Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Expulsion and Prayer : Visa Run into Jordan

My first visa run to Jordan was a trip into the unknown. No one in my family has been to Jordan. Since my family lost their Palestinian IDs, we always came here as tourists to our own homeland. But now that I was living here, it became very difficult to maintain "legal" residency. One way people try to extend their visas is by doing a "visa run" to Jordan, leaving Palestine and reentering on a new visa. Here is how my first experience went, originally written and published in March 2010.
Part 1:
march 15 2010

It was an emergency trip I had no time to contemplate over. I had no time to reflect what outfits would be appropriate. If I had remembered to bring extra toothbrushes or enough hair clips was beyond me. I came home from work frantic and already with little sleep, packing my bag to head to Jordan. I took what was most important to me. Those gifts from special friends I keep as reminders of memories and futures. Those W-2 forms because I had not yet filled out my taxes. Books I cherished, narratives I knew would keep me company. I had never been to Jordan in my life, and although a great chunk of its population is Palestinian, my family never had the impulse to go. I had several aunts there, some passed before I got to meet them. And I had random cousins, dozens of them, who shared the same blood as me--yet remained but names and blank faces in my mind.

Dogs and Students, Teachers and Dogs: Education in Aid Dependent Palestine

Originally published:  September 16, 2010

I want to try to explore what education is, what it can constitute, and what it can obstruct as well. Yes, the thing we call education can be just as much a liberator as it can be an oppressor. I wish I blogged more about my experience in Watts and Compton and the Los Angeles area in general about educational inequalities. Alas, I was busy being a student myself.

Now I am at the other end in another world. And now that I have nearly a year of surveying what education is in the Occupied Territories, perhaps I can draw some parallels and throw in some research.

I include the above picture because it blatantly contrasts groups or ideologies or even approaches. We can call this pedagogy, any fancy word really. Here you see one of nine civil rights activists, a black woman walking with books in hand. You see angry white women. You see men meant to enforce law or protection or order in the backdrop, along with other civilian men.

A message to Netanyahu: Saturday’s attack on bicyclists is nothing new for the Israeli military

On Saturday April 14th, a peaceful bike ride surveying the springtime beauty of the Jordan Valley was met with the ugly presence of the Israeli military, which resorted violence against bike riders who attempted to continue their casual journey up Route 90 in an act to challenge the apartheid policy Israel enforces in the Jordan Valley, and for that matter, the rest of the occupied West Bank.

The policy by which Israel treats the Jordan Valley is in fact parallel to the disregard and brute violence witnessed on Saturday, which left one Palestinian woman and two international activists from Denmark and Holland injured after being struck in the head with an M-16 rifle. While international press is requesting the name and details of the internationals harmed, it seems as though the Palestinian woman injured is left as a mere afterthought of Israel’s smearing handprint on the dignity and rights of Palestinians. The treatment of Palestinians at the whim of Israel cannot go ignored, and humanization is only true when it is upheld across the board.