I recently traveled to Israel and Palestine. The trip was a spiritual pilgrimage for me – not so much to walk in the physical places Jesus walked, but more importantly, to walk among the people Jesus walked with, a people who knew occupation and oppression, those to whom he proclaimed hope and healing. As expected, the experience was transformative. This blog details what I encountered during my travels, and how these experiences continue to shed light on my ministry.
My travels were part of a World Without Walls movement that protests the destructive construction of walls throughout the globe used to separate peoples, destroy communities, reify racism and nationalism, and perpetuate injustice. I was part of a delegation of Mexican and U.S. activists to learn about Israel’s Wall and the devastation it is causing the Palestinian people, even as President Trump is working with Israeli companies to fortify the wall between the U.S. and Mexico. You can learn more about this delegation here https://stopthewall.org/2017/10/11/worldwithoutwalls-delegation-arrives-palestine.
Our hosts encouraged us to learn more about Israeli tools of oppression – tools that are being exported throughout the world and particularly to the United States – and to make connections between the Palestinian experience and the many experiences of oppression in our own lands. Further, they shared multiple strategies of resistance that can equally be exported to different struggling communities to build stronger resistance movements across the globe.
This blog will give voice to the people I met and their stories, as I experienced them and was invited to share them. It will also allow me to share what I learned on this sacred pilgrimage and continue to learn as I integrate my experiences from the trip with my life in the U.S. Finally, it will allow me to add my own voice to the struggles for freedom, justice and equality that are taking place all around us.
There is no shortage of information on the Palestinian people and their struggles, and I do not seek to speak on their behalf. I do want to bear witness to what I saw and heard, and how my experiences have given me a clearer understanding of the many struggles of those in my own community. Further, there is no shortage of people giving voice to the struggle, many of whom are more articulate, and more insightful, than I. And yet, I have the need to add my voice to the mix – in my own way, from my own positionality – and to incorporate my voice with the many others who are calling all people to a higher standard of living. This blog is not meant to be a monologue. Please ask questions, raise alternative views, and help me further understand what it means to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly in our world.
I invite you to journey with me as I give voice to the struggle.