinians in Gaza and U.S. support for that murder. 
Because I have been to Palestine’s West Bank multiple times (though not to Gaza), I can picture this slaughter and help you to picture it also. 

Picture a large auditorium in your town, and see it full to overflowing with townspeople - some are your neighbors and some you never met. You have come to this place to seek safety from a storm raging outside. But after a few hours the electricity is cut. The toilets stop working and the tap water turns brown. There is no drinkable water. When night comes, it is cold, and there is no heat.  You don’t know why but suddenly there are armed guards at the doors, and In the balcony there are snipers.

You are not allowed out. Days pass. Supplies that arrive are meager; there is not enough food, water or blankets. Babies cry.  Shots ring out.  Someone near you drops and blood comes from their body.  The snipers are aiming at random individuals! Another shot, and the target is the person who was trying to call for calm and for a plan to escape from this place.  Some people walk toward the armed guards to demand they open the doors.  They are shot also.  

Outside the auditorium, there are news reports about what Is happening. Officials say that the people trapped inside are terrorists because they approached the guards and the guards felt threatened.  While some outside people question the use of snipers, they think the people inside must have done something wrong for this to be happening to them.  Towns farther away hear about this catastrophe and they speak out against it, but they don’t do anything to free the people still inside the auditorium.

This is what is happening to the Palestinians in Gaza.  Seventy years after being driven off their land, and 22 years since Israel completed a fortified fence around them with just a few gates controlled by Israeli soldiers, and eleven years after being cut off from enough supplies to make life livable, and a year since electricity was cut to 2 to 6 hours a day, the people of Gaza, adopting non-violent tactics, marched towards their jailors and demanded to return to the land that was stolen from them. (Their right to return was established by U.N. Resolution 194 in 1948.)

Israel said it was threatened, that the terrorists were going to breach the fence and start killing Jews. Israel put snipers on their side of the fence and ordered them to shoot into the crowds, sometimes selecting leaders, or press, or medics. You may have read the statistics: over 100 killed, over 7,000 injured in seven weeks. You may not have read that much of the live ammunition used against the unarmed protesters was a new type of bullet that explodes inside the body causing extensive damage, if not death.  

You may not know that in between the weekly demonstrations, many families camped out near the border fence and celebrated their traditional ways of cooking, dancing, singing and reading their literature and history.. They are proud of their heritage.

I have friends in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They too are proud, they too are trapped; they too are grieving.  My friends in the West Bank are barred from visiting Jerusalem unless granted a permit by the Israeli military - even if they have family there, or need specialized medical attention, or want to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or al-Aqsa Mosque.

My friends in East Jerusalem cannot repair or expand their cramped residences because their homes will be demolished for lack of building permits which are almost never granted.  My Palestinian friends who are citizens of Israel are not allowed to visit relatives in the West Bank.  That last one is a mind-twister unless you know that 20% of the population of Israel is Arab Palestinian, also perceived as a demographic threat to Jewish Israel.

Enough injustice. Palestinians are human beings.   Jewish Israelis are human beings also. As such they have a moral obligation to recognize the humanity of Palestinians. Locking them into Gaza and shooting at them for wanting to get out is wrong.  Our government paying Israel for brutalizing Palestinians is also wrong.  The U.S. gives $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel every year.  Broken down by state, Massachusetts gives Israel $128,495,047 a year.

Palestinians have rights under international law. One of those rights is the Right of Return.  That is what Gaza has been marching for and dying for. They want their rights recognized and negotiated. We in the U.S. are complicit in denying Palestinians their rights.  Let us admit it and work to change our policies. Our own humanity is at stake.



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Musings from Palestine: Judgments vs Love


Before I left home, I heard these words from Rev. Margaret  Bullet-Jonas:  “Remove from your heart all that is not from love.”  These words were meant for me. They have echoed in my mind over and over because I spend a lot of mental time “evaluating” the people and things around me, especially those that I find in bad taste.  In other words, I am full of judgements that do not come from love.

How does this relate to Palestine?  It is a place that evokes negative judgments on a daily if not hourly basis.  

Why can’t I buy a product made in Palestine instead of Israel? Even the fresh fruits and vegetables are from Israel, though I know they can be grown in Palestine.  Why do I have to take this dangerous road through the Valley of Fire that takes twice as long as it should to reach a city just 30 miles from here? I know there is a direct route that is wider and flatter but only Jews can use it.  Why do the Israeli soldiers shoot live ammunition at teenage boys who are hurling stones at their watchtower?  The soldiers know that tear gas will disperse the kids.  How do the soldiers get away with bursting into a Palestinian home at 2:00 a.m. to arrest a 10 year old boy and then not even tell the parents where they are taking the child?  The Israelis know where the child lives. They could come in the daytime.  And the boy would not have been throwing stones (if he did) if the soldiers had not invaded his neighborhood in the first place.

I could go on for pages and pages.  These judgments are justifiable. They are judgments about abuse. But do they come from love?  Yes and no.
Yes love for the abused Palestinians, but no love for the oppressor.  How to love the oppressor?  I must train myself to separate the deed from the doer, without letting up on acting to oppose the deed.

Sure, the Israeli soldiers firing on Palestinian youth should be held accountable, even though they have been carefully trained to behave this way and to justify their actions.  But who is doing the training and thinking up the justifications?  And why?  These are the questions that evoke judgments. 


I know that anyone can marshal facts and narrate history to bolster their positions.  That said, I also know that there are some truths and many lies.
Countering lies is tricky business.  It often involves using words or descriptions that are not part of the popular perception, and people take offense.

Like, “Israel is an apartheid state.” Or, “Zionists have claimed all of historic Palestine for exclusive ownership by Jews since the founding of the Zionist movement in the late 1800’s.” And, “To achieve the Zionist goal requires the expulsion of the native population from all of Palestine.”  These truthful statements provoke hostility from people who have been raised to believe that Israel is a necessary safe haven for Jews and from Israelis who believe that God gave this land to the Jews.

I do not like the feeling that I am offending people; I feel anxious. I do not handle it well when someone is angry with me; I feel fear. I try to pick my words carefully to avoid such situations, especially when I am challenging Israel’s abuses of Palestinians.

If, however, I come from love, if I empty my heart of all else, I may be able to speak the sometimes offensive truth without fear of your reaction.  I may instead feel love for you who may not accept my words, who may be caught in a web of untruths and be unable to accept another view.  I need to let my heart lead the way, and trust that the truth will prevail.

  

  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Look Behind the Mask: Normalization in Palestine

NORMALIZATION, 2017

Normalization: to make appear normal, to accept as normal; or just to get so used to something that you don’t think about it anymore. The “it” in this case is the existing relationship between the state of Israel and the people of Palestine.  I have written about it before, but it is a layered concept and not easy to explain.

Fifty years of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem has numbed us, even those of us who have advocated for Palestinians to have a free, autonomous state.

We have become so used to this illegal status that we have forgotten about how it got its start in 1948 when Jewish forces used terrorism to expel 750,000 native Palestinians from their homes - the ethnic cleansing of 2/3’s of the population. This might have been seen as acceptable - you could say normal behavior in that post-war colonialist world.

Fast forward to 2017. An article in the October 11 Israeli edition of the NYTimes titled “Peace through music and backgammon” describes a concert that organizers titled “Kulna”, using the Arabic word for “all of us.” and promoted as “a night without borders.”  It featured Palestinian and Israeli artists and attracted  “2000 people, most of them Israelis.”  The article also featured a backgammon contest between Israeli and Palestinian players, “an activity that would let people engage with one another.”

The same article reported that on October 8, 2017 Women Wage Peace, “a Jewish-Arab movement established after the Gaza War of 2014,”   brought Israeli and Palestinian women to a “reconciliation tent” in the West Bank city of Jericho and then to a rally in Jerusalem.   As I read about this effort,  I thought that if I were an Israeli woman who opposed the occupation, and was looking for ways to express that opposition in the face of overwhelming state power, I might join the women’s march, because there aren’t many avenues for Israelis to say “no” to their government’s policies.  However, I also wondered if this could be an example of normalization. 

Attempts to bridge the divide between Palestinian and Israeli citizens sound good and can seduce us into thinking that peace is possible.  Concerts, backgammon contests, marches that include both sides:  signs of hope that at least on this level the isolation that allows hate of “the other” to develop will be overridden by contact.

And that does happen.   But the article included this paragraph: “Even in peacetime, though, attempts to escape politics can be viewed as political. Many Palestinians , for instance, reject what they call cultural normalization with the Israelis.”  One musician seemingly for that reason “denied being scheduled to perform in Jerusalem.”

I showed the article to a Palestinian activist whose judgement I trust. “This is pure normalization,” he said, “because it is not resistance.”

Maybe you have to be Palestinian to sense when an activity normalizes or when it contributes to the struggle for freedom, and clearly not all Palestinians are in this camp.  Maybe too the Israeli activists are doing the best they can to reach out and tell Palestinians that they care.  For them it is huge step to get to know an Arab and to defy their government by doing so.  For some this is a first step that will lead them on to the next step.  I want them to take these steps, but I must stand with my Palestinian friends in opposition to normalizing activities.  I must be clear that normalizing does not help the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

Real solidarity requires accepting Palestinian leadership and accepting some uncomfortable truths:  The truth that Zionism originated as a secular colonialist movement, not a religion-based ideology.  That Zionists intended to take over the entire historic Palestine for a Jewish state, and this required removing the indigenous population.  The truth that to accomplish ethnic cleansing Jewish underground guerrilla forces carried out many atrocities starting well before 1948. The truth that today’s Israel is an apartheid state which by its own hand has made a two state solution impossible. The truth that without the military and propaganda support of the United States, the occupation would collapse.

As for Palestinian leadership, a broad section of civil society in Palestine has called on us to join the secular Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, while the Palestinian Christian community has issued its own impassioned plea for support of BDS and active intervention to end the occupation before it is too late. (Kairos Palestine, 2009 and Letter to World Council of Churches, June, 2017)  My Palestinian friends tell me that leadership of joint Israeli-Palestinian initiatives is often usurped by Israelis. I am quite sure that this phenomenon sounds familiar to black/white civil rights groups in the U.S.

 It is not popular to speak out against normalizing events such as concerts, summer camps like Seeds of Peace, women’s peace marches,  or Combatants for Peace (Israeli military and Palestinian fighters who have renounced violence and together  advocate for non-violent solutions.)  There is a moving documentary about about the latter called “Disturbing the Peace”. I recently helped to host a public showing of this documentary as a means of keeping the issue of Palestine in the consciousness of my community.  But the film lacks historical context and does not show the power dynamics on the macro level of the politicians in Tel Aviv and Washington, D.C..  And combatants laying down their arms does not necessarily change the equation.

The problem with normalization is that it makes it look like there is a level playing field, with two equal opponents, who just have to recognize their common ground and learn to get along.  The truth is that Israel is the oppressor, much more powerful economically and militarily; and the injustice of the occupation started not in 1967, but in 1948 when Palestinian land was stolen at gunpoint by Jewish colonial settlers.  For there to be peace, the roots of injustice must be recognized, and not covered over by concerts.  Our actions must follow the lead of the Palestinians whose main non-violent weapon of resistance now is the BDS campaign.  

Normalization further confuses us by framing this as a “conflict” over territory instead of an issue of violation of human rights.  “Conflict” presumes these are two neighbors who are quarreling over the same piece of land. Instead, we have a bulldozer against an olive tree. The bulldozer has an army behind it, while the olive tree has just the farmer who owns it.  The farmer has rights.

By international law Palestinians have a right to return to their homes and villages.  They have a right to the water that used to fill their wells.  They have a right to move freely in order to attend school, get health care, hike in their hills or swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians have a right to dignity, which they now preserve at great psychological cost. Do you know what it takes, for example, for a man not to show any emotion as he is emasculated in front of his wife and children at a checkpoint? “Pull up your shirt! Pull down your pants! Shut up!”  Can you imagine how children endure learning that their parents cannot protect them from soldiers who take them from their beds at 2:00 a.m. or demolish their homes in front of their eyes? How parents endure that they cannot protect their children?

I know a young Palestinian man, a non-conformist by his own account, who spent a year on an Israeli kibbutz in a program designed to bring Israeli, Palestinian and international students together to study the environment and conflict resolution. He enrolled in the program because it was a full scholarship, and because he was disgusted with his life as a Palestinian and thought he would feel freer in Israel.

Yet the more he heard from Israelis defending their points of view, the more critical he became of the program. “But It was good for me. I got to hear how they think about themselves and believe the things they have been told about Palestine.  They want us to forget about our past, but they won’t forget about the Holocaust.”  When the program ended, this young man came back to Palestine and is volunteering at a Palestinian organization which is dedicated to preserving the heritage and natural resources of the land he is supposed to forget. 



Friday, November 3, 2017

Home Is Someplace Else

As I walked down the alleys of Balata Refugee Camp last weekend, I wanted to bring my readers along to feel and see the camp. You know these camps exist, but unless you have been in one, you can’t know anything about them. 

You don’t know that the passages between homes, where there should be roads, are barely wide enough for two people to pass each other.

The result is not just a cramped feeling, it is an absence of light entering the homes. Imagine your apartment or house not having windows or receiving any natural light, let alone sunlight.  In turn, you live with artificial light, usually fluorescent, day in and day out.  The narrow alleys outside your door don’t invite you to take a walk around the neighborhood, nor do they invite your children to go out and play, though the children do anyway.

Why are there 19 such refugee camps in the West Bank alone and 58 altogether spread through Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan?   They were created in the early 1950’s by the U.N. for the 750,000 Palestinian refugees who survived the expulsion from their homes in 1948. Originally people lived in tents, which were meant to be temporary, as every family thought they would return home as soon as hostilities ceased. But years passed, and it became clear that the situation in Palestine was not temporary, and the people had to accept that they would not be allowed to return to their homes.  The U.N.began to replace the tents with cement block structures of two small rooms for families of up to 12 people.  While the houses were better than tents, they were just as overcrowded.

Balata Camp was alloted a quarter of a square kilometer for  5,000 people. (A kilometer is .6 of a mile.)The boundaries of the camp have not expanded since then though the population certainly has. Balata now has about 27,000 people.  As the population has grown and people have needed more space, they have built into the streets, narrowing them to be the alleys they are today.

There are still a few streets that accommodate cars and small delivery trucks; there are shops selling everything needed in urban life; but it is the absence of space that I feel acutely when I walk around with my Palestinian family. (We adopted each other 15 years ago during the emotional wartime of the Second Intifada.) I also have to watch my step as there is poor drainage and people do attempt to wash the alleys, to clean them of bits of trash.  It seems the trash wins more often than not.

When I experience these conditions, I wonder what life would have been like if there were never any camps?  What if today the United Nations did not try to provide shelter, food staples and some minimal services to these refugee families?  While it seems like we need these camps, they are also a reminder that home is somewhere else.  






Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Diagnosing Depression

Siri is depressed.  Not just depressed because of her family problem, but clinically depressed.  She has tried various medications, but today she can’t shake the feeling that her spirit is being drained out of her.  It is hard to hear. 

I know Siri because I stayed with her several years ago when she and her family hosted me for the olive harvest program. Shortly after that the family was forced by Israeli residency regulations to move from their centrally located and beautiful home in Biet Sahour, West Bank, to an apartment just outside the town and inside the city limits of Jerusalem.

The story is a bit complex, and key to understanding it is to know that both Siri and her husband hold Jerusalem IDs.  However, their 21 year old, law-student daughter, Yara, has no identity documents - no birth certificate and no other I.D.  Because of this, she can’t get a driver’s license or passport, travel outside of the West Bank, nor apply for a job.  The family has been pursuing every possible avenue to resolve this serious problem.  

You see, Yara was born in a West Bank hospital - not a Jerusalem hospital - so Israel does not want to give her a Jerusalem ID. Israel considers Jerusalem to be part of Israel and will not issue a Jerusalem ID to a West Banker. “So, Siri,” I asked, “did you know this would be a problem when you went to a West Bank hospital to give birth?”  “What West Bank hospital!” she exclaimed.  “I just went to the nearest hospital. This law didn’t exist then.” The shifting sands of Israel’s regulations and laws are meant to trick Palestinians into situations that further restrict their lives, in hopes they will decide to leave.

Trying to evade such “control by bureaucracy”,  Siri and her husband continued to live in the family home in Beit Sahour even after Israel declared that Jerusalemites must be able to prove that the center of their lives is in Jerusalem. To the contrary, their Jerusalem ID will be revoked. The value of such an ID is that with it you can travel into Israel and into the West Bank. That is, you have some freedom of movement.  West Bankers cannot travel to Jerusalem or into Israel without a military permit.

For the last four years the family has been consumed by the issue of Yara’s lack of documents.

So, while Siri has a clinical depression which requires medication, she has a situational depression for which there is no medication.  Meanwhile she has a very responsible job as director of a center for severely disabled adults, ages 16 and up.  It may be the only such agency in the southern West Bank, yet can serve only 20 clients. There is no turnover nor age limit.  “We can’t turn them out just because they are getting older.  Where would they go?”   As a fellow social worker, I understand.

Parents pay 300 shekels (about $85) a month for this service, though there are 4 subsidized clients. The center has other funding, from the Mennonites, for example, and a beautiful outdoor, sheltered gym donated by the San Francisco-based Middle East Children’s Alliance.  The center is well equipped and staffed by 6 professionals.  Issa, a physical therapist, showed me  their sound and light therapy room, the PT room, the kitchen, activity rooms, greenhouses and woodworking shop. Impressive and welcoming.  Issa is a graduate of Bethlehem University’s four-year physical therapy program and has been working here for 6 years.

Siri’s story is not over. Two days ago their rehab specialist was arrested from his home during an Israeli military raid in a Bethlehem refugee camp. ( Such arrests are usually political in nature and  ignore that Israel does not have security authority inside the city.)  The Israelis will hold him for 18 days without notifying anyone of the charges against him.  Eighteen days that the center will not have its professional therapist.  After 18 days, he might be charged or he might be held for six months without charges.  The center will pay him the rest of this month’s salary and then, depending on the outcome, may have to start looking for a replacement.
“You cannot make plans for the future.  This is our future.”  Siri forced a smile.







Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Justice or Death at Guantanamo


      Guantanamo Bay Prison: is it still open? Yes.  Does it still have 779 men there?   No.  All but 41 have been released because, after all, they were not the worst of the worst.  
     Yet that is how they were treated.
    On Wednesday, January 11th I quickly lay down on the floor of the Hart Senate office building in Washington, D.C. beside a banner that read, “Hate Doesn’t Make U.S. Great.” I was  part of a die-in.  I chose to risk arrest in this way to honor one of the nine men who have died while detained at Guantanamo.  In my heart I carried the name of Awal Gul from Afghanistan who had died of a heart attack at age 49  in 2012 while imprisoned at Guantanamo.
     Mr. Gul had been cleared for release by a military tribunal (i.e. found not guilty), but in the end it was God who released him.   We don’t know what caused Mr. Gul’s heart attack, but the conditions for detainees at Guantanamo would be cause enough.  Can you imagine being tortured?  Really I can’t.  How would I behave if I were striped naked and exposed to extreme cold for hours and hours, or chained in a painful posture until my whole body screamed?  What if I had to hear blasting noise with no let-up?  Was Mr. Gul one of the detainees being sexually assaulted by female guards, or told his mother would be raped if he didn’t give the required information?
    Eight other men have died at the prison, and eight of my friends also lay on the floor in the atrium of  the Hart building to represent them.  We were dressed in orange jumpsuits, wore black hoods, and were prepared to be arrested. The men we represented were not prepared for what awaited them when they were sold to the U.S. army for bounty, shackled, hooded, flown to Guantanamo and tortured.   Three of the nine were almost certainly tortured to death.   But let me turn your attention to the 41 men still in detention.
What do I know of these men?  I know they are MUSLIMS, and Guantanamo was created to tell the world that Muslims are dangerous, that Muslim men are sub-human, and that the United States should decide their fate.  Yet this was not an image that went down well in the rest of the world, so Obama tried to close the prison. He did not succeed, leaving President Trump to carry on the anti-Muslim message.  It points a lethal finger at our Muslim brothers and sisters, those who live in this country and the l.6 billion worldwide.
What do I know of these Muslim men?  I know they are human beings with families who miss them.  I know some are poets because there is book of their poetry.  (Poems from Guantanamo, Marc Falkoff, ed.) I know some are artists, because  Ghaleb Nassar al Bihani  has a lawyer who got some of his paintings to Washington, and I saw them.   And their beauty made me cry.  Beauty.  Men thrown away like disgusting garbage are creating beauty.  I know that these Muslim men have not seen or touched their wives and sisters, mothers and sons for up to 15 years.
What do I know of these men?  I know they want to go home, and they have as much right to freedom and justice as we do.  If we can’t prove they did something criminal, we have to honor their rights, because  tomorrow they might come for you – or me – and call us non-human according to some new definition. 
We have to remember that Guantanamo Bay Prison is still there.  We have to remember all the men who were ever there and the ones still there and what we have done to them.  We have to remember because it gives them a sliver of hope, and because it restores our humanity.  We have to remember  the ones who died there so that one day we might be forgiven.
 Sherrill Hogen, a Charlemont resisdent,  has been protesting Guantanamo and torture for 10 consecutive years with Witness Against Torture (www.witnesstorture.org).
 Sherrill Hogen  413-625-8195

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hadil Hashlamon - A Story That Must Be Told



     “When you lose a member of the family, you suffer for a long, long time.” These were the words of Hadil’s father, Dr. Salah Hashlamon as he addressed our group of 8 Americans and 2 Palestinian guides in his living room, on October 15, 2016.  His 19 year old daughter had been shot dead  the year before on September 22 at a Hebron checkpoint.
     Hadil was on her way to her volunteer work to help the needy in the Old City of Hebron.  She had started the Fall semester of college, but found time to continue this work out of devotion to the task.  Being a very devout Muslim, she chose to cover her face except for her eyes.  Being a Palestinian woman, she carried a large purse.  For these two things she was killed by an Israeli soldier.  When the soldier stopped her to search her before letting her pass the checkpoint, Hadil, according to witnesses, asked for a female soldier to do the searching.  Whatever the soldier then said to her, she apparently did not understand.  That was when he shot her, first in the legs so that she fell to the ground, and then 14 more bullets into her body.  Medics were there in 10 minutes, but were not allowed to attend to her for 45 minutes.  She died in the hospital.
     How do we know that this is what happened?  The soldiers claimed Hadil had a knife with which she intended to stab a soldier, and they displayed it on the ground next to her body.  But an international observer with the Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAPPI) wrote a detailed account of what he observed on that day, and it was clear that Hadil posed no threat to the soldiers at the checkpoint.  In addition, Israeli surveillance cameras also captured the event, and the army would have gladly displayed their video if it proved they were right.
Nevertheless, Dr. Hashlamon’s home was raided at 2:30 a.m. one morning so the army could get the dimensions in order to prepare to demolish the family home as punishment for Hadil’s supposed terrorist intentions.  Members of the family were also interrogated as to Hadil’s possibly unstable emotional state that would explain her “attack”.  (So far the house still stands, but demolition orders have no expiration date.)
     One month after Hadil was killed, an Israeli army officer declared that Hadil had not been a danger to the soldiers. 
     Dr. Haslamon’s lap was full of papers and photographs showing the extent of Hadil’s injuries and every word that has been said both in and out of court since her death.  Two of his adult sons sat near him as he spoke to us.  A younger son served us juice and candies, and maybe coffee – I don’t remember.  My attention was upon this grieving father, who was making sure his daughter’s life would not be in vain because it would be told outside of his living room and outside of Hebron, Palestine.  He has taken the case and others like it to the International Criminal Court office in Ramallah, but he cannot take it outside of the borders of the West Bank because his family has been labeled terrorist and cannot get a visa from Israel.
     Hadil was a poet and had been locally recognized for her talent.  Dr. Hashlamon read one of her poems which she had written in English.  I wish I had a copy, but share these lines that I wrote down: 
       "The Israelis say we have a problem: we love to die.”
      "One word can help others.”
      "We have a State waiting for us in the future that will hold us all.”
     After an hour it was time for us to leave.  I, as tour leader, tried to thank Dr. Hashlamon for his time, which had been requested only that morning.  I wondered to myself how Hadil’s brothers felt  listening to their father tell of such sadness and injustice once again.  I know the father was angry that nothing had come of Hadil’s murder. In fact it had been followed by the deaths of 235* more young Palestinians in similar situations – some actually carrying a knife, but most gunned down by young soldiers following orders: Kill if you feel threatened, let them bleed out on the street, frame them if you can.
      Hadil’s story echoes around the world, in our Black, brown and gay communities and wherever native peoples claim their rights or try to protect land and water.   I hope Dr. Hashlamon can count on us all to tell Hadil’s story and to stand up for human dignity wherever it is under attack.

*The death toll included 34 Israelis as of September 30, 2016. Ma’an News