Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘suffering’

jim_harney_.jpg

Photojournalist, Advocate for the Undocumented : 1940 – 2008

“I could hear the five hundred pound bombs going off, and see A-37 jets that my country had sent down to El Salvador, and we were in a dirt floor hut and those who could read shared some scripture …, and one of them a mother breast feeding her baby, and the A-37 jets came in … And then the woman brought me out of the hut, and as the bombs were going off in the valley she pointed to the planes coming in and she said they come from a part of the world where people believe in a God of death. We believe in a God of the living, and when you believe in the God of the living, she said you end up doing things that you never dreamt yourself capable of doing. ” (Jim Harney)

JimHarneyKitchenJessicaBloch

Courtesy of Jessica Bloch and Bangor Daily News

JimHarneyTalkJessicaBloch

Courtesy of Jessica Bloch and Bangor Daily News

Sages are benevolent without trying,
trusted without speaking.
They gain without seeking,
succeed without striving.
They take naturalness to heart,
preserve ultimate reality,
embrace the Way,
and promote sincerity,
so the whole world follows them as echoes
respond to sounds;
as shadows imitate forms.
What they work on is the root.

—Wen-Tzu

Jim shared his apartment with me, “temporarily,” until I found a new home to buy. My home deal fell thru. That was in 1989. It is now 2015, 25 years since I moved in with Jim. He moved out around 1995 to live with Nancy, his life partner, in Bangor Maine. Jim influenced me greatly, not so much by the quality of his photography, but thru his dedication to the suffering caused by political ignorance and greed and the resistance this often engendered—and his use of photography.  Happily I remain where we once lived together, beholden to his example.

Nancy Minott

With Nancy Minott, photo by Skip Schiel, 2008

IMG_7621

With Louise Dunlap, photo by Skip Schiel, 2008

Meeting a woman selling organic blueberries at her roadside stand

Walking in Solidarity with the Undocumented, photo by Skip Schiel, 2008

Here’s an obit from 2008 in the Bangor Daily News. And from the Nation.

My good friend Louise and I walked with him for a few days on his last journey in August 2008. She introduced Jim and me, I will always be grateful to her for that connection. Curiously, I’ve found no online source for his photographic (or written) archive, a distinct loss. Vanished!

Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go. (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he [Peter] would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

—John, 21:18

LINKS:

Jim Harney’s Final Journal
Nancy Minott, Jim’s companion in life, discovered this journal that Jim kept the last summer of his life. Here are the first three segments shared. Pictures are from Possibilidad.

Jim Harney’s Walk in Solidarity with the Undocumented (Video)

Milwaukee 14 Today »James Harney

“The Long Walk,” written and sung by Chris Nauman

Some of my photos of Jim

My earlier blog (2008): Jim Harney Walks

 

 

Read Full Post »

Excerpts from my journal as I explore the situation in Palestine and Israel

Palestine_Israel-Nabi_Salih-Tamimi-Popular_Resistance-6740

 Bassam Tamimi with his daughters

Photos

The Freedom Bus project was not started as a way of doing touristic and artistic tours of the West Bank. And this is not why we joined either. It is helping us to understand more fully this occupation and to speak to Palestinians first hand. Our role as witnesses is to go home and share the reality on the ground, which is way too often distorted in mainstream media. We are not innocent and have to transform knowledge into action – action that has been called for by the locals themselves. They are asking for political support, which can be demanded and fought for back in our own countries. They are also asking for the support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which should be implemented on a personal level as well as in our schools, supermarkets, offices and nationally. As internationals we have a role and we can work in solidarity with the Palestinians to make a difference.

—Sama, one of the bus riders

March 20, 2015, Friday, Cinema Jenin Guest House, Jenin, Palestine

Cool, low 50s, 80% cloudy with altocumulus, slight breeze.

Yesterday [March 19, 2015] was another full day: breakfast at 8; at 9 various warm ups for team building on the outdoor stage of Cinema Jenin (touch-don’t touch partner’s knees; call out names during a rhythm game; stretch together; shake out; breathe, stop-go, down-up, referring to the occupation, and then the reverse as resistance; and share a feeling with the group; all good techniques to use during my later photography teaching); a lecture demonstration by Eyad Burnat from Bil’in about what to expect at today’s Nabi Salih demo (gas, bullets, arrests, etc); lunch at the Freedom Theater with an intro to the theater and freedom ride by Joanna; tour of the refugee camp including the cemetery with its martyrs’ markers, then to the horse statue (made of pieces of shattered ambulances, pointing north toward liberation); a brief talk by a bureaucrat about maintaining the camp; a stunning musical performance by beginning and advanced students at the Al Kamanjati music school; a playback performance there (I offered my Gaza kidnapping story); dinner at the cinema garden (sitting with lubna, the translator, and the shy quiet woman from Acca), and finally, after staff twice grabbed the wrong DVD’s, a screening of Arna’s Children about the founding of the Freedom Theater.

I’d seen the movie before so it looked familiar, but I recalled very little of it. I was puzzled by the time sequence and asked Jonathan, the managing director of the Freedom Theater, who suddenly appeared for the discussion, about this. Most takes place during the battle for Jenin in 2002. Arna died in the late 1990s of cancer, and the Freedom Theater opened in 2006. I set myself in the movie’s time frame and realized I may have visited the camp with the delegation one year after the fighting, and the theater opened during my early period in Israel-Palestine. In fact I may have first visited shortly after it opened.

Trying to sort out what I will bring on the Freedom Ride, realizing I may lack some vital things (like a sleeping pad, suggested by Bryan), with all we human beings jockeying for space, with virtually no sort-out space like my bed available, is—as was true during my various pilgrimages—daunting. But rather than this lasting for 1 year as with the Middle Passage Pilgrimage (retracing the transatlantic trade journey), this is only 12 days. Thus it is tolerable.

Maybe differing from the pilgrimages, especially the Middle Passage Pilgrimage, is the feeling of camaraderie, mutual support, shared mission, and above all else, exceptionally fine organizing. Unlike that pilgrimage this is not a first time effort. This tour is the 4th annual.

March 21, 2015, Saturday, Guest House/school, Bil’in, Palestine

Cool, mid 40s, clear, slight breeze.

We are in Bil’in (pronounced with the accent on the 2nd syllable, and adding a sort of grunt at the ‘ —Bil-hi-een.). I believe we are in a school or community room, men in the main room, women in 3 separate rooms, all on the floor, luckily with plenty of mattresses and cushions, relatively quiet after about midnight (Fidaa asked for quiet around 11, reminding me of when I tried this on the Middle Passage Pilgrimage and was angrily opposed), me again next to Bryan (as I’d been in the Jenin guest house, after I seemed to have swiped, in his view, his corner space and his cushions, a very curious relationship), all leading to a fair night’s sleep (but short, 6 hours). I am back in pilgrimage mode.

NabiSalihMapDetailedArrowsSM

Nabi Salih and the colony of Halamish

Yesterday we were at the village of Nabi Salih most of the day, for the demo, village walk around, and dinner. We heard of course from Bassam Tamimi, probably the chief leader, who gave a nuanced discourse about resistance. He joked that “we don’t need more tears, we have the tear gas.” Apparently he is originally from this village settled by Tamimi’s and is now filled with them, but in 2009 when the settlers in Halamish took over the village spring (on the other side of a divide), he returned to lead the resistance. His children are in the forefront of the struggle and were clearly the main presence at the demo when they loudly confronted the soldiers, all 4 sisters, ranging in age from about 6 to 11.

Palestine_Israel-Nabi_Salih-Tamimi-Popular_Resistance-6609

Halamish upper left, spring middle right, demonstration in the middle, Nabi Salih behind the photographer

As the sisters scurried up the hill, warned by the soldiers to leave within minutes or they’d be tear gassed, breathlessly one told me she could speak Hebrew and told the soldiers this was not their land, no one invited them here, the Palestinians were the rightful owners, and the soldiers and settlers should leave. To me she spoke in good English. Later she and 2 of her sisters spoke to our group, encouraged by their father and mother, electrifying us with their courage and articulation of the struggle.

Their mother, Nariman, was injured fairly recently, shot in the leg at close range with a tear gas canister. She used leg braces but attended the demo.

Unlike last week when the Israelis arrested 2 women and injured a boy, yesterday [March 20, 2015] they merely shot opening salvos of tear gas, and then allowed resisters to approach to about 5 meters, the kids closest, face-to-face with the army. I remained back, not at the very back where many stood on cliffs, but about 300 meters from the front line. Partly because I have trouble navigating the rocky hills, and mainly because I appreciated the new vantage point afforded by the elevation. Maybe a little confusion and fear as well.

Palestine_Israel-Nabi_Salih-Tamimi-Popular_Resistance-6626

Tamimi girls confront the soldiers

There I perched for about 30 minutes using primarily my telephoto lens, chatting with Lorenza, a young woman from Switzerland. So she could see the action better thru my long lens, we shared my camera from time to time. I felt I was photographing a tableau—lines of people constantly changing their geometry. (I thought of Henri Cartier Bresson, known for “the decisive moment,” his use of evolving human geometry in photography.) The kids, the acrobatics from one of the Freedom Theater members, the casually positioned soldiers, and the spring off to one side now developed by settlers. I used my wide lens to show the positioning of settlement, confrontation, and spring. I’d read about this but now could picture it.

Would the solders attack? A key question. This time, no, perhaps influenced by the large number of internationals, or perhaps wisely realizing, as police in the United States seem to be doing more now, that waiting out the demo is simplest, cheapest, and least likely to lead to negative publicity.

Writing this entry in the early morning, I sit now in the main room of the Bil’in center, leaning against the wall, cushioned by a pillow, on my sleeping bag and blanket (kindly lent by Ayman from the Jenin guest house), while others slowing awaken and rise.

Last night traveling here from Nabi Salih, the driver became lost. Which seemed to lead to a raucous songfest that disturbed me. I was sitting alone in the front, about 5 seats back, the front seats occupied by Palestinians, when they began singing. One woman in particular, who I’d earlier noticed seemed depressed, sitting sullenly and separately with her phone in hand, maybe not loving the bus experience, suddenly became suffused with wild energy. She jumped about, screamed, clapped her hands madly about her head, and was eventually subdued by the Palestinian with dreads. I thought she might be manic-depressive.

Later one of the men explained they sang traditional songs, often sung at weddings, similar perhaps to folksongs in the USA. This episode reminded me of terrible moments on previous trips, pilgrimages, especially the Middle Passage one, where the new living mode I’m subjected to just does not appeal. Let me off this bus, please!

During the spring of 1961, student activists from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) launched the Freedom Rides to challenge segregation on interstate buses and bus terminals. Traveling on buses from Washington, D.C., to Jackson, Mississippi, the riders met violent opposition in the Deep South, garnering extensive media attention and eventually forcing federal intervention from John F. Kennedy’s administration. Although the campaign succeeded in securing an Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) ban on segregation in all facilities under their jurisdiction, the Freedom Rides fueled existing tensions between student activists and Martin Luther King, Jr., who publicly supported the riders, but did not participate in the campaign.

—Freedom Rides in the United States during the freedom movement

Palestine_Israel-Nabi_Salih-Tamimi-Popular_Resistance-6495

On the wall of the Tamimi home

TO BE CONTINUED

LINKS

Freedom Bus blog

Read Full Post »

Ban-Islam-son

 Ban al Ghussain, Islam Madhoun, and their son, from their Facebook page

After the Israeli assault on Gaza, yet another, probably the most damaging, with Palestinian deaths topping 2,100 and injuries 11,200, most of them civilian, more than 106,000 displaced in UN shelters and with host families, one half million children unable to begin the new school year, restricted electricity and severely threatened water supplies, and with 71 Israeli deaths, 66 of them soldiers, and Israel’s astronomical financial and political costs, after a cease-fire, I wrote some of my friends in or from Gaza. Knowing electricity is often limited to 3 hours daily, I’m even more appreciative for their replies (and for those from my Israeli friends, living in Sderot and Netif Ha’asara within one mile of Gaza and under attack, and another in Jaffa, threatened while protesting the violence):

Thank you very much for your loving wishes and mail …  love you so much. I really hope to see you soon (Ban al Ghussain)

Gaza_Mina_port_Ban

Thank you my friend, miss you. I hope everything going to fine after ceasefire, See u in Gaza closely (Islam Madhoun)

Israel-Palestine-Gaza-

I hate the fact that we reunite only after a devastation hits Gaza. However, it’s always nice to hear from you. You are missing a lot in here my friend. Thus, you should come over as soon as you can. Meanwhile, Keep safe. (Hisham Mhanna)

HishamFather_2499

Hisham with his father, 2012

Hi dude! I hope u r ok. we hope it will lead to a permanent solution. u are mostly welcome…..just tell me when u come to celebrate your coming. stay safe. (Muntaser Abu Kmeil)

Muntaser Facebook
From his Facebook page
 
Mr. Skip, Thanks a lot.. We trust Allah, everything will be okay in shaa Allah We will heal our pain . Thanks for sending me (Suhair Hajjaj)
 
Suhair my secondary school in  copy
Suhair’s secondary school in Shuheya
 
Thank you Skip for your lovely and compassionate support of Palestine. Actually, you are one of the people who made the Palestinian justice work more lively in New England Area and beyond. I hope our paths will cross again soon. (Ayman Nijim)
 
Ayman facebook
 
Here are two other articles offering perspectives, the first from Rana Alshami in Gaza:
 
Whatever was going on in Gaza for the past 51 days has finally ended. People can finally breathe, sleep, live! My family and I lived and experienced the worst of times, but we are still alive. We survived….
 
 
And from Alex Cane, a form of reality check:
 
The cease-fire that ended seven weeks of hell in Gaza is only two days old. But the countdown to the next round began as soon as the ink dried on the agreement between Israel and the Palestinian armed factions….
 
 
This is what I earlier wrote Gazan friends:
 
with you perhaps i celebrate the extended cease-fire. i’m sure you’re relieved that you can now return to a relatively safe location and situation. “relatively” is a tricky word. will the cease-fire lead to the end of the siege, reconstruction of gaza, and freedom and a just peace after so many years of suffering? i pray for all this and for you personally.
 
my most recent blog outlines what might happen, a fantasy which could become a world-shaking reality.
I hope to see you again sometime next year, inshallah.
 
Your enduring friend,

Read Full Post »

Now, I can hear the bombings, shelling and air strikes every where in Gaza. Where is the situation is going?

—Dr. Mustafa El Hawi, Gaza City, August 19, 2014

Recently at a large gathering of New England Quakers, to a small group, a woman outlined her visionary response to the recurring violence in Gaza and Israel. Essentially: a group of Israeli Jews, spontaneously, recognize the desperate needs of their Gazan neighbors—and their government’s role in causing those needs. Addressing only the merciful side of the problem, not yet the justice side, they gather building materials, food, water, medicines, and other needed supplies and personnel intending to bring it to Gaza personally, an aid mission, not blessed by their government, nor by the majority of their fellow Israelis who overwhelming support the assault on Gaza.

Of course their government will not allow this citizen group to enter the Gaza Strip so they bring ladders, crowbars, sledgehammers, and a large number of determined people to the wall which imprisons their neighbors. They storm the wall and enter Gaza. This act of chutzpah gains much favorable international publicity, a new form of news from Israel and Gaza. Others from around the world spontaneously organize their own aid missions and successfully land on Gaza’s beaches, push back Egyptian security at the southern border, flood thru the breach in the Israeli wall, and reconstruct the Strip.

The wall between Gaza and Israel from Netiv Ha'asara

Gaza wall, click image for an enlargement

Far fetched? Speculative? A fantasy? Another good idea but is it possible? One small hint of reality occurred several weeks ago when Gershon Baskin, a Jewish Israeli-American activist, discovered a huge amount of potatoes in Israel that for various reasons might need to be abandoned. He organized a crowd-sourced fundraising appeal and hopes to generate some $730,000 to purchase and transport the potatoes to Gaza.

Potatoes1

According to the Jerusalem Post he launched “an online Indiegogo campaign aiming to raise the $730,000 necessary to purchase a 5,000-ton surplus of potatoes from the Israel Vegetable Growers Association. Due to union bylaws guaranteeing farmers a fair price for their labor, the association cannot simply donate the potatoes.” And Europe recently experienced a surfeit of potatoes so it is not a market. As of today, he’s raised a little more than one tenth his goal, $78,000, enough to buy and ship some of the surplus potatoes.

Baskin2

 Gershon Baskin

(UPDATE:  After asking the Israeli vegetable growers association to donate some of the potato surplus to Gaza they responded positively and agreed to reduce the price we will pay by 20%!!! That is a sizable amount of money and will enable us to increase the amount of potatoes we will send to Gaza’s neediest people! Spread the word!—Gershon Baskin)

Another precedent is post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans when groups such as the Common Ground Collective and later during Hurricane Isaac elements of the Occupy movement rallied to help reconstruct the city and fight for a fair disposition of resources, an exemplary combination of mercy and justice. Detroit’s problems might be at least partially alleviated by a similar grass-roots movement from outside the city, which is already occurring on a small-scale. The Detroit Water Project locates donors from outside the city to help pay Detroiters’ water bills. As of July 27 it has found 4,000 donors. Inside the city, organizations like the Boggs Center organize residents and visitors in social justice movements.

What a mind shift this could create in the international community. anti-Semitism is rising in Europe, the United States may follow. If such a vision were to be implemented, organized initially by Israeli Jews, the nation of Israel could be viewed differently: from criminal state, becoming a pariah, more and more hated internationally, to a benefactor, a rescuer. As many people rescuing Jews did during the holocaust.

I now extrapolate from the initial vision. Phase two would occur when others, more strategically oriented, realize this is only a partial solution. What prevents Israel from attacking again and maintaining the killing siege, or Gazan militants from firing missiles into Israeli civilian districts and building tunnels into Israel to attack the army and possibly civilians as well? This second phase could either organize appeals to the international court system and finally, finally, the case of Israel and Palestine comes to the International Court of Justice, while other elements of the case go to the International Criminal Court. Or, as in South Africa, organize a truth and reconciliation process, inviting elements from all parties to acknowledge suffering and admit complicity.

Israel_Palestine-Gaza-2013-2199

GirlLegWoman2006_7533

In a Gaza hospital, photo by Skip Schiel

SewagePipeSea2006_8195

Untreated sewage into the Mediterranean Sea, photo by Skip Schiel

Generators2010Gaza_Schiel_1825

Generators to supply electricity when municipal services fail

Once this second adjudication phase has begun, the third phase would be enacted: reparations from the responsible parties. After another Israeli operation, Defensive Shield, ravaged much of the West Bank in 2002, international donors like USAID paid for the repair and reconstruction. Why not the afflicting parties? Why not Israel itself, required to pay for the damage it brought? And perhaps a similar reparation program to compensate those injured, killed, and otherwise destroyed by criminal acts of Palestinian parties? Justice served, finally. Is it possible? A vision for a program?

(Thanks to Liberty G for the initial vision.)

I have a crazy fantasy.

Peace will come and filmmakers will produce movies about this war, too.

One scene: Israeli soldiers discover a tunnel and enter it in order to clear it of enemies. At the same time, Hamas fighters enter the tunnel at the other end, on their way to attack a kibbutz.

The fighters meet in the middle, beneath the fence. They see each other in the dim light. And then, instead of shooting, they shake hands.

A mad idea? Indeed. Sorry.

—Uri Avnery

Mural2010Gaza_Schiel_7001

Gaza2010DSC_2562

Mother2010Gaza_Schiel_7032

It was a great feeling to arrive on that boat [one of the first freedom boats sailing to Gaza in 2008], a feeling of freedom that I had never experienced. It was the first time in my life that I had visited home without the humiliation of being questioned or interrogated by the Israelis, without being threatened, having my travel documents thrown in my face, and not knowing whether I would be able to get out or not. It is a sense of liberation I hope every Palestinian will experience one day. I am proud of being one of the first Palestinians from the Occupied Territories to enter Palestine without Israeli permission since 1967.

Musheir El-Farra, the only Palestinian from Gaza sailing on August 21, 2008

LINKS

“Meeting in a Tunnel,” by Uri Avnery

Norway and Egypt to host donor conference for Gaza

“Anti-Semitism flares in Europe amid Gaza war,” by Janelle Dumalaon, Jennifer Collins and Angela Waters,

Repression against grassroots hurricane relief lingers in New Orleans,” by Jake Olzen, November 9, 2012

Detroit Water Project

Detroit Allows Outsiders to Pay Past Due Water Bills,” by Douglas A. McIntyre, July 27, 2014

$200K expected to fill Detroit water bill fund,” by Darren A. Nichols, August 18, 2014

“Son of Death,” by Uri Avnery

Read Full Post »

Gaza-violence-map

Gaza and the West Bank of Palestine and Israel

Brit Quakers 3

2014-08-04BathYMGBigTop-The Big Top at Yearly Meeting Gathering in Bath. | Photo- Photo- Trish Carn.

Epilogue, Monday 4th August Photo- Fran Lane

SCARF_Credit_Luke_Massey_1

The scarf lining the route between Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston and Burghfield | Photo: Photo: Luke Massey.

“Several hundred protesters [from Britain Yearly Meeting] were on hand Saturday, 9 August 2014, for the unfurling of an enormous pink scarf along the seven miles of road between the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield. The protest was intended to show the scale of opposition to Trident replacement in the UK.”

Quaker queries

A letter to my Quaker monthly meeting (and beyond), Friends Meeting at Cambridge, dear Friends,

At this summer’s New England Yearly Meeting sessions with its theme of witness, during the height of violence in Gaza and Israel, numerous Friends expressed deep concern to me personally (who many of you know has been directly connected with that region thru the American Friends Service Committee and other agencies), and in plenaries and interest groups. Yet—a huge yet—not a word that I heard from business meetings. No minutes of concern, no suggested responses, no debate, not even discussion. One possible reason for this silence is the fear of taking sides, or offending people, or diverting attention from proper business, or stepping outside the mandate of “spirituality,” or fostering division. And in our own monthly meeting, Cambridge, speaking out often counters similar resistance.

Martin Luther King Jr stated that silence is betrayal, or, alternately, silence is complicity.

British Friends during their yearly meeting, 2000 people strong, raised its voice. are they not a model for us?

Here’s how they began their bold statement:

Amid faltering ceasefires and talks, Quakers in Britain are calling for urgent action on Gaza. They urge the UK Government to recognise Palestine as a nation state; they call for a comprehensive arms embargo on all sides in the conflict and for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and occupation of Palestine.

The calls for action come in a statement made by the decision making body of Quakers in Britain, the Yearly Meeting, attended by 2,000 Quakers in Bath.  As part of their commitment to peacemaking, Quakers continue to challenge anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

  • The Yearly Meeting heard essential steps towards full and fair negotiations:
  • Palestine to be recognised as a nation state
  • An end to indiscriminate fire by all sides
  • A comprehensive arms embargo
  • An end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and blockade of Gaza
  • Freeing elected Palestinian leaders now held as political prisoners
  • The use of international law to hold all parties to account for their actions….

For the full statement.

And for general information from a reliable Quaker source: Quaker Palestine Israel Network, and Quakers with a Concern for Palestine and Israel.

And from the American Friends Service Committee.

FMC hs

Friends Meeting at Cambridge meeting house

Next-Steps-SM

Praying-for-Peace3-Textron

Meeting for worship outside Textron Industries, manufacturer of war munitions like cluster bombs, held monthly for nearly 6 years by Friends Meeting at Cambridge

British Quakers [in 2012] call for end to use of force in Gaza

Hague court under western pressure not to open Gaza war crimes inquiry” by Julian Borger

Israel bars Amnesty, Human Rights Watch workers from Gaza” by Amira Hass

One Result of the Gaza Conflict: Iran and Hamas Are Back Together” by Kay Armin Serjoie

Read Full Post »


header2

Directed by Tom Jackson of Joe Public Films, the 60 minute movie strives to open eyes and hearts to the reality of life in occupied Palestine. We dedicate our movie to the youth of Gaza, infancy to young adulthood, in hopes that they will soon experience, freedom, peace with justice, and the reality of “All we want is to be ordinary,” in the words of Mahmoud Darwish.

Eyewitness Gaza is a recent documentary movie about Gaza thru the photography of Skip Schiel. Between 2004 and 2010 he visited Gaza five times, shortly before and after Operation Cast Lead, the vicious Israeli assault on a virtually defenseless people trapped in the Strip and under siege since 2006. Because Israel justifies its ongoing attacks by citing the rockets fired by Gazan militants into Israeli civilian areas (Schiel opposes any attacks on civilians, and generally any use of violence by any party for any reason, an element of his Quaker and Christian beliefs), Schiel visited one of those towns, Sderot. less than 1 mile from Gaza. During two recent trips he has gained first-hand experience of life among Israelis, assessed trauma, and supported Israelis who contest some Israeli policies.

scroll

The movie is  downloadable (maybe not with the same quality as on PEG Media, noted below) on YouTube.

And on Vimeo.

To order DVD copies of the movie.

Three minute preview

Thru PEG Media Public Access TV stations and producers can download a full version of our movie, Eyewitness Gaza. First register as a user. Then find the fastest and most stable connection possible, though­­ otherwise it will take forever and if the connection is lost, one must begin again.

Register

Eyewitness Gaza download

About the movie (with a preview).

In addition to this movie, Schiel has published a book by the same title. And maintains a website and this blog. He is also available to tour with his slide shows and photo exhibitions. You can usually reach him at skipschiel@gmail.com and 617-441-7756.

Photos from the movie:

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.011

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.150

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.162

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.256

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.262

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.213

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.297 EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.174 EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.268 EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.269 EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.310 EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.321 EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.184

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.335

EyewitnessGazaMyPhotos.002

Read Full Post »

Woman shell GazaSM

Gaza, mortar fired by Israeli army into a farming area, 2009

FemalePalestine-8

In a Gaza hospital recovering from an Israeli sniper attack, 2004

boston-marathon-bombing

Boston Marathon bomb explodes, April 2013 (Courtesy Boston.com)

boston-terror

Boston Marathon bombing, April 2013 (AP Photo/The Daily Free Press, Kenshin Okubo)

Excerpts from my journal and letters as I explore the situation in Palestine and Israel (originally written on April 18, 2013)

WARNING: SOME IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC AND MIGHT BE UPSETTING

Residing in Gaza, 7 times zones from Boston, I first learned about the Marathon bombings from my friend, S in Boston, whose friend was caught between both explosions. Her friend was certain she would die. I heard more from other friends in Boston and then when I arrived at the American Friends Service Committee office where I volunteer as a photographer and teacher of photography on Tuesday, April 16, 2013, one day after the bombing, I discovered most staff had heard about it, usually from news feeds on their smart phones. Apparently it is worldwide news.

Israel_Palestine-Gaza-American_Friends_Service_Committee-2162

Israel_Palestine-Gaza-American_Friends_Service_Committee-2156

American Friends Service Committee office, Gaza, April 2013

Israel_Palestine-Gaza-American_Friends_Service_Committee-2141

Gaza, March 2013

The AFSC staff here has been supportive of me—asking how I am, what I know, how I feel, etc. Never comparing it to violence here. But saying in effect, an injury to one is an injury to all. I do believe that suffering can enable compassion. The bombing reminds me of the Haymarket bombing in Chicago in the late 1800s. As some may recall, it led to a wave of arrests and several executions despite the lack of evidence. Yesterday’s anarchists, today’s terrorists.

ChiHaymarket1

I remain deeply troubled. I weep and feel anger at the same moment. Especially troubling is the cruel irony of so many legs lost at a marathon. Imagine: one moment, as you stand in the crowd marveling at how human beings can use their legs, perhaps feeling fatigued from standing so long waiting for friends to cross the finish line, thinking, how can I stand for one more moment—and then boom, no legs. Or feet or ankles.

boston-marathon-bombing-man-missing-leg-wheelchair

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BostonBombingWheelChair

(Courtesy dailymail.co.uk)

Now we might expect another round of fear-base hysteria with its consequent tightening of security.

Already a report in The Jewish Press, “Gaza Arabs Celebrate Boston Marathon Attack with Dance, Candies:” Shortly after the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, the Arabs of Gaza danced in the streets, handing out candies to passersby, Israel News Agency reported….

Perhaps, but I witnessed or heard nothing like this. And among my friends and colleagues the precise opposite.

pic-gaza copy

IF

Gaza, the aftermath of various Israeli attacks, including white phosphorus (photos from the Internet)

From the director of the AFSC program in Gaza, Amal Sabawi:

Dear friends and colleagues in US,  

We think of you and feel your pain , and think about the innocents people who are the victims of violence and unlawfully murder . We hope that you, your families ,  your children and friends be safe and secured , we pray that peace would prevail in this world and end the suffering of millions of innocents on this earth

You are in our hearts and  thoughts

Love and peace is stronger than wars , on this earth what makes life worth living

Gaza with love

img_2831-12

Amal Sabawai

Teaching photography in Gaza, May 2003

Skip Schiel teaching photography in Gaza, 2005 c (photo by Ibrahem Khadra)

Gaza_Mina_port_2562

Gaza, 2010

TO BE CONTINUED

LINKS

Haymarket Affair

Roseann Sdoia, Boston Marathon Bombing Amputee, Strides Forward” (PHOTOS) By Bridget Murphy, June 6, 2013

“Boston Marathon Terror Attack Fast Facts,” By CNN Library, June 9, 2013

Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli assault on Gaza, December 2008-January 2009 (Institute for Middle East Understanding)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »