This Is The Life

It is hard to believe one year ago this past Tuesday I traveled with Interfaith Peace-Builders to Palestine/Israel on a delegation with a focus on incarceration and detention to begin my journey of documenting "Through The Checkpoint".  Today, this year's delegation returns to the United States following their two-week journey bringing with them, I imagine, swollen hearts filled with astonishing stories, grief, compassion, righteous anger, hope, motivation to partner for change and the faces of many new loved ones, like I did.  You can read some of their reflections and view their photographs and videos here and find out how to join their olive harvest delegation here.

One of those faces and stories I still hold in my heart, whom I actually met on my fall travels last year is Ayman Al Fakhori, an astoundingly optimistic, hope-filled, inspiring young Palestinian man from Hebron in the West Bank who is a human rights defender working at the Hebron Peace Center.  

Ayman Al Fakhori, Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine

Ayman Al Fakhori, Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine

One's childhood in Hebron is regularly disturbed by a myriad of threats making education and even a youth fully possible. 

A Palestinian boy walking through a checkpoint on his way to school. Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

A Palestinian boy walking through a checkpoint on his way to school. Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

Palestinian children needing to be chaperoned to school by Christian Peacemaker Team volunteers for their protection from settlers and sometimes also soldiers.  Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

Palestinian children needing to be chaperoned to school by Christian Peacemaker Team volunteers for their protection from settlers and sometimes also soldiers.  Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

Now, as an adult, he experiences the occupation in a different way, but with similar challenges. 

The checkpoint leading to the Ibrahimi Mosque.  Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

The checkpoint leading to the Ibrahimi Mosque.  Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

Palestinians walk toward the checkpoint directly on the other side of the Ibrahimi Mosque, just meters from another checkpoint.  Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

Palestinians walk toward the checkpoint directly on the other side of the Ibrahimi Mosque, just meters from another checkpoint.  Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

Some people are provoked to express their resistance to the occupation through violence.

Ayman has been able to commit to other forms of resistance.

As for our choice?

You can also rest assured, when you are able to make your own journey to Hebron, you will have many houses to call home and many people to call family, "Ahalan wa sahlan". 

Ancient streets winding through the old city.  Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

Ancient streets winding through the old city.  Old City Hebron (H2), West Bank, Palestine.

 

PRAYER:

The weight of truth often seems too heavy to bear

The courage to proclaim it seems too vulnerable to risk

The will to catalyze change feels too weak

 

May we be liberated from our fears that bind and burden

That keep us separated from one another

Kindle the eternal light of love within our depths

That we were born with

That we were made of

That is our center, our grounding, our freedom, and our wholeness

 

By this power, strength radiates within us and emanates from us

We are awakened with desire to engage in all which works for

the unity and wholeness of all people and all creation

 

So, great Love, invigorate us with courage to risk responding to injustices

To labor for equality

To be bearers of compassion

Especially at this time, in solidarity with our Palestinian and Jewish Israeli neighbors

That we might live our true identity

Participating in the greatest gift of this life:

To love and be loved

 

ACTION:

Here is an excellent opportunity to help bring change to the futures of Palestinian youth, sign this letter to 'Urge your members of Congress to join Defense for Children International - Palestine and American Friends Service Committee for a congressional briefing on June 8 exploring what it means to live under military occupation for those bearing its greatest brunt: Palestinian children.'

PARTNER:

Interested in becoming a (tax-deductible) financial partner of "Through The Checkpoint"?  Fantastic!  You can do so HERE!