THE VERY LEAST I CAN DO

Sophia Har (Washington, DC)

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It's been tough. Writing this is tough. The words that are currently coming to me fall far short of the outrage and grief I feel. There is so much to say, but the event that is fresh in my mind - and in my ears - is yesterday’s attack on Muslim worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli government. 

We had just boarded our bus to head back to the hotel for dinner today when we heard the voice on the radio: Israeli soldiers had just stormed the mosque, firing rubber bullets and injuring 40 people. (That number has since surpassed 100 following more violence.)

What? How is this happening? No more than five hours ago had we cheered upon hearing that people had begun entering the mosque. Our Muslim siblings on the delegation could go after dinner! Allahu Akbar! God is great! Plans had been made, hearts gladdened.

And then this. Devastation. Desecration.

Today, a member of our delegation asked advocates for the release of all Palestinian prisoners: "How do you keep your sanity?"

Their answer: "It's normalized."

As in, this is our reality, and we have to live with it. We have to live. We have to. 

I was struck by their resilience. And I was so angered that this was the way to deal with what Israel does - and gets away with - without losing sanity.

Getting arrested for sharing your political views on Facebook shouldn't be "normal". Dodging rubber bullets while you were in the middle of praying in a place of worship shouldn't be "normal".

The atrocities and human rights violations Israel has committed against Palestinians are no secret. Anyone can Google these things. Yet Israel gets away free while 11.2 million Palestinians here and around the world risk everything - their very lives. 

The very least I can do is to bear witness to their resistance.