At a nonviolent communication workshop a couple of weeks ago, I participated in a session about how to deal with anger. The instructor told us to envision our bodies as fishing nets, and to let the anger pass through the way that water would. This is my practice. It seems to be working.
I know that my anger — and I call it my anger knowing fully how much I am identifying with it, clinging to it, examining it, holding it — is not a simple thing borne of my experiences. I’ve begun to internalize the conflict.
Living under occupation is not an easy matter to understand. I’ve only been here for 7 months, with limited language abilities, and gotten a small taste of the situation. Here is what I know:
- People here are incredible. I’ve experienced nothing but kindness, hospitality, love, and support from the friends I have made in Palestine.
- The occupation isn’t always visible, but it is insidious and pervasive. You might think that life feels normal, then suddenly a man gets shot point-blank in the streets by a soldier, or an Israeli warplane flies so low over the city that the buildings shake.
- I haven’t met anyone who is anti-Semitic. Every person who I have spoken with about the occupation wants to live in peace.
- Every single man I have met over the age of 17 has been arrested at least once, the majority without charges. They have been arrested by either the Israeli Occupation Forces and/or the Palestinian Authority.
- It’s easier for Palestinians to travel abroad than to go into Israel.
- The U.S. gives over $3 billion annually to support Israel’s military.
Peace and light to all. May we find calm and compassion for the wars that rage within and without us.