Monday, September 20, 2004

International Day of Peace

Well I walked the meditation walk. The film guys were stuck in traffic and wouldn't make it in time. This is a small meditation group of about 5 people walking in silence for 40 minutes or so according to meditation of Thich Nhat Hanh - I don't know if it's a movement or a person. But whoever leads this movement is a Vietnamese person living now in France. I came across their movement's website. I'm not a quiet person and would rather dialogue than have silence for peace. I saw a group of Arab women with their kids - "Hey want to join us?" I wanted to ask, but couldn't on our silent walk. Apparently they knew what we were about because they saw it before and I heard them say to each other "Oh it's those peace people." Like we were the neighborhood idiots. After the walk one woman asked me if I'd be interested in a 4 day silent retreat. Silent for 4 days. I don't think so lady. It's nearly as bad as not eating for 4 days. No can do. Off I went to plan for today's Interfaith meeting where I get to TALK. Unfortunately, Souliman and his group from the West Bank could not get their permits to enter Jerusalem so they didn't show up at our meeting, even though I sent them their invites. It was a really nice and crowded meeting. If we get any bigger, we'll have to move out of the nice salon to the upstairs lecture room. We each put down symbols of peace that we brought from home. The Jewish artist Nathanael brought his piercing art - on olive wood, with symbols of Christianity, Islam and Judaism on it saying that Jerusalem is not whole unless all the symbols/people are united. I brought in my photos of the retreat at Neve Shalom showing affection and friendship between Israelis and Palestinians. Suhair brought an olive branch and explained the significance of it from the Koran, Hadassah brought in a poem called the Grapes of Peace and an interesting photo of the day after the first Gulf War ended. Outside her house was a cloud formation of a white dove and she photographed it. Eerie and beautiful. We had our festive meal to celebrate the Day of Peace and then lit candles at the end in the beautiful garden as we shared what we hope to achieve peace-wise individually from now until the next month. I shared the fact that a few years ago, I was a witness to a Palestinian on a bus being bullied by a much older and taller man. For nothing. I didn't do a fucking thing. I was scared. I didn't want to get involved. The Palestinian ran off the bus with the bully following him. I thought maybe I'd get off the bus and intervene but in the end did nothing. It haunts me to this day. God knows what happened to that man. Maybe the bully told the police that this guy tried to hurt him and they may have arrested this innocent young man. Who knows what the result of this was. So I made a resolution not to let fear get in the way and to do the right thing. I remember too many stories of Jews during WW II, who were bullied (at first) by the natives and some Germans were upset by it, but did nothing. I pray to God not to let that happen again - to anyone.

5 comments:

timx said...

You have to get things in proportion. You will not be able to help others and to support your peace movement if you put yourself in jeopardy, so keep things in perspective and don't lose sight of the importance of what you do.

Anonymous said...

That would be a hard call as a woman. But it is true, that if we stand by, we are guilty too by our silence. I taught my kids that we must not stand by when someone else is being treated badly without cause. My daughter, only 5 ft. 1 inch tall took on 2 (over 6 foot tall) bullies who were tormenting another boy in her high school classroom. She really dressed them down...and she does have a very tart tongue. When she got done with them, they were stunned she would speak up, they never again did bother this poor kid in her presence. That kid often came into the store where I worked and I could see how he began to walk with his head up and to act as if he was ok....after she did that. He did not know I was her mom....it was interesting to me how just one person thinking you are worthy of defending can make a difference.
Following our conscience is never without risk.
Elizabeth

Musophrenia said...

watch out for these religious cults, darling, it could be a Moonie, who'll try and steal your daughters and marry them off, lol...my dad taught me meditation and I have no idea how you can meditate and walk at the same time, though i seem to do that alot, lol...just burn some incense and relax.....oooh, i think ive drunk too much of the sacred yeast liquid....LOL LOL LOL

Musophrenia said...

erm, I meant ive drunk too much BEER!

Tom Mellors said...

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk who grew up in South Vietnam, before and during the war, under the oppresive US-backed right-wing Government. He became famous for his friendship with Catholic monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton, and for his many books written about the path to peace from a Buddhist and Christian viewpoint. He is truly an enlightened holy man, and his presence in the middle-east can only help to bring about the peace you long for.