Friday, September 29, 2006

Lest we forget

Over the last two weeks I have received a number of phone calls and emails. I found this odd for two reasons; first I never get phone calls, except from telemarketers; second, other than a ton of spam, which I thought I had protected myself from, I rarely receive emails. No, these calls weren’t from people asking me to switch my long distance carrier or from the latest naughty girl porn site; these calls were coming from people who were all reminding me of something that I had almost put out of my mind.

They reminded me about an event that happened to me and a colleague of mine, Kim Lamberty, while we were working with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in at-Tuwani, a small village located in the South Hebron Hills:

“Great job Chris, your one of my heroes!”

“When this day rolls around I think of the courage that you and you’re colleague exerted on that day.”

“I wish I could do what you did.”

On the morning of September 29th, 2004, while escorting five small Palestinian children to school, five-masked settler youth armed with heavy metal chains, stones and a baseball bat, attacked Kim and me. Although the children escaped unharmed, Kim and I were not so fortunate. Kim sustained a broken forearm and a badly damaged knee. I suffered a cut on my forehead, a sizeable knot on the left side of my head, numerous bruises from blows I sustained from the boots of the youth that kicked me in the back while I lay on the ground, and a collapsed lung as a result of said blows.

The two of us were taken to a hospital in Beersheba. Later that day, Kim was released. I remained hospitalized for five days.

An outpouring of support came from all corners of the Globe. Israeli grandmothers called my mobile phone while I lay in my hospital bed and offered their condolences. Imams from as far away as Indonesia wrote me emails expressing their outrage and gratitude that Kim and I were willing to take such a beating just so five school children could arrive to school safely; media coverage was intense for several days. All of it casting an eye on what was going on in Palestine.

But something bugged me then and it still bugs me now.

Why all the fuss?

What so special about Kim and I that eclipses what any Palestinian parent, brother, sister, or neighbor would and have done and have done with even graver results?

The media rarely, if ever, casts an eye on what goes on in Palestine, unless an Israeli is injured or killed; or an outraged parent whose son or daughter has been humiliated by soldiers gets misquoted. The injury, humiliation or death of a Palestinian is a part of life.

This is not a story.

But it becomes a story when internationals are involved. It becomes an even bigger story when those internationals are American; and it really lights up the pressroom when those Americans are Christian and working for an organization with the word “Christian” in the title. Now that’s news!

Well, I have news for you all; that’s not news.

What is news, continues to go unreported by the mainstream media; for instance, more than 200 Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli army’s “Operation Summer Rain”; Palestinian families forced to scavenging for food on garbage dumps because they cannot afford to buy food; worldwide collective punishment, in the form of aid being discontinued, by The united States, Israel, and the EU on the Palestinian population because they dared to hold democratic elections; the World turning a blind eye while Israel carried on a 33 day conflict with Lebanon and simultaneously unleashing hell on the Palestinian population in Gaza, without so much as a whimper from the corporate press.

Now that’s news!

What happened to Kim and me was bad, but that is nothing compared to the hell that Palestinians catch on a daily basis. So again, thank you all for the nice emails and phone calls, I appreciate it. But let’s remember that our priority is to protest the treatment of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government.

So thank you to all of you that wrote to me and called, but for the sake of what we are all here to do, let’s get back to the business at hand and expose the lies that the corporate media is so willing to cover-up.

And don’t worry about me, I can delete the dirty emails, and I have to admit, I’m enjoying talking to the telemarketers; in fact, my new Jacuzzi should be arriving any day now.

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