[permaculture] [starhawk] Denied Entry, PC Teacher Starhawk Deported from Israel Report

lbsaltzman at aol.com lbsaltzman at aol.com
Mon Mar 17 00:15:03 EDT 2008

Thanks for posting this. Starhawk is helping to expose one of the great injustices going on anywhere on this planet right now.

-----Original Message-----
From: Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network <lakinroe at silcom.com>
To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 12:34 pm
Subject: [permaculture] [starhawk] Denied Entry, PC Teacher Starhawk Deported from Israel Report

Denied Entry
y Starhawk
Today is March 16.  Five years ago, I was in a small village in the
ccupied Territories of the West Bank of Palestine with a group of
olunteers from the International Solidarity Movement, which supports
onviolent resistance against the Occupation.   We had gone because the
illagers were being menaced by tanks from the Israeli military, and
anted witnesses, but by the time we arrived, the tanks had gone.  Instead
e wandered through the olive groves, studded with pink cyclamen and
lood-red anemones, and ate barbecued lamb in the courtyard of an ancient
tone house with domed ceilings and arched portals.  It was a strangely
dyllic day—until on our way back to Nablus we got a call.
own in Rafah, in the Gaza strip, a young volunteer named Rachel Corrie
ad been crushed to death by a an Israeli military bulldozer as she
ttempted to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian family’s house.
    Today I sit in a room in Washington D.C.  overcome by grief as in the next
oom my new friend Laurie writes out card after card with the names of the
ead—American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, pile after pile of them.  I’m
rieving for all the dead, and a bit for myself, because I meant to be
ack in Palestine, or at least in Israel, now.  But I have been denied
ntry and sent home, because of my past work with the ISM.  I have been
enied entry, even though my intentions this time were strictly to work
ith permaculture and ecology groups, including the three Israeli groups
hat have sent me formal invitations, and even though Israel claims to be
 refuge of last resort for everyone born Jewish, as I am.  The fact that
’m here, not there, is a measure of how much the Israeli authorities fear
 movement of nonviolent resistance in general, and the ISM in particular.
hy is nonviolence so threatening?  Violence attacks the body, but
onviolence threatens something deeper and more tenuous—the
elf-perceptions and rationalizations that let basically good people act
n cruel and heartless ways.  The Israel/Palestine conflict enacts on a
ass scale some of the same dynamics as family abuse.  Israel is like the
bused child who grows up to be an abuser.
Abusers generally feel like victims—and truly the Jewish people have been
ictimized, again and again in history, culminating in the still unhealed
ounds of the Holocaust.  Every rocket attack, every shooting spree in a
eshivah, every suicide bomb in a bus reinforces that sense of fear and
ersecution that seems to cry out for violence in return.
Once in Germany I walked through an exhibition on the propaganda of the
olocaust.  One cartoon seemed to illuminate the dynamics of the current
onflict:  a burly, blond, muscle-bound body-builder of a German clubbing
 weak, cringing, forelocked Jew.   Israel was founded by a generation
hat said, “Never again will we be the ones who cringe and get clubbed.”
nstead, she has spent sixty years on the Nautilus, building her military
uscle.  But somewhere deep inside is still the perception that Israel is
iny, fragile and weak and anyone who attacks her is the giant with the
lub.  And so the suffering of the Palestinians, the real disparities in
ower, become invisible.
Nonviolence dramatizes and makes visible the true power differentials.
eek after week, unarmed Palestinians and their allies march to the Wall
o face tear gas, rubber bullets, clubs, and at times, live ammunition.
omen sit in front of bulldozers, children march out of school to confront
Nonviolence humanizes the enemy.  When the Palestinians are seen as
animals’, as filled with blind, irrational, implacable hatred, it is easy
o hate them in turn and to justify every system of control and every
ncursion.  But nonviolence gives the enemy a face.  Moreover, in the
emonstrations against the Wall and the peace camps set up in the
illages, Israeli peace groups often come to stand with their Palestinian
llies, shattering the myth that Israelis and Palestinians can never get
long, never collaborate or work together for common ends.
buse is perpetuated by secrecy and silence.  The ISM and other peace
roups such as the Women’s International Peace Service and the Christian
eacemaker Teams have brought thousands of witnesses into the places that
utsiders are not supposed to go: into refugee camps under siege, into
illages and streets and checkpoints and the daily, dehumanizing grind of
ife under occupation.  They witness, they write, they take pictures and
ideos, and then they go home and talk to people.  They go where the
ainstream media is unwilling to go, and tell the stories that are not
eing told.
And the ISM, in particular, has heroes and martyrs.  Working with the ISM,
’ve been privileged to meet people of truly staggering courage—among whom
 do not rank myself.  My own courage is middle rank.  Yeah, I’ll stand in
ront of a tank, but at the end if it doesn’t stop I’ll get out of the
ay.  I’ve known a woman who would walk up to artillery and put her hand
ver the mouth of the gunbarrel.  Rachel and her team stood out in front
f Palestinian wells, day after day, under fire from Israeli sniper towers
n the distance.  Tom Hurndall ran under bullets to rescue children under
ire from Israeli snipers, who targeted and murdered him.  And there are
any, many more.
I feel somewhat overrated to be counted among their company.  My plans, as
’ve said, were actually different this time.  I had hoped to work with
he land, to teach some of the techniques of bioremediation that I know
nd to learn from the many wonderful groups there.  I feel great grief
hat I cannot do that work.  But if that is the price of my commitment to
ustice and nonviolence, I am willing to pay it.  It’s a tiny price,
ndeed, a miniscule sacrifice, compared to those, like Rachel, who have
iven their lives.
To read a longer account of my experiences, see:
To download two songs I cowrote with my brother, Mark Simos, about Rachel,
om and Rafah, see:

o support the work of the ISM, see:
nternational Solidarity Movement
Permaculture and green groups working in the West Bank can use your
upport for their work.  Tax deductible checks can be written to:
Global Village Institute
O Box 90
ummertown, TN 38483
Send c/o Alayne Deptula
armark checks:  West Bank projects

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Starhawk is a lifelong activist in peace and 
lobal justice movements, a leader in the 
eminist and earth-based spirituality movements, 
uthor or coauthor of ten books, including The 
piral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, Webs of 
ower: Notes from the Global Uprising, and her latest, The Earth Path.
Starhawk's website is www.starhawk.org, and more 
f her writings and information on her schedule 
nd activities can be found there.
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