The Israeli authorities have issued a deportation order for next Wednesday April 10th.
On Friday, March 29th i was on a solidarity walk with the Freedom Bus and community members from five Palestinian villages in the South Hebron hills. The army came to disrupt our peaceful walk. I was arrested and charged with interfering with soldier's search of Palestinians, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.
Fortunately, leading up to the arrest I was with an absolutely beautiful, loyal and inspiring group of people. In spite of the chaos the police and army caused, we supported each other vigorously and nonviolently in attempt to remain free and continue the walk. It could have been many of the international people there or many of the Palestinian people we were accompanying who was arrested, but that day it was me. I am grateful for this because if it had been any of the community members they could have been detained for long periods of time without even being charged, tortured, fined large sums of money, or worse.
It was the music of footsteps and patience. It was the music we had made gathered in circles on the hilltop singing love songs surrounded by the army and the m-16s. it was the music of laughter. It was the music of pouring tea and telling stories of loved ones far away. It rose and fell with my heavy breathing and throbbing head. it calmed me. it was the music of fearless women we walked with bursting through lines of heavily armed elbows and sneers. It was the music of Kifaa saying that all people everywhere who struggle for human dignity are family, we are as bread and salt.
the prayer calls faded and the music rose inside me. the long sad minor chords of hours and days and years our family spend in jail cells . I shivered. it was the music of loneliness but not aloneness. the echo of a drum waiting for another drum to answer. It was the music of Laura's love for life. her voice raising in her native tongue to demand that our mexican american brother be released from the unjust grasp of the authorities. her persistent push past the border police to grab onto me before i could be taken away. her arms grasping me so tight and declaring she wasn't letting go. at its root, the music is a love song.
the music in Sonja's strength as the soldier twisted her leg, tearing her minuscus, unable to stop her solidarity. the music of Aliyah's eyes when she dove down onto the ground to interlock her arms and mine as the soldiers tried to take me. the strength she sang of i will not let go as they tazed us both, the high notes of trust that she gave me as guns where shoved into my chest, i said its ok, you can let go. she aked me, are you sure? i said, yes. and she spoke with the unwavering love of a comrade on the long walk: i love you. said we loosened our arms and we're pried apart. i love you i replied as i was wrestled up into the truck. this is the music.
i am not surrounded by concrete and metal door of the cell anymore as i write this. but still, the music tells whispers to me of where i stand in history, on the shore between free and encaged. because the music can only be honest, it sings of this place of half freedom. the music promises in whispers, the tragedy of another house, another well, another mosque being demolished in the south hebron hills, the tears of mothers. the beat speaks of cages, i am not free while my brothers are hunted as criminals by the NYPD (nyc police department) and militias on borders everywhere. And still, within the same song, the rhythm grows loud and brilliant with the freedom of being able to look straight into the eyes of every human and promise what i know: we are together.
the bitter sweet brokenhearted beautiful music of half freedom. free to listen to the wisdom of my elders and the youth, but not to pass the checkpoints to where many of them live and die. free to build bridges between people and celebrate both sides, but not free to walk across while so many are made to swim. the music always crosses the border on foot. so full of the melodies and courage, we wade in. sometimes they will fire bullets into this water, sometimes they will drown us with fences and walls. someday they too will understand they must cross with us to a new place and the bullets will lay sleeping. but for now, here we are- full of music, still walking.
the walk is rebuilding our homes, our educating each other to appreciate and honor diversity, our long hard conversations to face and destroy racism, our using poetry and elbow grease and the privileges that come with passports and skin until all rights and privileges are shared. the walk is our gratitude for being able to breathe, our creative direct actions to stop war and occupation, our patience with each other. we are still walking.
This is the solidarity walk that i was on in the South Hebron Hills and it cannot be interrupted by an arrest or deportation or even a ten year travel ban. because when you walk with music like this, you feel every baby step of struggle and tiny triumph of dignity as our shared victories. when we feel the music within, we dance without thinking.
As I write this, the army is firing living ammunition on a crowd at a funeral for three people they killed in Hebron near where I was held. the music of half freedom that i felt surrounded by can be overwhelming. but to hear it, feel it and know its power is the most precious gift i can ask for because it connects me to you. all of you.
it is the music of footsteps and patience and love.
Thank you again for your love and support. Please feel free to post this anywhere and everywhere. there is also a lot of video and photos of the incident i will try to send along. This is of course, not just a report back to my friends and family, but an invitation to each of you to join the freedom bus. if you can't do it here, i know already most of you are doing it somewhere. and wherever it is, the same music is playing out its windows.
i'd say be home soon, but i'm already there.
we are together,