Distressed.

I am writing to you all after two days of contemplation. Friday was a hard day for me in more ways than one and even after rest and many conversations…I am still wrestling these thoughts in my head.

Most of you don’t know my story, who I really am, or my background..so let me paint you a picture. I grew up with a father who was a Marine. He was a wonderful man and so were all of his peers. I grew up close to the base and I was a part of a diverse mismatched family who took care of each other in so many ways. I was essentially a daughter to 20+ individuals.

Friday, we went into Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. I was walking along a road that just the day before was being hit all day with tear gas. The street was filled with rubber bullets, blank bullet casings, and tear gas canisters. There were children in the street looking to see if there were guards in the towers so they would know if they could be outside.

You may wonder how this horrible story could be placed right after the beautiful picture I just placed in your minds.

These forms of “security” were done by people who refer to themselves as a military. As a protecting force. They have chosen to see the people in this camp as less than human and as a security risk. This struck me in a way I didn’t expect.

That young boy, around my age, shooting those guns…that could have been my father. I have struggled a lot to see the humanity in these people. To see how someone could do this to another human. But, a ELCJHL pastor we had dinner with that night helped me in a way to get out of this horrible way of thinking.

“Do not be Pro-Palestinian. Do not be Pro-Israel. Be Pro-love, Pro-peace, Pro-justice, Pro-reconciliation.”

If I see these soldiers as less than human, I am only becoming who they are. They’re job is to protect. They are just not informed well enough about the people, the culture, and the hospitality they are “protecting” themselves from.

I’m not sure if this will even make sense to you readers (my grammar is probably atrocious, my mind is processing faster than I can type, and I’m SUPER tired). I don’t even know if what is in my head with ever make sense to me myself. But, I need to share these stories. I need to make them personal. I need to know these people to really help you know them.

~Cheryl

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