Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Personal Reflection

           Power is an incredible source—for good and for evil.  Throughout history power struggles have taken countless lives, but it is important to remember that change also comes from empowerment, which is a part of the concept of power.  I think we witnessed empowerment tonight.  A call was made for a last minute community meeting, as policy changes and implementations have provoked a wave of arrests targeted at the Sudanese asylum seekers as Israel continues to discourage migration.  We arrived at the democratic school and helped set up for the meeting, anticipating a small gathering, typical of the asylum seeking community.  The numbers were staggering.  As the large, open room began to overflow, more and more men and women continued to flow in, like a bottle of water beginning to spill over.  An overview of the policy changes, possible affects on the community, and a plan for action was announced and translated into four languages, a testament to the diversity of the gathering, which included individuals from Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Israel, America, and Ethiopia.  The solidarity in the room was tangible.  Fear may have been the motivation behind the unusual number of people, but we can all be reminded of the iconic words of Nelson Mandela, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”  Something beautiful happened tonight.  I realize that there is a horrific and malevolent force suppressing and oppressing a group to a point where they are left without a home, without a refuge, and without freedom, but it doesn’t leave them without a hope.
            It’s incredibly humbling to experience and witness something like tonight.  I walked away with the realization that this is how change happens.  I could feel it in my core—something is on the cusp of happening.

This blog is written by a trip participant and is a personal reflection. 

1 comment:

  1. With your time in Israel winding down, and to feel at the end a sense of empowerment is life-changing. What "aha" moments the entire group must be feeling during this time. I learned so much from afar, and I am grateful and thankful for all the contributors to this blog. Thank you, Susan