TravelsonTheFreedomBus

I am traveling to Palestine for 3 weeks on March 11th and I am going to use this blog to document my travels.

playing music, studying women and gender studies, wanting to travel and see the world, born and raised in Kentucky.

check out my other blog talking about queer life, reproductive justice, feminism, social justice at myso-calledqueerlife.tumblr.com
Ask me anything
Submit

My Last post from Palestine 3-28-14

I don’t  know if there are words to express how I feel or the truth that sings in my heart. Today was the last full day on The Freedom Bus and I am feeling so many conflicting emotions. I am happy to be going home to my partner, family  and friends, and yet I will truly miss the new friends/family that I have made along this journey. The injustices that I have witnessed with my own eyes is at times too catastrophic to explain, but I know I will do my best. My hope is that I will bring this truth home with me and share it everyone and anyone I come into contact with. I will carry this truth with me wherever I go. The stories that I have heard the people that I have met will always be with me. Inshallah

Samara 3-26-14

Today before we went across the road to the village of Samara we witnessed the demotion of Palestinian olive trees. The Israeli soldiers then took the olive trees with them. Words can not express the inhumanity and terrorism that the Palestinians experience on a daily basis.

Al Mufaqara 3-25-14

Today was amazing. We went back to Al Mufaqara and helped plant 200 Olive Trees! Some of us used picks to dig into the ground and others like myself used our hands to dig around the olive trees and weeded and tilled the land. It felt so nice to work the land and it made me feel like a little kid playing in the dirt. It was amazing giving back to the land and the people. We were then treated to tea and coffee and lunch!

AL-TWani 3-24-14

We are staying in a village called Al-twani. Yesterday we went on a 2 hour hike to different villages. We arrived in a very small community called Al Mufaqara. We were welcomed in a families home, 10 people live in this cave. They served us tea and talked about the occupation. Afterwards we went and walked around and sat in what I thought was just a bunch of concrete and rocks, but I soon found out from one of the villagers that it used to be a mosque that was destroyed. They are not allowed to rebuild the mosque. If you ask why there is really no valid answer. There is no law here only what the Israeli Government and military implement onto the people. Afterwards we walked just maybe 10 minutes and saw caves where families used to live, but they were harassed so badly by the settlers/colonists so there are only 6 families left living in Raquizz. The communities in Al-Twani come together to give these families reinforcement and support. The villagers here suffered greatly from the attacks by the settlers.

Just last week a shepard was herding his sheep/goats and the settlers came and killed one goat. He was alone so when it was reported to the police they said there was nothing they could do because there was no proof. However if something like this was reported by a settler that Palestinian had done something like this the whole army would come to do something about it. There is NO justice here. Here is a blog I found about Al Mufaqra:

http://almufaqarah.wordpress.com/background/

Jenin Refugee Camp

Just found out yesterday 3 people were killed in the Jenin Refugee Camp. The army came at night to arrest them and they didnt want to go so they were shot and killed. May they rest in peace Inshallah

Nabi Saleh March 21, 2014

I just participated in a peaceful protest here in Nabi Saleh. The army tear gassed us. I was able to run and get up the hill, and we are now safe in a families home, but I can here gun fire from where the soldiers are. It was very painful and scary at the time. WE ARE SAFE. Please all of my loved ones dont worry. I was very afraid, but I am glad I participated because I felt that it was important to due so because I wanted to experience this and show my solidarity. Free Palestine!!! Just an update I found out that the soldiers were shooting rubber bullets and today was considered to be a calm day. No one was arrested and no one went to the hospital.

Day 5

Today has been really great so far. I went to the Freedom Theater to see the graduates performance. Although it was all in Arabic, the emotion of the performances were incredibly strong. I have met some more people that will be travelling on the bus! There are people from France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Canada. I finally met some other Americans! One is from San Francisco and another girl is from Georgia (and her name is Amelia my girlfriends name!), and there is a couple here about my parents age from Massachusetts! I am missing my girlfriend, friends, and family a lot, but everyday I feel so blessed to be here. I am trying to be present in every moment.

I think the biggest thing that has stood out for me is that there is so much Islamaphobia in America. Everyone that I have met has been so incredibly kind and generous. It is a shame that it has been so ingrained in us that Muslims are terrorists or are somehow bad people. I have been completely immersed in this culture for 5 days now and everyone I have met has been so incredibly kind. It is true that we fear what we don’t know, but at the same time wouldn’t it be wonderful instead of being afraid, if we could embrace every new person and experience with an open heart and open mind.

All the Palestinians want is to be seen as individuals, as human beings. All they want is security and peace for their families and their future. Inshallah

peace, love, and solidarity,

Meredith

Day 4

Today has already been an amazing day and it is only about 1:30 pm here.

I went to The Freedom Theater and was fed a delicious meal, and I spoke with a man named Habib who is 26 years old. He will be traveling on the bus. He spoke with such emotion, that I could not help, but tear up as well as he told me that he just wants to be able to live a normal life. All he wants to do is be able to go to the dead sea and swim, or to be able to go fishing in the sea and he is not even allowed to do that. The Palestinians really have very little opportunities to do anything besides living in Occupied Palestine and traveling throughout occupied Palestine.

I also got to hear Jonathan speak he is one of the coordinators of The Freedom. He said that there were 3 types of occupation; The Israeli Occupation, The Occupation by The Palestinian police/govt parties and the occupation of the self (internalized oppression)

There is conflict and constant tension everywhere, people face a lot of resentment and collective trauma and it is different from PTSD because the trauma is still ongoing everyday.

For a lot of people the theater is seen as safe place for people to come and express themselves.

I feel so lucky to be here and to be able to experience this and to meet the people here. Tomorrow I get to go see a performance at the theater by graduates and Monday morning I start my journey on The Freedom Bus

youarenotdesi:

indianilluminati:

These are my favorite brown entries from the brilliant I, too, am Oxford project, inspired by the I, too, am Harvard project, depicting students of color speaking out against the prejudice and racism they suffered at a top learning institution.  

Talkback.

So awesome!!!

Day 3

I had a pretty easy day today I woke at 9 am and walked around taking photographs. I tried to go to the freedom theater and unfortunately no one spoke English so I just walked around for a bit in the rain. I came back to the hostel and took a nap and then went back out in the sunshine to take more photographs. 

It was incredibly liberating walking around in a place where I don’t know the language, and just being able to be on my own. The people were very kind. When I got back to the Cinema Jenin guesthouse I went up to the roof to watch the sunset and to take pictures. In the distance you could see smoke and I honestly couldn’t tell you where it was coming from like what exact city, but there is a lot of fighting going on. It is very sad, but I just feel so blessed to be able to be here and to have this experience. 

I started to get homesick, but honestly because I am missing my love. I know that we will be together again soon. It was strange how suddenly it hit me though, maybe because I didn’t have such a full day today. As my dear friend Sarah reminded me to just be present in every moment the best I can. 

I am going to return to the theater tomorrow and now I know that I can actually go up to the second floor and try to find some people. I am hoping there will be someone that speaks English, but if not that will be okay. So I have a full day tomorrow and then Sunday I get to see a performance from the actors at The Freedom Theater, which I am very excited about. 

Monday I will leave on The Freedom Bus. Sending much love from Jenin 

More Information