Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's In Cairo 1/1/10

note: this entry was written while we were still in Cairo but I was unable to post it until now - I wanted to document the other "actions" between our group and the Egyptian civilians on the street.

While the Gaza Freedom March is getting much press the story behind the scenes that you won’t hear is how many of the people of Cairo are cheering us on . Women and men, young adults and older, stop to thank us in different ways. They flash the peace sign as they drive by our protests. They quietly say “Thank you for all you are doing” as they pass on the streets. We get a thumb’s up from college kids who admire what we are doing and want to learn more about our work.

Our NY Group is hard to miss when out on the streets – all of us in black tee-shirts with some version of “We will not be silent” on our chests, we stand out like a family at a reunion in a park (and we are beginning to feel that kind of solidarity as well). When we were standing outside earlier tonight, a young man made a point of rushing back after he had passed us to say, “I am so proud of you!”

Just tonight, as Pia and I were walking home from dinner (well sort of dinner in that we are slowly breaking our fast), several people approached us to let us know how much they appreciate what we are doing. The sidewalks are incredibly crowded and the traffic so dense that walking down the street is an adventure in itself. As we navigated our way back to our hotel, several small groups of people stopped us to say, “Shukron”, “Gaza Freedom March – yes!” We stopped at a bank tonight and this young woman about 22 years old, with impeccable English introduced herself as Hafsa. She asked us if we were part of GFM and, “How can I get involved? I have so many ideas, I want to do something!” We must have talked for about 30 minutes and she still had more ideas to share including how to gain access for Viva Palestina through the Suez and how to turn human waste into fuel for Gaza! Hafsa and her friend wore hijab, as most of the women do here, which made her earnestness all the more convincing. And I felt inspired by her. We exchanged email addresses and I know we will be in touch.

So, all of this is such a reminder that no matter what action one takes, the effects are broad and deep. This trip has served to intensify my resolve for peace in Palestine and for all people searching to make the world more just. And many of us are finding each other to share in this work even in the most unexpected places.


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