Sunday, March 2, 2008

a hummingbird of hope

A little hummingbird has been buzzing in the back of my mind for about a week, flitting in suddenly and unexpectedly when I'm doing something else, reminding me. Then I think, yes, I should write out my hummingbird story.

But it's a hard one to tell. I was reminded of it when I came across an AP photo last night of a man who had sunk to his knees in despair. He was clutching his head in his hands. His breath seems to be caught. Friends and family are trying to comfort him; they too look distressed, as if some wound beyond words is grappling with their hearts.

When I try to explain some of what is happening in Gaza and what are the facts of Palestinian peoples' lives, I ask the well-meaning folks here who want to sort out the confusion of what they are fed in their daily newspapers and tv news, to look out at the Sleeping Giant Peninsula. Yes, to our beautiful Nanabijou.

Imagine 1.4 million people living on it. Gaza Strip is only a tad larger than Sibley Peninsula. Gaza is 25 m. long; Sibley is 24 m. long. Gaza varies from 4- 7.5 m in width; Sibley is 6 miles wide). I ask them to imagine that the people on it are not allowed to leave unless they have a permit issued by ...well, someone like us. Who are free to come and go as we wish. Who know nothing of how they live except for what our politicians tell us, from years of misinformation in newspapers, from uninformed neighbours or colleagues at work who find easy comfort in easy dichotomies, and from history books that have been re-written. I guess Canada's First Nations peoples know all about this kind of mythicizing, about history that excludes what really happened -- and what continues to go on.

I ask them to imagine that those people have been left there for 60 years under military occupation. That 1 million of them are refugees and dependent on the UN and other agencies. That currently they are without electricity, and have been for a few weeks. That they are waiting for the world to wake up and help them.

I read this recently but I can't remember where:

I am but one.
But I am one.
I can't do everything.
But I can do something.

The following clip is not new, but it's not dated, either. The same story keeps repeating, as we are all witness to these last few days. (The Window into Palestine blog has up-to-the-minute news outside corporate corridors. Even Dr. Mona El-Fara has managed to write her thoughts down amid her frenzied work of tending to the wounded and dying.)

I listen to Sami Yusuf a lot these days. His music is healing. His voice is like a hummingbird entering your heart.

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