The seed of mystery lies in muddy water. How can I perceive this mystery? Water becomes clear through stillness. How can I become still? By flowing with the stream.
Two extremely different dreams recently, sleeping in a hotel room while part of the International Solidarity Movement training for non-violent activists. Almost immediately upon sleeping I dreamt of my mother, Pearl, one of my rare mother dreams—she or I was malevolent. I don’t recall exactly how this occurred but we were deeply antagonistic toward each other. I remember her or me stalking off after a vicious argument. I believe I awoke nearly trembling, not with rage but with sadness and remorse. Then later, my last dream of the night, as I slowly came awake to the morning fog and light: I observed 2 men I knew well (not knowing who they are now, maybe BN one of them) had missed each other, then decided to jog. In jogging—and somehow I was right alongside them, maybe in a car—they crossed paths. This was thru grass, on a slight hill, along a reservoir or lake. One turned to greet or meet the other. There seemed to be reconciliation.
I wrote this in a small hotel not too far from Ramallah central, with 3 other ISM neophytes being trained for duty on the front lines. Our trainers are a married couple, she US, he Palestinian. The training is excellent, something I should have gone thru on an earlier trip. For instance: discussion of terms, such as neighborhoods or illegal settlements. And spectrums of non-violence violence and effective ineffective. We’d place our bodies on the continua after listening to various scenarios, like rock throwing. And media, various forms ISM uses such as the press release, article or report, and journal. Also how to follow up with the materials, schools, churches, etc. They use the popular education model of discourse so the presentation is highly interactive.
My co neophytes seem committed and experienced. One, B, knows Agape, one leader, S, knows many of the Boston to Palestine group in Boston. It is a small community. Yesterday morning, sitting outside the Faisal hostel near the Damascus Gate, eating lunch in the outdoor café on the corner, I had the distinct feeling I’d meet someone I knew if I lingered long enough. A group of mostly older white women walked by and I recognized one white haired woman. She recognized me eventually and we discovered we knew each other from neym, MY. They were the Interfaith Peacebuilders’ delegation led by Scott K and Adam H that I’d hoped to link with later. MY and I lunched together, laughing about the synchronicity.
Weapons used by Israel against non violent activists
Finding N and the ISM office proved taxing, I nearly panicked. Riding a small bus from East Jerusalem, me fully loaded with 3 months of gear, cruising past Kalandia checkpoint not even seeing it, reveling in the new USAID-sponsored Jerusalem-Ramallah rd that had been destroyed by tanks during the 02 Defensive Shield operation, riding on that bumpy rd many times, my equipment jarred and perhaps injured, I was happy to experience the new smoothness. Despite the delays caused by construction. But when we arrived at the bus destination, the bus stand next to the Ramallah Friends high school where the police station had been hit by a missile during the 02 invasion, I decided to take a taxi to find N.
Her directions proved insufficient. Confusion, largely because of language with the driver. He crazily searched, going from side to side of Ramallah. I’d removed or not inscribed any contact data that might be discovered by airport security and had forgotten to later write in my notebook that info. So I didn’t know how to contact N for directions. My mobile phone was deep down in my luggage, it would have her number. But I finally remembered my computer and that I’d remembered to download the contact info I’d sent myself by email. I opened my computer, found the number, had the driver contact the office, and Walla, eventually I found N.
Who hurriedly told me about the training, invited me to join it, saying I could crash at the office even without the training but eventually I’d have to take it. I could join the training in progress and later return to the office to reside. This was my choice, rapidly made. I’m now grateful for it because of the knowledge, contacts, and respite in the hotel room. Here I can wash, write, do yoga, sip cold coffee, fart, and linger without my shorts on. A rare moment when on assignment.
A later dream if I can recall it after rising early in the International Solidarity Movement media office, sipping Joe, writing D and L, two of my closest friends. It was winter. Water had frozen to shiny ice over an entire region of land. This forced evacuation of the Ramallah Friends School and other places. As part of the evacuation I found a new site, then had to move because of recurring problems. I was calm, understanding, patient, loving throughout.
This seems an apt preparation dream for my current travels. An emergency requiring hasty action. Switching plans. Going with the flow. Not worried, managing. Exactly how I’m feeling now.
Sleeping over temporarily at the ISM media office in Ramallah, on the floor, with about 10 others, mostly I think Germans, after a concert of Another Voice, the counter concert to One Voice. Activists who abhor what they call normalization forced cancellation of One Voice. That was the one voice concert to be held in Jericho along with a parallel concert in Tel Aviv. Normalization means are any projects, measures, actions that imply acceptance of the occupation, as many felt One Voice had. One Voice had the support of many Israelis, including Likud members of the Knesset, and it required signing a pledge that discharged many of Israel’s international obligations.
Hip hop group
I’m working on the Gaza permit, and last evening, on the way to a local tavern for late night drinks with my housemates, I met two folks who feel maybe qualified to teach writing in Gaza. A slim chance of their receiving permits since both have been arrested multiple times during ISM-supported non-violent direct actions. But this suggests that if I continue to mention the American Friends Service Committee wishing for writing teachers I might find someone.