July 22nd, 2005
What is it I would like to share with you about this
day? Of course I want you to know that our second day of planting trees
was successful. We planted many trees, watered them well and are really
making that piece of road look far better than it did before. I am proud
I need to set something straight. You know how bad I
am with names. I hear them try all the pre-learned techniques to remember
them and, hurray (!), a second later my mind goes blank. Of course,
I have an excuse because the names around here are difficult to remember
due to their unfamiliarity. Furthermore, I struggle with the pronunciation
as the phonetics between Arabic and English are so different. Which
is, by the way, beautiful the other way around. My name written in Arabic
is like a piece of art. And it is only three letters long.
Why am I boring you with all this? Well one of the people
whom I mentioned in a previous letter made it clear to me that I have
used a name for him he didn't use anymore for eight years. Shame on
me! And because there might actually be people out there amongst you
who only know him by his current name, I feel I do have to clarify this.
Bear inn mind that when I spoke of Martin I was referring
to Martin Dronsfield, the artist formerly known as Martin Kamman (grin,
he is going to kill me for this!).
This brings me to a delicate topic: humour (for the USA:
humor). We seem to be laughing about things here that are really bizarre.
The war zone atmosphere of this place brings out the most wonderful
sarcasm in people, namely myself. And it helps people to remember long
forgotten jokes they have heard from others who have lived through tragedies.
So we laugh a lot. That is good therapy because it releases
some tension at least. But I find it hard to tell you the jokes. Right
now, as I sit here behind my computer (in a bit of a reflective state)
I don't even know what was so funny about the Holocaust jokes I heard.
Oh, and the irony of it all is that these joke are told by Jews. And
other groups seem to have at least a similar morbid appetite. Earlier
the birthday of one of our young Palestinians was celebrated. And I
was told that the songs the group sang for him included images of all
his family members being dead.
We finished our day with a silly ball game. It was the
usual chaos and a lot of fun. And afterwards, while standing in a circle
and talking about it one of us said: "We just had a workshop headed:
'Throwing Stones for Beginners'.
As one of the organisers of this event I'd like to share
something else with you. We designed the whole thing wrong. We thought
that the Peace Trees Project and the Earthstewards Gathering could be
two parallel programmes and that participants would easily move from
one to the other. And we thought that the organising team would be able
to manage the whole thing.
But this isn't so. All the difficulties related to the
Peace Trees Project seem to absorb all the energy. And we are doing
fine. But after a day of planting and an excursion to another Peace
organisation in Jerusalem we had a lousy Earthstewards meeting last
night. And quite a few people were disappointed and would not like to
be in a circle henceforth.
We spoke about this in the afternoon. And I feel we really
got to what a Gathering is all about. We spoke about what it is that
makes a Gathering so special that people are willing to travel half
the world to be there. For most of us, it was about being connected
to others. And the circle is an essential building block in the process
of regaining this sense of connection. And those who come to the Gathering
long to return home with this warm feeling. I think that Gatherings
help us (in a modest and powerful way) on our path to find an answer
to the existential question: Why…?
But OK, we screwed up last night. And people were feeling
lost and disappointed. Some of them saying things like 'Earthstewards
is nothing for me'. So we spoke and used all our creativity and we found
the perfect remedy: we scheduled a circle for this evening. And it was
decided that Dieuwke and I would facilitate it. So we sat together and
talked about how to do it and we did it. And we did well! Our dear friend
Ibrahim said it made his day!
Dear Friend, I realise you must be a bit surprised to
hear Dieuwke and I did this together. But to me it is not so much surprising
as well as reinforcing in knowing that the EarthStewards Gatherings
are powerful and healing.
Greetings -with all my love-,