I continue to have deeply valuable conversations with people every day and as a result, my perception and experience of Palestine is evolving. I feel like my first week here was about taking in the places, spaces and surroundings. During my second week, I found a better understanding of them through the people, stories, histories, and sociopolitical complexities of Palestine.
I am having a hard time putting into words what this third week has been like. I feel like the experience of being here is filling me with so much to process while at the same time I understand that I’m just scratching the surface. I’m only beginning to grasp the big ideas of this occupation, as well as some of its subtleties. And I feel the ache of recognition that this is a microcosm of a global pain.
Almost daily I hear a story about the injustices, big and small, happening here that all contribute to the large scale oppression of Palestinians. Hearing these stories, along with recent news of mass shootings in the U.S., the increasingly unsettling developments in Kashmir, and countless other atrocities happening around the world, it has been impossible not to feel completely infuriated and shocked by these displays of terrorism, violence, opression, and hatred that illuminate the lack of humanity in humanity. We are not only grappling with the impact of these events happening locally, but also with how they all relate in a global context. I sometimes feel like the themes of the human experience are spiraling around us on a never ending loop of destruction, domination, and desperation.
But then I drop back in to where I am; here in Palestine where I experience the kindness and generosity of strangers, the wisdom and drive of allies working to better their world, and the delight and wonder of children in dance class. While I am heartbroken for humankind, I am encouraged by it at the same time: the correspondence and interconnectedness of these extremes of dark and light. These dynamics have been at play for all of existence, yet we hold out hope that good will triumph over evil, that humanity is capable of doing better.