Peace Work of political significance

by ray goodlass

28 December: peace work today was cleaning up a beautiful cemetery near Bethehem  of graves from the Second Intifada, which was the second anti-Israeli spontaneous revolt by the Palestinian people, brutally put down by the Israeli military.

The Intifadas are characterised by an image of children throwing stones at Israeli militrary hardware, such as tanks, but as I guess everone knows and I won’t try to hide, they became much more violent.

The graveyard was well laid out, elegantly simple, and very, very moving – a fitting resting place for some very brave martyrs.

I do so hope we can move on to a just and peaceful solution. I suspect that as I undertake hoped for and planned university level studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution my focus will be on Palestine, and I also of course plan further on the ground volunteering work here.

The practical work was followed by a Cultural Evening, exchanging gifts we brought from our homes, which the organising paperwork asked us to do. I’m typing this before the actual event, but here I’ll briefly mention that my gifts focussed on Multicultural and Aboriginal Australia.

The Multicultural offerings included books such as ‘Don’ Go Back to Where You Came From’, DVDs such as ‘East West 101’, and brochures from Wagga’s Multicultural Council.

The Aboriginal gifts included a DVD about the 1960s Freedom Rides and subsequent Aboriginal history, a map of Australian Aboriginal nations, and an Aboriginal flag.

And I couldn’t resist pointing out that we have been eating Australian food all week – Sunwhite rice from the MIA, no less. But I had also to be true to my environmental politics and note that, in the driest continent on earth, growing water hungry crops like rice poses real issues of environmental sustainability.

To conclude today I’ll note that the book I am currently reading, Darweish and Rank’s ‘Peacebuilding and Reconciliation’ (Pluto Press) includes in its References section several books Iwill try and buy and of course read, and two journals I will subscribe to, the ‘Journal of Peace Studies’ and the ‘Journal of Refugee Studies’. The book is also fascinating reading and helps confirm to me that I am cut out for formal peace studies.

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