The Ongoing Nakba: a brief letter about my heart attack

friends in the struggles,

because of a recent discussion with quaker colleagues about how to motivate people to fight for palestinian human rights, i thought you might be interested in one of my heart connections with the issues of palestine-israel, what i call a “heart attack”—a provocation or incident that pierces my heart so fiercely that i can not not actively resist israel’s extremely unjust, inhuman, illegal, and vomit-inducing treatment of the palestinians.

i’ve met nabeel al kurd and mohammed sabagh several times over my many trips to palestine-israel, frequently dropping in on them in their homes in the jerusalem neighborhood of sheik jarrah, and joining demonstrations, often organized by jewish israelis to stop the demolitions. here’s my most recent photo set and accompanying blog, if you have time to consider what grounded my heart attack, renewed my flame of advocacy.

then this article published yesterday (March 28, 2021). it stimulated me to write you. in it you can read the most recent attempt by israel to eject palestinians from homes in sheik jarrah they’ve legally and rightfully lived in for decades. and then allow israeli settlers to move in. my two friends, nabeel and mohammad, and their families are again at risk. with the whole world mostly not watching, settlers, protected by israeli police and soldiers, frequently evict palestinian owners and residents. i’ve followed this and a multitude of similar stories since i began my photographic witness in the region in 2003: the word impunity for me sums up the policies and behaviors of the israeli government—with generally wide mainstream support by jewish israelis. and strong support from the united states administration (including the current biden administration) and congress. with notable and possibly growing exceptions.

Settlers arrive at the El-Kurd home after half of it was evicted in 2009.
 Oren ZivActiveStills

btw, i use the term to describe what i believe are the three stages of political action:

1. awareness—the embers

2. heart attack, ie, something so heart-piercing that i can no longer remain inert—the irresistible spark

3. activism—the fire in the belly, unquenchable.

in my view, heart attack—not suffering one but encouraging one—is the key factor shifting people from thinking to doing, from talking the talk to walking the talk.

Rebelled Spirits by Njat El-Taji ElKhairy

Palestinian Refugees & their Ancestral Homes-Threats of Expulsion in Sheik Jarrah (part one)—June 5, 2019 by skip schiel

The Case of Sheikh Jarrah (United Nations, Oct 2020)

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