Jewish music and art in Western Mass
This week's portion: beat

Bassam Aramin in Zeek

One of the people I wanted to meet while I was in Jerusalem was Bassam Aramin, one of the co-founders of Combatants for Peace. Midway through my summer there, I blogged about a new essay he had just written, called The Palestinian Bar Mitzvah.

We didn't manage to meet. During my first few weeks there, I was busy getting acclimated, learning the city, accustoming myself to new places and new rhythms. Then suddenly time escalated in speed, the days became so full that they rolled away and carried me with them, and I didn't manage to reach out to schedule a meeting. I still regret that. Next time, I guess.

Robert Hirschfield has written a truly fantastic piece about Aramin -- part essay, part interview -- which was published in Zeek today. Here's a taste, which begins with a quote from Aramin:

"The Israelis too are being occupied. By the darkness of the occupation, by its immorality. We need their help. We need them to take action against the checkpoints, against the occupation. I believe in nonviolent change. But we Palestinians can't do it alone."

We sit together on a cold bench in the parking lot. A question keeps wanting to be asked. My question of questions. Stalled by a twinge of reticence.

"After what happened to Abir, did you re-think, even for a moment, your decision to dialogue with Israelis?"

The piece feels sharp, almost fragmented, which seems appropriate given its subject matter. It's a powerful look at the matzav (the situation) through the eyes of someone who's lived it in a way I can't imagine, and who's taking a stance I deeply admire.

Read it here: Words At Night With Bassam Aramin.

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