Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Um Salamona and Walaja

August 10, 2007

This week marks the 62nd anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the southern villages of Bethlehem, the Committee to Resist the Wall declared this week’s protest a commemoration to this tragic incident in human history, demand the international community to open and expose the Israeli nuclear program (not only to focus on countries that the US does not befriend), and demand an end to all current acts of violence and destruction such as the occupation and the building of the Apartheid Wall.

Palestinian, Israeli and international nonviolent activists, some who came from Japan to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians, participated in this weeks nonviolent actions in both Um Salamona and Walaja. The Japanese as well as the Palestinian flags were raised in this activity that included going to Palestinian farming land and helping farmers harvest the grapes. The land where the protest took place in Um Salamona was part of a new 250 dunum (over 50 acre) private property recently confiscated for expanding the Ifrat settlement.

As the protestors began removing a portion of a new separation fence that would prevent farmers from reaching the land, the Israeli army responded with violence and arrested one of the Israeli activists.

It was incredible to engage in discussions with some of these soldiers as we protested the arrest, many of the soldiers were new to such actions and used foul language and mocking statements to provoke the protestors. One of the soldiers insisted that this land is for the Jews and he is ready and willing to live in war all his life. In addition to his words he (and others) tried very hard to provoke us into a physical confrontation.  It was truly sad and upsetting to hear and see this from fellow human beings.

Only one quote came to my mind then, Gandhi’s “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Friday prayers were held in the village of Walaja where the Israeli occupation forces are building a wall to completely surround the village and isolate it from its farm land and nearby towns and villages. The same soldiers who were at the morning activity in Um Salamona were there to stop us in Walaja. At one point our vehicles were actually driving behind each other as we all left one area to go to the next.

More villages in the Bethlehem area specifically and the West Bank in general are now engaging in these weekly nonviolent actions against the building of the Apartheid Wall.

It is important for us to remember, heal, and learn from the tragedies we created in the past, so that our grandchildren would not have to say such similar words.

August 10 2007 nonviolent protestAugust 10 2007 nonviolent protestAugust 10 2007 nonviolent protest



4 thoughts on “Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Um Salamona and Walaja

  1. Thanks for your action report and I will crosspost it with your link.

    The 62nd anniversary of America’s atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki went by in the USA, with barely a wimper.

    As a child, I could not comprehend how my country could cold bloodedly target and murder an estimated 110,000 Japanese citizens and severely injure another 130,000 innocent civilians in order to ‘save’ American lives.

    As an adult, I am aggrieved that my government has still not repented for their terrorism nor expressed public sorrow for the lives that were vaporized and devastated in 1945, when by 1950, another 230,000 innocent Japanese had died from injuries or radiation poisoning.

    If THAT DAY, we call 9/11 taught us anything, it should be that America’s nuclear arsenal cannot keep us safe or secure from the actions of a few violent mad men who target and murder innocent ones.

    2,000 years ago, a social justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior and prophet rose up and challenged the job security of the corrupt Temple by teaching the people that they did not have to pay the high priests for ritual baths or to sacrifice livestock to be OK with God; for God already loved them just as they were; sinners, outcasts, diseased, cripples, poor and oppressed common folk, widows, orphans and prisoners enduring under military occupation.

    2,000 years ago the Roman Occupying Forces routinely crucified any agitator for disturbing the status quo of the elite. A particular social justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior and prophet named Jesus, issued a political statement and is quoted in Mark’s Gospel, “If any want to be my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”-Mark 8:34.

    2,000 years ago, “the cross…was neither a religious icon nor metaphor for personal anguish or humility. It had only one meaning: that terrible form of capitol punishment reserved by imperial Rome for political dissenters. The cross was a common sight in the revolutionary Palestine of Mark’s time; in this recruiting call, the disciple is invited to reckon with the consequences facing those who dare to challenge the hegemony of imperial Rome.”-Ched Myers, Sojourners Magazine , August 2007, page 28.

    Speaking from USA, but have been to Palestine five times, I am always filled by the witness of all who endure under and nonviolently resist the occupation; living examples of what Jesus was all about.

    Godspeed on justice, human rights for all and an end to the occupation.


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  3. P. Rainer Fielenbach

    Dear Sami and all realy peace searching people in the area of South-Bethlehem!

    Thank you very much for organizing this peacefull demonstrations every friday. The last three week i myself took part on this demonstrations and I’m very gratufull, that i could be witness with my own eyes, what is going on in Artas, Um Salomona, Al Walajeh, Cremisan… by robbering the palestinian land, uprooting the trees, building the appartheitwall. I saw the violence and power from the israelien soldiers against the peaceful and non violent protest of the villagers, their kids and old people, their families, the israelien and foreign peaceactivists – doing nothing else as to try to hold their land and their future, which Israel will cut.
    I m very gratefull, not only to hear or see this by video, but my own eyes.
    I m very gratefull, that you give the people in the world at least an impression of all these actions. Please show us and the world also in future the weekly demonstrations by video and description: Nobody in the world is allowed to say: I didn’t know. Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!
    Many greatings from Germany also to the people of Walajeh on this friday
    Father Rainer

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