Today was a full day of training; intensive, informing, and empowering. Faris, Mohammed and Raji are adorable, well-informed, intelligent and dedicated young men who did a fabulous job training us. We certainly were a challenging group and they handled us superbly. We were consistently throwing things off schedule because of all of our questions. We role played, learned about weapons and soldiers and arrest procedures, a great deal to absorb and process. Their senses of humor kept us on course and prevented any of us from freaking out with fear.
The ISM trained us in non-violent direct action tactics and prepared us for all that we might face from the Israeli military.
Huwaida returned from her very busy day to explain our mission for the opening day of Freedom Summer 2004. We would demonstrate at the Wall in Qalandia. We would wear a number on our chests with the name of a town where the Wall was already constructed. And we would carry signs.
Our training ended late, after which we had a meeting to discuss the next day’s Freedom Summer action, and to process all that we had learned. We went to sleep a little nervous, but secure because we would be demonstrating on one side of the checkpoint, far from the big action on the other side, where there would most likely be an Israeli military presence.
Anni’s Diary: June 25, 2004
Training took place about 12 hours for 2 days in the Meeting Room of the Retno with three beautiful young Palestinian men. Here they were, confronted with 13 women, some of whom could be their grandmothers, and a noisier, more serious group we couldn’t be. We started with one, slim, intense, with raccoon eyes, and beret. He was joined later by a second, larger, with a doughboy body and wire-rimmed glasses. He ran a tight ship, a stern (but loving) teacher with a class of unruly 7 year olds. It was wonderful. Ghasson Adoni, founder of ISM, gave a history of the region and conflict; it was terrific (and I didn’t tape it!)
We had role plays, weapons identification, and the works. Exhausting and frightening, too, although our trainers (“our boys”) were so direct and fearless. The Brooklyn contingent arrived – Doreen, Stacey, and Carol, from Amsterdam. It was so exciting to see them – seemed so long since we were last together; very emotional. After the last of the training, in weapons protection, we were all so wired, we just milled around outside the hotel before going to bed. Our first action is coming up! Very nervous! Now I know how Jeremy Hardy felt!