By Martha Stephens
Friends, I’m writing about an event of a few weeks ago at the Clifton Mosque. I expect very few of us who read this paper are indifferent to the sufferings of the Palestinian people. The two Palestinian women who led the event at the Mosque are still living in the camps in Lebanon where many families fled when they were evicted from their village in Palestine.
The Mosque hosted a marvelous gathering for these two women on March 27. Food and talk and good history and information was the program. A black solidarity group was a co-sponsor.
The two women are traveling the country with the Nakba Tour. You may recall that “nakba” is the Arabic term for the long march into exile when much of Palestinian land was given over to the State of Israel back in 1948.
The younger speaker gave us an interesting history of all that happened before and during those early years of exile, and then she sat down by the older woman and helped her tell exactly what it had been like for her and her family. The intruding forces, along with many other men, killed her husband. They didn’t want any men to survive.
Since ancient times, this community had a rich life in their village on the coast. They farmed, fished, and were able to other towns with their catch and their produce. When the women had suddenly to pack up and get out, they could take very little with them as they fled across the border into Lebanon. The older woman we met, Um Akram, told us about her long life in the camps with what was left of her family. They had to walk quite a ways, for instance, just to visit the toilets near the fences of the camp.
We can read more online about the Nakba Tour, and of course all the details of the Palestinian struggle can be studied at length through other media sites. Many in the U.S. want our government to stand by the Palestinian people in their attempts to resist their confinement in the virtual prisons of Gaza and the West Bank.
A few weeks after this event at the Clifton Mosque, a leader of the Mosque, Karen Dabdoub, whose husband is Palestinian, was the speaker on April 9 at the Tuesday forum of Progressive Democrats. She gave a splendid talk about Muslim beliefs and the pain many Muslims abroad experience when being unable even to visit here for weddings and funerals.
The stories these women have to say are important and need to be heard. Humanizing a crisis makes it easier to understand, deconstruct, and therefore attempt to fix. These are topics that the Progressive Democrats discuss at our weekly meetings.
Readers of Streetvibes might be interested in joining the weekly forums of Progressive Democrats. We meet every Tuesday at 12:00 for lunch and good talk at the Blue Gibbon Restaurant on Sherman Avenue.