Wednesday, January 31, 2007

AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Clowns and soldiers



Hello friends,

Here's a reflection from Church of the Brethren member Art Gish, who is currently working with CPT in Palestine. 

It's a strong contrast, isn't it: Soldiers vs. clowns? 

"Fools for Christ," anyone?

May we invoke wonder and delight!

Matt Guynn
On Earth Peace



 CPTnet
31 January 2007
AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Clowns and soldiers


by Art Gish



On 18 January, Israeli peace activists brought four clowns to the
Palestinian village of At-Tuwani to give a performance at the school.  Just
before the performance began, Israeli soldiers also entered the village.
They had accompanied Palestinian school children past the Ma'on settlement
the previous few days.  The soldiers seemed angry about a van parked in the
village.

The soldiers arrested the driver of the van and tied his wrists behind his
back.  Soon a dozen village women, including an elderly woman who lectured
them in Arabic, surrounded them. felt sorry for the poor soldiers.  They
seemed frightened.  They ordered everyone to move away, but the villagers
only moved closer.  Not one person obeyed any of the soldiers' commands.
What can one do, even if armed with an M-16, when no one will comply with
one's orders and someone is filming?  They moved the handcuffed young man to
the other side of the jeep, but the women also moved to the other side of
the jeep.

After about ten minutes, the soldiers put the man into the back of the jeep
and drove away.  They drove to below the village, stopped, and released the
man.  I was upset with the whole scene, but realized the Palestinians were
calm.  Their faith (is it faith or experience?) is deeper than mine.  They
were not surprised by how the soldiers acted.

I headed toward the school to watch the four clowns do their acts for the
children, who loved every minute of it.  These Israeli clowns came in
friendship, without guns, and received a positive response.  I wondered,
"Are the people who sent the young soldiers here really that ignorant and
na├»ve, that clueless about what makes for peace?"  The clowns may have
been silly, but their actions were profound.

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