|Posted on October 23, 2012 at 7:10 AM|
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance; And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance - I hope you Dance
Last time I wrote of the frustration I was feeling with the phenomenon I have witnessed of Palestinians internalizing the occupation. Sure Israel is no longer "enforcing" many checkpoints; they are not “needed”, because the checkpoints remain in the mind. Learned helplessness occurs when a person is repeatedly subjected to negative events that cannot be escaped. Eventually, the person will stop trying to avoid the event and behave as if they are helpless to change the situation. Even when opportunities are presented, this learned helplessness will prevent any action. This inaction can lead people to overlook further opportunities for relief or change.
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance; Never settle for the path of least resistance. Living might mean taking chances but they're worth taking. Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth making.
Almost daily I hear the refrain “What we can do?” Sure life, especially life here, is not a country song, but for every person that has lost hope, there is another that fights for their life here, this goes beyond steadfastness – it is a refusal to bow to unrelenting circumstances that seek to change who they are - Palestinian. In the last week I have been talking with several of these people and asking why are they different. Several common traits became apparent. The first of these is a sense of faith…not religiosity, but a real sense that God is directly involved in their lives. The second is a sense of creativity. Perhaps creative people are just crazy enough to believe anything is possible. In the last week I met photographers, writers, film makers and dancers; all pursuing their dreams in the least likely place for dreams to take root.
Don't let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter. When you come close to selling out reconsider. Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance - I hope you dance.
One of these new friends is Maher Shawamreh, a dancer and choreographer. He founded the Orient & Dance Theatre for contemporary dance in Palestine. He funds this project mostly with his own money, because his dream is to dance for Palestine. Any “reasonable” person would say he shouldn’t be here, living this life. First as a 14 year old he spent three and a half years in an Israeli jail, mostly in solitary confinement. His only time out of the cell was when he was taken out for interrogation and beatings. But in that cell his mind could take him away into the world of his dreams. As a dancer now he has the ability to leave this place for real, but instead he is choosing to help others find their own dreams.
“I dance to leave something behind. I dance here because I was born here. I am Palestinian. Everything here gives me the power to dance; the trees, the mountains, the people, even the occupation. My dream is to show the world that there is a people here that dance.”
*Lyrics adapted from "I hope you dance" by Leeanne Womack