I thought that I would kick this project off with some of my older writings and experiences. Why not start off with a trip to Palestine a few years back?
In 2004, I boarded an evening flight from Detroit and set off for Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. I was young and in between years at law school. My reason for going? Participate in non-violent direct actions in solidarity with Palestinians living in the West Bank. I would learn assorted activist tactics before leaving, prepare for the mental stresses that would test me, and join an affinity group on the ground upon arrival in the city of Ramallah. Absolutely an experience of a lifetime.
I spent the day before my 9:00PM departure with my father and soon-to-be-wife. I was enrolled at Michigan State University at the time. We had lunch in downtown East Lansing. Both were supportive of my trip, but rationally concerned. As we readied for the drive to the airport, my father quietly helped me prepare my gear: a big duffle bag filled with some clothes, a camera, journal, and maps. I could tell that his unease with my trip was overshadowed by a sense of pride that his son was thinking beyond the comforts of college life. I was, truthfully, actually concerned myself.
In 2003, Rachel Corrie, an American from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. She was protecting a Palestinian home from demolition by the same bulldozer. Her death remained on my mind from the time I approached my family with my plans up until I saw the Detroit airport and greeted my travel companions. I know my family thought of it too. Death was real.
My time in Palestine was a profound experience in my life. It contextualized power, struggle, political borders, and, the all important, “state.” My exposure there informed my perspective of justice and living a fulfilling life. I was humbled by the hospitality and extreme generosity of the Palestinian people. The experience was so profound that I want to share a handful of my journal entries from my stay. I selected a few I thought were good representations of my thoughts and understandings at the time. I’ll post them occasionally under Palestine Journal. I hope you enjoy them.