Ironically, I don’t think about the occupations of Iraq or Palestine as much as I used to back in America, even though I’m closer to it than ever before. Every day, my work influences the lives of dozens of different refugees from Palestine and Iraq. We do business, they learn from me and I from them, and sometimes I forget the impossibly difficult situations they or their families came from, somewhere between 61 years ago and last month. However, they are proud people, my friends and students, and they don’t like to talk about their plight, and if I ask them if there will ever be peace in their countries, I’m given a small smile, spread hands, eyes cast upward, and the ever-present Insha’allah – God willing.

The Campus Antiwar Network, the student activism group that started me along this path over two and a half years ago is still going strong in the USA. I’m still on their email lists and I enjoy reading about their protests, planning, and conferences to rally student enthusiasm behind a full troop withdrawal and authentic democratic elections in Iraq, and a full Israeli withdrawal into the pre-1967 borders defined by the United Nations. I’m pretty sure if anyone actually paid attention to anything the United Nations commanded, at least half of their ambassadors would suffer heart attacks from shock.

Some of my friends from CAN are over in Palestine right now, working in the West Bank with the ISM, International Solidarity Movement. Here’s their website, Feta Cheese and Falafel. There’s been some amazing videos and stories coming from the small group of dedicated international workers there, and I encourage you to check them out, and leave some words of encouragement on their blog.

The utter depravity of Israeli soldiers who teargas peaceful protesters, throw percussion grenades at them, arrest them without warrant or reason, and drench them with some possibly nerve-damaging “non-fatal” weaponry called “Skunk” is being brought ever closer to home for me. This is happening less than 150 kilometers from my house now. What can I do when my colleagues are fighting for the rights of people like my students? I can’t just sit here any longer.

In a couple more weeks, after I finish my final class teaching here in Ayn al Basha, I am planning on joining them over there for a couple weeks in early August, to document, to protest, and to cut down some barbed-wire fences. If all goes as planned, I should be able to join my friends for a week in early August.The more media we can push in the faces of the bored and apathetic American public, the better the chance that we will slowly but surely cut down the barbed fences of Israel’s terrorism against their Arab cohabitants.

“Occupation is a Crime, from Iraq to Palestine!” Time to dust off my old chants and start practicing again. It’s been a year, but an activist only goes dormant for awhile; he never stops activizing.

Update: Due to unforeseen travel related circumstances, I’m unable to join my comrades in Palestine. However, I’ll be praying for them and their safety, and I encourage you to check out their website and share with your friends. We need more people like them to spread the truth of Israel’s bloodthirsty depravity.