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SPRING, 1998: Volume 3 Issue 1

Hebron: Climbing Walls and Avoiding Checkpoints by Anne Montgomery

[From CPTNET, Oct. 5, 1997] A friend remarked that just as the Intifada was 90% nonviolent, so is the current resistance to political and economic oppression. However, we hear much about "terrorism" and "terrorists;" the good news, as usual, goes largely unreported. But the hopeful message of nonviolence is best spread by example.

Daily, hundreds of young men-the age of the few suicide bombers-speak with their feet: climb walls and hills to avoid checkpoints; choose construction tools rather than bombs; sometimes leave homes at risk of demolition to feed the families within them. Depending on the degree of closure, taxi drivers literally go the extra mile, sometimes over rutted roads and down precipitous slopes only goats were meant to climb. They take the extra passenger and detour to give the elderly or infirm "special delivery." They negotiate with border police and wait as long as possible for detained passengers or creatively avoid that possibility.

In Hebron there is a cairn of stones in memory of the Intifada. Someday a second monument should rise of bent fenders and worn tires, the vans that struggled above and beyond the call of duty or hope of repairs.

Even more unrecognized is the "women's work," the daily struggle on less and less money to feed children and get them to school, helped by teachers and storekeepers who donate notebooks and backpacks. There is the principal who with her students faced soldiers and settlers to demonstrate for a safe sidewalk on Shuhada Street. These children are being educated to walk through their fear and speak out for justice.

These are the "mustard seeds" of the Gospel parable. Someday they will grow into a tree with branches spreading all over Palestine.

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