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Sumoud

Gill Knight reflects on Palestinian steadfastness

Nabi Saleh is still on my mind and so is the new word I have learnt – “sumoud”. Picture this, during the afternoon of the demo, when things were quiet a group of us gathered under the water tower in the main square and sat on some pipes in a u-shape to chew the fat. Ben, an Israeli activist, appeared with a coffee pot and glass cups from a nearby house and we had a welcome coffee break.

Just as we finished and the cups collected, three soldiers appeared at the edge of the square and threw tear gas canisters directly at us. We ran, the coffee pot discarded on the ground.

Needless to say this baiting went on for a while until we “hid” in someone’s house.

What I have learnt from this village is a the living embodiment of “sumoud” the arabic word for steadfastness. From the terrace of Nargi’s house where we stayed you can see the Halamish settlement across the road, in front of these houses is the Nabi Saleh village spring they can no longer use. Nargi, who works for the Palestinian Authority, describes without anger, the that the tear gas is “normal” he lifts the sleeve of his 10 year old daugher’s T-shirt to show the mark on her arm from a rubber bullet she got 2 weeks ago. He and other village leaders want the young to resist the occupation through nonviolent demonstrations. I eat his wife Bushra’s wonderful food and am humbled by their “sumoud".

Gill Knight is volunteering with the International Women’s Peace Service in Palestine more of her writing is on thewallmustfall.wordpress.com