Monday, July 25, 2011

Goodbye Palestine

Time to say goodbye to Palestine.
6 months of my life have passed here, a substantial amount of time, though I'll forever be an outsider. There's no way to wind up all that has passed into a neat conclusion, the only thing to hope is that I and the people I've effected are better for it. I know I am, and I think they are.

I know it's time to say goodbye because I've more-or-less been living elsewhere in my mind for more than a month now. When I wake up in the morning I don't think about checkpoints and land grabs and settlers with guns and wedding expenses. I don't think about olive trees and being forbidden to travel by Israelis and then the PA and then your father after that.

I've been thinking about being born in poor parts of America, where the rooms are just as empty as Palestinian ones, rows of beds and an over-used kitchen. I've been thinking about women who fear to be on the street, and the women who don't fear at all. I've been thinking about the difference between street-smarts and prejudice. I've been thinking about protest art and bicycle adventures and learning to live with love and conscience in a world gone crazy. Broken systems and broken families and where the drugs come from to maintain and perpetuate those damaged networks. I've been thinking about Lulzsec, reaching up into the corruption and pulling its mask off, and dusty activist train-hoppers on the US-Mexican border. Birth control and equal rights and equal consumption and equal anything as long as it doesn't contribute to someone else's oppression. Punk rock girls with free expressions, the audacity to be pure and bold in the face of the grid.

But still, when I sit around a huge saucer of chicken, rice, pine nuts, and yogurt, with 5 or six cheery people who joke and riff about what's between us in simple ways that I've come to understand, I feel at home. And I'll miss that. I'll miss the heat, and the 8-13 year old boys practicing to be old men. Perched in a plastic chair, struck incredulous by their own exhaustion. "Shaub. Hot." And indeed it is. I'll miss stopping in random villages, under random trees, and talking shop about the number of children a given stranger has, or American politics. I'll miss infinite patience, and simple positive drive in the face of massive unfairness and inhumane conditions.

There are things I won't miss at all, but they'll be outweighed by my love of kunafe after a month or three and I know soon I'll be scheming to come back. But I also know that this isn't the only place I can be effective in this world. I'm not married exclusively to this cause. I'm married to the cause of a better human future. And that's one chain store that's always open for business.

So goodbye for now, Palestine, I'll see you down the road. If I still have air for fighting, and you still have cause to call this place your own.


lulu said...

So beautiful. And I hope to see you here, there, somewhere.

Elaine said...

So much love; for you and for your journey through our world.

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