Visitors meeting

George is my contact on this new NoBorders business. We meet in a bar in zone 2 for a coffee. I thought it weird to have a one to one conversation about volunteering over a coffee, but when I see George he is at a table talking to some five other people. We all introduce each other and then they resume the conversation, which seems to be at the stage of the actual travelling to the detention centre, somewhere in zone 6. (note below)

No Borders

On one of the email lists I am in, there is an email from No Borders. The work they seem to do now is the punctual service: visiting asylum seekers locked up in detention centres.

‘We need people to help / visit detainees, asylum seekers that are awaiting deportation’, the email says.

My mind goes to the gospel, to the bit where God rewards those who visited people who were ill or in jail.

This is punctual help to individual people. Mostly men. The women seem to be locked up in another detention centre, too far away from London for unemployed or low-waged volunteers to afford to go regularly. So they stick to the detention centres next to Heathrow, one tube ride away.

Visit detainees. That is not going to tear apart the borders, NOBorders. But it is (sold as) part of a wider strategy, against all borders. This is the ‘detainee support group’ part of NoBorders. Because it is not fair that people have (or not) the right to live here based on where they were born.

I write back to offer to volunteer.

Talk on Palestine in Zaragoza

A lot of emails and phonecalls are needed to arrange a talk in another city. My friend J.M. had a visit to pay in Zaragoza and we were arranging to go there together. But now there is so much snow he has cancelled the visit. I can not, or I do not want to cancel this. I may get stranded somewhere in the middle of the railway. But I have to try to get there on the day we have scheduled because if I do not, then the chance will be gone. Maybe another year. But I can always try another year, I feel the need to make this one happen this time.

Andrew

This text came on Christmas Day, from David, who has been writing his experiences to his friends and family and, lately, to me, too. This page talks about himself and his own deportation:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/01/19/iof-evacuated-human-rights-workers-instead-of-illegal-settlers /

Epilogue or worthless rant

When I came, I did not know too well what I had come here for. But that is not the most important thing. I have been with people who know only too well what they need us for. And they have put us, they have put me, in the places where I was needed, telling me, more or less, on occasions exactly, what needed to be done.

Priests and privileges

I need to spend a few more days more in Jerusalem. Which doesn’t qualify as time in Palestine, because as I mentioned in this previous post, Jerusalem is no longer considered Palestine by any one who lives there, despite the ‘efforts’ by the ‘international community’ in making it a shared city between two countries … of which only one exists.

Kawawis-Jerusalem. News from Jayyous

I wake up to find myself on my own, so I just get up and eat some of the food I brought with me as breakfast. I hear the sound of an engine and go to see what it is. Two men, one on foot and another one on a tractor, are spreading seeds on the fields around the village.

Kawawis III. The journalist

I receive a call saying that E., an Israeli activist who comes here regularly to get information about incidents that need to be reported, will be coming today for a visit. It will be a change I look forward to: I will finally have a conversation in English, after two days of speaking a word at a time and trying to make sense of people’s gestures.

Kawawis II. The visit

Today is a visit day. A lot of grandchildren of H.’s mother come to see her. They had to come walking down the path that the taxi took me from, crossing the road that functions as a wall.

Kawawis I. USAID

At eight in the morning the sun gets through the glassless windows in full swing into the room, where there are only two people now. The couple seem to have got up already; their mattress is no longer there. Their grandson is gone too. I remember then what I read yesterday in the log book, that they go to walk the sheep at about six in the morning.