Today our delegation met with a Palestinian family who expressed a view of themselves, the reality that they find themselves in, and their vision for the future, that inspired and encouraged me.
I knew I was going to learn a lot on this delegation, but hearing a message that resonates with my personal experience and aligns with the African American struggle in the US has been uplifting and reaffirming.
Hearing from Daoud from the Tents of Nations has expanded my view on what it means to be resilient in the midst of an oppressive and dehumanizing struggle.
Daoud and his family have systemically and institutionally been denied rights to build, to move freely about their lands, to access water, to live with dignity and to live their lives without the very real threat of persecution, violence and possible death. Yet, he and his family have chosen a different path, have consciously decided to resist the occupation, and to challenge oppression with a tenacious determination to reimagine what their lives can be like in spite of the very real horrific situation they live under.
Daoud and family have been in a fight for their land in the Israeli courts for 27 years, have withstood destruction of over 250 fruit trees just two weeks before harvest, have been threaten at gunpoint, have not been allowed to build or pipe in water on their land and have had access roads and entry areas blocked. Despite these obstacles, Daoud and family are still standing and in fact, are perhaps stronger than ever. They dared to envision a different response to these destructive actions and chose a path of non-violence to counteract terrorism and they unequivocally refused to be a victim or to respond with hate.
As a result, his Tent of Nations now has a world-wide following and last year saw 7,000 visitors to the farm; this year they expect 10,000. They regularly host foreign volunteers who join them in working the farm, they offer summer learning camps for Palestinian children, and perhaps most importantly, he and his family are still on their family lands!
Daoud’s resiliency strategy is perhaps best captured in his provocative and anti-occupation slogan wherein he proclaims: “We refuse to be enemies!”
To learn more about this project and to understand the strategies involved to reimagine resiliency go to www.tentsofnations.org