The Palestinian activist Ayed Morrar writes:
I know that power – with all the authority, physical comfort, and quality of life it brings – strongly pushes a person into a world of material possessions, and people and things that stimulate their senses. Gradually, they start to protect this material paradise with walls to defend it from threats and keep from it anything that may unsettle life inside. As the blessings in that paradise increase, the walls around it multiply to the same degree.
Only great willpower and moral strength can enable a person to get to know those that live outside these walls, engage with their concerns and wounds, and even struggle for them. As a person embellishes their life in their paradise, the human and moral effort required to live the struggles of others increases. As I began to recognize this truth as someone who lives outside the walls, my understanding and respect grew for those who have been able to break through the walls of their paradise, for those who leave it and come towards me in solidarity to live my concerns and wounds, as a people who live under the oppression of occupation, lacking freedom and justice.
On December 27, prominent Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak was sentenced to three months in an Israeli jail for protesting the occupation. Jonathan’s upcoming imprisonment highlights two little-known stories – the support of some Israeli activists for our growing movement of Palestinian-led unarmed civilian protests, and the Israeli government’s effort to crush our joint struggle against the Israeli occupation. Over the last eight years, Jonathan has participated in hundreds of Palestinian-led protests in the West Bank against Israel’s military occupation. Along with other Israelis and internationals, he participated in our successful protest campaign in my West Bank village of Budrus in 2003-2004, that pushed Israel to reroute its wall and saved our farmland.
Jonathan Pollak is a great man – as great as the material temptations that the paradise of his nation affords him, in which his skills as a graphic designer would allow him to live in safety and unimaginable affluence. He is as great as the human and moral effort he exerted to know the other, to understand them, and struggle on behalf of the other for their freedom. His greatness is also the more for its rarity. He may not be the only one who stands at the borders of his moral and humanistic principles, but he remains, along with his many colleagues, part of a small group in their society. Their unusual status increases the magnitude of their struggle for justice, freedom and true peace. [Continue reading.]