At home in Cambridge Massachusetts I am now recounting my trip to southeast USA with my photographic presentations about Palestine & Israel, in 15 parts, one for each day.
“Dying” in the lobby of the Israeli Consulate, 4 arrests for nonviolent “divine obedience” to the suffering of the Gazans
It is 5:11 AM, the train I ride seems about 1/4 full, mostly Black people, and only a few awake like me. Martha who married a Gazan man 7 or so years ago after meeting on an Internet Christian chat room hosted me. Very generously and graciously since she had short notice and we’d asked her to drive me to the station for the 5 AM train.
Driving to the station last evening to try to buy a ticket I noticed I’d been here before. Maybe on the first south tour, June 2007, ending the junket in Greenville and boarding a train home.
Pulling into Martha’s neighborhood I thought it recognized it as well. Later, walking, I concluded I’d not been here. I surveyed the neighborhood, an old mill workers’ residential area, with rudely built homes, and a factory, once a mill, which now seems to house a medical supply company.
I met Martha 2 years ago on my first swing south after the US Social Forum. She struck me as slightly odd, marrying a Gazan, passionate about the Palestinian cause, and totally ineffectual. Or so it seemed to me. But she came thru for this act of hospitality.
Earlier David B took me out for a long romp thru the woods around Brevard, high into the mountains for a look at a place called Three Falls. The day was warm, the trails relatively crowded, the falls partially iced from the recent frigid weather. Ice means white, water means black, thus, the falls were outlined and highlighted. Making a set of splendid photos, perhaps.
During the hike and while driving David confided to me more about “the deep hole I’m in.”
So we shared tales, me about X, Y, and M (leaving out F and Z) and he about his wife and his new woman friend.
We connected. As I do with most people on these trips, finding a piece of me that is in them, a piece of them that is within me. And they leave pieces of themselves with me, and I of myself with them. In this way we begin a conversation, interchange information, ideas, emotions, and build community. It is an unforeseen offshoot of these tours.
I believe I’ve truly advanced from an earlier stage of obsession over certain women. I’m not writing endlessly long letters—actually and in my head— to such as F and M. I allowed the last letter from M to mellow in my mind and heart, glancing at it from time to time, in no rush to answer it. Maybe I’ll let it mellow (or molder) for weeks. Maybe I’ll never answer it, just let it drift into oblivion, yet another of the 1000s of unresponded to messages from the heart.
Last night as I lay in the high bed Martha provided for me, after a shower, after washing my laundry (noticing I’d lost my blue Hike underwear, the type of underwear I love best), after eating fake fish and left over roast (without the meat) I realized thinking about the Gaza slide show: I’d left out a key part of the Gazan history: the Hamas takeover, both thru the election and the coup. So I simply opened the slide show and inserted the history. Without photos, unfortunately, because I have scant Internet access where I am now.
~The train is cruising breezily thru towns, often directly down the town’s vulnerable middle, and the southern countryside, North Carolina to Georgia, a 3 hour ride, soon in Atlanta. Others remain on the train and will this evening be in New Orleans. The whistle blows, the car rocks gently side to side. I await the opening of the lounge car so I can purchase coffee. Or maybe I’ll nap, last night was a short sleep.~
—February 8, 2009, Sunday, aboard the train from Greenville to Atlanta, the Crescent, NYC to New Orleans