Thursday, August 26, 2004
Walls and hunger strike
We saw walls from the Wailing Wall. We saw a map of the Old City that did not show Al Aqsa mosque. We drove to Ramallah in a bus, from lovely smoothe tarmac to bumpy stuff, past requisitioned houses, past bits of wall yet to be put up and past caterkillers and soldiers. We had to get out at a checkpoint and it was far worse that I had imagined from pics and other reports: very hot, loads of taxis and buses hooting, people of all ages having to trample over rubble and round bits of concrete, pretty much total chaos to me but most people seemed to know what they were doing. It is a war zone.
We met Arun Gandi (they are 'British, the ones who colonized your country' was how were were introduced). We then went to his talk much of which I videoed. He spoke of Grandfather a lot and told us that non-violence included being polite etc. He was quietly impressive. He does not agree with the two-state solution and cited India and Pakistan as an example that hasn't worked.
We are sitting upstairs in an internet cafe in Ramallah with sounds of a demo outside because Arun Gandhi is here to talk about the prisoners who are on hunger strike. Mordechai Vanunu struck for 33 days the first year, 22 the next and 10 over the following decade when he was imprisoned. He had to start eating again and i hope none of these fathers and sons will starve. Gandhi has called for an international hunger strike tomorrow, Friday, to show solidarity with the prisoners. He will be at another part of the wall tomorrow at Abu Dis and we will be there too.
Today J and I interviewed and filmed many sisters, children, mothers and grandmothers holding portraits of their men in jail around the country. While some are allowed to phone most women we talked to are not allowed any contact. J wrote notes and I took films - women were coming up to us and asking us to so it wasn't intrusive."
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