THE POWER OF WORDS

Callie Weston (El Paso, Texas)

Carol Marsh D61 67.JPG

During our trip, all who spoke to us chose their words deliberately and explained why they selected one word over another. It had its effect. Those of us who previously referred to a "security fence" soon shifted to refer to such a barrier as an "apartheid fence." 

Here, in no particular order, are the words that were new to me:

human rights
normalization
demolition
annexation
settlers
ideological settlers
colonists
security fence/wall
apartheid fence/wall
occupation
colonization
gentrification
action
demonstration
judaization
intersectionality
interactive
human dignity

Other words surfaced during group orientation, as well as when processing our experiences, analyzing our own interactions with each other and thinking how we will share observations for action and strategize with the community. Here are some of those:

collective space
intergenerational trauma
microaggression
trigger
unpack
unwind
move in space
evict
dispossess

And while reading the Washington Post I realized how slippery the word "normalize" is. Normal for Israel is domination through colonization and abuse; for Palestine it is self-determination, justice and human dignity.

These are only my words. Every member of the delegation probably has their own words or phrases that opened a deeper understanding of themselves and the struggle for human dignity we were witnessing. The very word "Palestine" now has a richer more nuanced meaning than I could ever have anticipated.