Sunday, January 17, 2010

First Cleveland Reportback and Slideshow Summary

did my first slide show and presentation last night....while it was only 10 people, that's not too bad for was very interesting....lots of struggle about the question of "security" of keeping people safe FROM the Palestinians (e.g. "doesn't Israel HAVE to build the security wall to keep people safe?") This was very contentious, though, interestingly, the audience was open and were basically aghast at what is being done in Gaza and to the Palestinians. People have no sense of history, no understanding of the enormity of the actual injustice and outrage that has been done. Actually, the participation of Hedy Epstein and things she said were very important to people. This group was a combo of some friends of mine who work in hospital admin, and some people I had not known, including a doctor, a graphic designer, and a couple of unemployed artists. There was a lot of amazement at the makeup of GFM...people were very taken with the faces of people who had come from around the world and that they were not just young but a mix...also with people's convictions and willingness to fisk their personal safety.

The thing that strikes me is how BIG a problem this "we have to be safe" thinking is...linked to 911, there is almost an implicit fear that the Palestinians represent 911...that, in fact, all Arabs do...people will not just put that out but they do deep going "BUT BUT doesn't everyone have the right to be safe?" When I said, "Don't the Palestinians have a right to be safe from being starved out, bombed out, terrorized?" they got quiet and one older woman said, "I rarely try to put myself in their shoes and I do not know their lives and circumstances." This led to a really heavy discussion on what this siege means, down on the ground, and why everyone in this room, if they care about justice and what's right, need to learn and extend themselves to demanding an end to the siege. Towards the end, a guy (one of the artists) said "the things going on in Gaza that you're telling us about sound a lot like the Warsaw ghetto."

Photos were really important, even though my slide show was pretty basic (ummm, crude) and shown on a laptop (needs to be projected bigger). I would also like to do a slideshow with some music...some of what was sung during the GFM including Bella Chow, and maybe some Egyptian music composed by an Egyptian friend of mine who is prof at kent State, and maybe some more...I so wish I had a really compelling 10 minute film....Fred? :))))))))))))))

I don't know why, but I was torn between being happy about this reportback and pretty sad...missing all of you, wondering how we can change this when change is so small and incremental in that room...and then I thought of Laurie's quoting...history is on the side of those who fight for justice....maybe also with Haiti events front and center, there are overwhelming feelings...the biggest one of which is how important the work is that all of us are doing.

love to you all,

No comments:

Post a Comment