Recently, I happened upon a 2 hour PBS American Experience special about the courageous Freedom Riders who risked their lives decades ago to shed light on the horrors of segregation, and bolster the civil rights movement which eventually ended Jim Crow laws in the south. Though I was well aware of the details of this movement, I was amazed to see what these non-violent activists risked, riding into the face of extreme danger or death, to right this wrong in our country’s history.
This week, 50 years later, I watch a parallel movement building as non-violent peace activists from all over the world, attempt to travel to the West Bank to participate in “Welcome to Palestine”. I say “attempt” because, despite the fact that these people are non-violent activists who go in peace, they are being stopped at every turn by the Israeli government. Journalists monitoring the situation report of detentions, strip searches, deportations, and threatening airport mob actions.
People from all over the world (including Michael Rabb of Boulder & CU-Divest) are taking action and speaking out in solidarity with Palestinians, who live under occupation, apartheid and severe human rights violations. Every day, Palestinians are deprived by the Israeli Government of basics such as clean water, timely access to adequate medical care, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and so many other basic human rights. Yet, the world (and the US) turns a blind eye to this fact and continues to accept Israel’s argument that all their actions are simply “for their own security”.
I commend those courageous non-violent activists who spend their own considerable time and money and who risk their own personal safety to shine a light on these injustices. And I pray for the Palestinian people who suffer daily under the Israeli Occupation as the world tries to look the other way.