Monday, December 28, 2009

From Protesting to Peacemaking

Dorothy and Hedy Epstein sharing the hope
December 28, 2009 began with hope as the MPT team planned to meet with the GFM at the UN Embassy at the World Trade Center to peacefully protest in solidarity with the suffering of Palestinian people, in order to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis and put an end to the blockade of Gaza. In the front square of the building people joined with beautiful artistic signs of peace, music and dance to bring a spirit of compassion and humanity to the injustice of the siege. Two hours into the protest, the Egyptian authorities formed a human military blockade totally encircling the group using physical force to push and herd the GFM back. MPT instinctively went from the role of creative protesters to non-violent peacemakers. They stood toe to toe and face to face with with the military police to assist others to hold the space and reduce the potential for violence as arms were visibly assessable for use by the authorities as they tried to intimidate marchers to disperse. One MPT member eloquently spoke truth to power, in an effort to speak to their conscience, as he verbally challenged and reminded the Egyptian authorities that the imprisoning of the GFM parallels to the Israeli military imprisoning the people of Gaza. During the next three hours, the tension remained but did not escalate to further violence. A contingent of GFM continued to hold the space through the night.

Additional tidbits from the team:
MPT members Sheri, Liz and Kim enjoyed re-connecting with previous connections/teams to the West Bank and Gaza. These joyful reunions were a reminder of MPT's long history of building relationships to work for justice in the region.

(below) Where's Waldo? Kim? Sheri? Liz?

Bella is willing to give a reward for anyone who can locate her lost luggage which is possibly enjoying the sites of Paris.

Dorothy sends love to her husband and family and friends as she carries them in her heart.
In the meantime the peace work continues. Please see the following photos and captions:

Liz and Starhawk sharing the hope.

On many occasions during our stay in Egypt our MPT peace team was able to join other peace teams in the work that we are so deeply committed to do ... that is, to reduce violence and to create the space that is needed in the work for the work of peace.

Here are some photos of MPT in action:

Left: After being pushed down to the cement, by Egyptian security Liz Walters and Dorothy Ritter and other partners move to form a peace line to protect the Italian delegation that security seems to be targeting.

Right:Kim Redigan, Sheri Wander, Dorothy Ritter, Liz Walters holding the peace line while Isabel Rowan coordinates support for the action and Yusif Barakat documents the violent tactics used by Egyptian security. As always team work is the key!

Peace team intervention (reducing violence and creating space) means that actions for peace, justice, and human rights have the needed space to continue doing their superb peace work! Here are two of 42 international delegations at the Gaza Freedom March that were able to continue their good work while MPT and other peace teams used the tools of nonviolence to create the space needed for that work.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mom,
    We miss you and are sending our love and prayers! All is well here. The boys are recovered, and we are enjoying our time off with them. Hope that everything is progressing well for you, the team, and the people of Gaza.
    God bless everyone with a world of peace!
    Autumn and the boys