|The demo Friday was back at Kharbata, the village next to Dir Kadis. I stayed overnight in Ramallah to be with Neta in case she went into labor--which she still shows no signs of doing. On a Friday, there are few busses or services going out to the villages, because it's the holiday. So I was forced to hire a private taxi, which proved fortunate. We wound again through the beautiful countryside, on our way to Budrus to meet up with the team. But we were stopped at a new checkpoint--just a few soldiers and a jeep, but they wouldn't buy my story that I was an academic going to interview women in Budrus--or maybe they did but had orders not to let anyone in. We turned around, and went to another road, in the inimitable manner of Palestinian taxis searching to avoid checkpoints--dodging down half-finished roads still under construction, turning into a farm road through the olive groves here and there, but finally being turned back at a second checkpoint. At that point I asked if it were possible just to go to Kharbata, and not try to reach Budrus first. My driver asked another driver, then a man on the street in the village, and said that it was. I called Perla to double check that that was our destination, and she said it was, but then called me back just after we arrived to suggest we go to Dir Kadis instead, as they would be passing through and pick me up. My driver sighed, and took me there, leaving me in the center of town near a small roundabout.||
||The demonstration was gathering on the street, and we all marched off together, back toward the fields where the Israeli military had been working the day before. Today we were able to walk on the dirt road that followed the ridge, making for much easier going. But when we got there, the work had stopped. We found only the skeletons of olive trees, dozens of them with branches and leaves chainsawed off, leaving stark silhouettes against the sky. The people of the village picked up the branches and began marching with them, waving them in anger and anguish against the sky. Young boys climbed the skeleton trees, holding the branches tall as if they could restore them to life. I kept looking from the thick-trunked, ancient, full-branched trees that were still intact to the black, bone skeletons, and filled with a slow, simmering rage. Olive trees can live for a thousand years. Perhaps you need to have planted, pruned, and tended some to appreciate what a treasure an ancient olive represents, what a tangible gift of the ancestors, providing abundance, food, oil, and fuel from this stony land. To cut them down is to take away the very roots of these people's livelihood, to destroy what sustains a culture and a way of life, and life itself.|
"Yesterday I was 50 or 60 meters away from the soldiers,"
says a tall man standing near me. "I kept the shebob
from throwing stones. There was no violence against
them, and I was talking to one of them, negotiating,
trying to make him understand. Then he walked away,
and threw a tear gas canister at us."
I am trying to think if there is anything I can suggest that might help these people have a demonstration that will somehow feel like a success, in some small way. I ask if they ever use flags to gather people, to help them regroup. "Yes, we do that sometimes," the man who seems to be their leader says. "That's a good idea."
to Starhawk's Home Page]