IMAGINE all the people…

HebronImagine, if you can, that you live on Capitol Hill in Washington.  You and your family and neighbors are part of an established community of 25,000 people.  You are “the 25,000.”

Imagine that 500 people move into your neighborhood, “the 500,” because they believe God promised to them millennia ago the land on which you live.

Imagine that the U.S. and DC governments fully support “the 500” and implement a series of policies that restrict how you lead your daily lives, your mobility, your opportunity to work, to shop, to relax.

Imagine that, because of “the 500,” all of the stores and restaurants on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, from 2nd Street to 10th Street are closed, their doors welded closed so owners and employees cannot enter.

Imagine that in a 30 square block area along that same piece of Pennsylvania Avenue, you are prohibited from driving your car or walking on the streets, that if you live in that area you must make your way by scrambling across rooftops, relying on neighbors for exits to the street.

Imagine that in order to get to your job, to take your children to school, to shop, to worship, you must pass through military checkpoints that have no set rules or processes but rather are arbitrarily changed from day to day.

Imagine that you have lived through over 300 days of curfew, when you literally cannot leave the interior of your home, even to be in your garden, with only limited, arbitrary weekly opportunities to shop.

Imagine that when, in more relaxed time, you are able to go to the Eastern Market to shop, there are five story high apartment buildings on each side – and that the residents regularly throw trash, garbage, feces and bleach down on you.

Imagine that there is no protection for you from the police or the military, that there is little media coverage of the realities of your daily life, that the rest of the U.S. simply does not care about what is being done to you.

Imagine that “the 500” and the state that protects them and oppresses you have as their ultimate goal to drive you – all of you, the “25,000” – from your homes by making life so hard, so unpredictable, so humiliating, that you will give up and leave.

Imagine being brave enough to stay.

If you can imagine all of that, then you can imagine what it means to be a Palestinian (“the 25,000”) in the ancient city of Hebron in the occupied territories known as the West Bank.

This is my witness.  It is not in my imagination.  It is the reality that I learned about today.

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4 thoughts on “IMAGINE all the people…

  1. Thanks Ken for your powerful witness re: Hebron. I have never heard the Shuhada Street crimes described put more effectively over 30 years. This should be published more widely (maybe Huff Post?). We are all glad you are recovered. Peace, Tom G

  2. Thanks for this post, Kenn. And for all the posts by the pilgrims. It has facilitated the “virtual pilgrimage” of Gretchen and me. In that regard, we saw two very good movies yesterday, one at our local Avalon Theater and one on Netflix. The first was Zaytoun. It is the story of the relationship that grows between an Isreali F-16 pilot downed over Lebanon, and a Palestinian boy who is involved in his capture and wants to go to his family homeland in Israel. The second was The Other Son. It is about the relationship between two young men and their families, one raised as an Israeli Jew and the other raised as a Palestinian, when they discover that were switched at birth. Both very good.
    It sounds like you are having a very meaningful trip. We will be anxious to hear all about it when you return.
    Love and Peace. Dave Willson

  3. Thank you so much for your reflections. I eagerly await your postings each day. I read them with great interest. I find them poignant, troubling and meaningful; and I can only imagine how your pilgrimage will affect your spiritual journeys in the days to come. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with each of you. Blessings and Thank you. Scilla

  4. Kenn. Thank you so much for your “Imagine…” piece. It touched my heart and my soul cried. I am quite sure Soul’s can cry! Never have I experienced such a incredible image of bringing life there to life here. I live in Colorado and your images work here as well. With your permission, I would like to use this – modified – to describe life in Hebron or villages in the West Bank. I don’t go to St. Mark’s but I lived in Jerusalem at the same time Tom and Karen were there. As an aside I was a novice rider on one of the Wyoming Bishop’s rides and watched with envy at Maureen who was at one with her horse. Blessings, Mary-Page Jones

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