Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In struggle and anticipation

It's dark and rainy here in Geauga County Ohio. Next week at this time I will be in Amman Jordan with Nic, Helaine and Jesse. So I spent this afternoon gathering my music and found some old recordings from the first Greenpeace concert in 1970. My brother John posted a link and I thought I would give Amchitka, as the concert is known, a listen.

I was 19 years old and a student at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I'd transferred from Wisconsin after a year of strikes, National Guard deployments onto the campus, tear gas, and learning, for the first time, about imperialism.

Soon after arriving at Antioch I learned about Zionism. Twelve of us sat crowded in the living room of a small damp house where the campus radicals lived. For three hours a professor, who was also a professed revolutionary, lectured about how Israel had come into being. He explained how it was a political doctrine created in the late 1800's.
I do not remember moving from my seat. Hearing about the terror upon which Israel was established...the stolen land...the Stern Gang...the role of the big powers...I was forever changed.

I listened well and went on to speak at teach-ins and demos in support of the struggle of the Palestinian people. In 1973 I moved to kent, Ohio and with a group of students who were part of the Attica brigade formed a student group called "Jewish Americans in Support of Palestine." Our preferred method of organizing was to go door to door in the dorms. Some people wanted to hear our rap, many others wanted to cause serious bodily harm! But we were young and undaunted and
very commited to the truth and very good at running down hallways!

My ex-husband and I hosted anti-Zionist seders at my apartment for a few years. I look back and and can remember every detail of the first meal when 24 Palestinian and Iranian students showed up (and no one else)and got their first look at gefilte fish. We ended up ordering pizza and talking long into the night, getting to know each other and finding common dreams and struggling over questions for which there were no simple answers.

Those were days when everything and anything seemed possible and though my memory is vague I think we simply assumed that by the time of this letter the Palestinians would have returned home.

So, this trip, this journey, this Gaza Freedom March is a matter of my heart and of not letting go of an old promise made over lousy pizza in 1970, in a room full of people who were great friends who had just met, to stand up and speak out until Palestine was free.

The music of those times has stood the test of time and, I hope, so have I. I am honored to be traveling to the Gaza Freedom March and to be going with all of you, new friends, great friends, though we still have not yet met.Can't wait to get there.

In struggle and anticipation,

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