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Palestine: fighting against a resigned future - Journey to Nablus - Danny Whatmough Nablus | General
About this blog
3rd January, 2013

It is now more than a month since I returned from Palestine. And I’ve been meaning to write a final post, but it has proved difficult.

How do you sum up such an experience?

In the first post I wrote when I arrived, I talked about the vivid contrasts that exist everywhere. For a visitor, making contrasts is an obvious and easy thing to do. It helps to give a clear sense of the uniqueness of this place.

Contrasts are easy to find too now I’m back. Today, I went for a run. I could move freely. There were no soldiers, no checkpoints and no hostile settlers.

For me, this freedom is a basic human right. Something we should all be able to count on.

Whatever your political, religious or ideological viewpoint, I challenge anyone to visit Palestine, experience this lack of freedom, and fail to feel immense solidarity with the Palestinian people.

There is no doubt that life for ordinary Palestinians is better than it was a few years ago during the Second Intifada. Better, but still not good enough.

What sort of a life is this?

When eight year olds have to walk past checkpoints and soldiers on the way to school? When farmers have their crops destroyed and their sheep poisoned? When a mother is locked in an Israeli jail for three days because she is distraught at her son’s wrongful arrest? When your house is a concrete prison? When you’ve been forced to live in a refugee camp for over half a century? When your town is surrounded by 30-foot walls? When you don’t have a passport and aren’t allowed to visit your family, 30 kilometres away?

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29th September, 2012

It’s not everyday you can write a blog post title like that. But it’s true. I’m off to the West Bank for a month.

From mid-October, I’m volunteering for a charity called Music Harvest that runs a cultural exchange programme in the city of Nablus and surrounding area.

Why? Life takes crazy turns now and again – some good, some bad. It’s been a tough year and this seemed like a little bit of craziness too good to turn down. I’ll be travelling around the region, meeting lots of people and even learning some Arabic. In return, I’ll be running music workshops for adults and children.

I count myself incredibly lucky to be able to take this time off and am unbelievably grateful to EML Wildfire.

I love working in PR and I love living in London. But this is an opportunity to experience something totally unique. Something a million miles away from my day-to-day, from the world where I’ve lived most of my life. It’s a cliché, but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I plan to grab it.

This is the first and last entry that I’ll cross-post. I’ve set up another blog where you can read about everything that happens.

I’d particularly like to hear from anyone familiar with this part of the world. It’s an area I find myself disappointingly ignorant about the more I discover. So please point me in the direction of books, articles, films, music, art…

To be continued.

continue reading: I’m off to the West Bank...