Friday May 11, 2012

It turned out that eight of us (up from the original five) fasted yesterday, on our first Friday. Thank you to all who joined in. Again, Domenica and I would have hoped–we all would have hoped–for more, for more visibility. But it was a great start, especially considering that the notion occurred only late on Monday to a couple of extremely unworldly and technologically challenged women. (This is a good place to offer deep thanks to Kathy Zant–a technologically gifted woman– who very generously, beautifully and expeditiously put together this site.) And thanks as well to a number of people who wrote to say that they would be sending love and prayers today or signing letters. It is often hard to know what to do when you are aware of injustice, but sometimes doing something, no matter what, is better than wringing your hands. We are so grateful to be doing something in concert with all of you.

This morning, I started my day by sending love and good wishes eastward. I was surprised by what happened, and wanted to share it here. My attention went (sensibly) first to the declining hunger strikers themselves, and then moved to their families, friends and other supporters in the Occupied Territories. This went reasonably well, but I have to admit that I was trying. Suddenly, I found myself, with no thought or intent at all, focused intensely and profoundly on members of the Israeli Prison Service (IPS)–the ones who have cruelly denied Thaer Halahleh a last minute (and probably final) visit from his family, along with many, many other  illegal and inhumane abuses of their position.  The energy that came through me was not mine at all and certainly not anything I could have consciously imagined or looked for: a powerful rush of something like pure love sent to them that lasted ten minutes or so, and that I can only hope helped to open their hearts–even a little– those who are in positions of such great power and responsibility.  May it be so.

There are apparently a couple of one-day fasts being planned for next week by others, which is a joyful thing.  I am so thankful to see more voices being raised, a little more press coverage (although it is still incredibly sparse in the US), and some actions organized. I have heard that there will be a hunger in strike in solidarity with the Palestinians on Tuesday, May 15th, in observance of the 64th anniversary of the Nabka, or ‘Catastrophe’:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestinian_exodus (sorry I cannot succeed in getting this to appear as a working link, but if you are interested, you can of course copy and paste in your browser), but I do not yet have any specifics on that.  As well, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is sponsoring a number of demonstrations and a day-long fast on Thursday, May 17th, to mark the one-month point for many of the hunger strikers in Israeli prisons.  You can check out their plans (along with an easy and very important petition to the State Department to sign) here: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=3208

For some reason, I feel moved to list here the names that I could discover of some of the longest-striking prisoners, those whose are seriously compromised in terms of their physical well-being at this point, those who started their strike an amazingly long time ago.  I invite you to read through their names and allow the resonance of who they are and have been to fill you, to honor them and their sacrifice by knowing their names.

Thaer Halahleh

Bilal Diab

Hassan Shafadi

Omar Abu Shalal

Mohammad Taj

Jaafar Azzedine

Nidal Shehadeh

Mahmoud Sarsak

Abdullah Barghouti

Thank you.

Please do leave us your comments, thoughts, experiences, ideas and suggestions.

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About fastingonfridays
Support the Palestinian hunger strikers.

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