So i live in a very small community, two neighbouring towns with a combined population under 30,000, many of whose families have lived here for generations. Not very diverse, and many are not very politically aware.
This morning a friend of mine, a teacher in my town, and i went to a park in the neighbouring town where every Saturday there is a farmer’s market.
We brought my Palestinian flag, a couple of enlarged photos i’d prepared, and engaged with passersby on Gaza and Syria.
Small number of people who stopped to talk, but it was a positive experience in that they were well-informed (on Gaza, Syria I’m working on it), and agreed to my suggestion that we form a small solidarity group and grow it, bring these issues to our community. Great conversation and some great ideas for the future.
The less-positive, part 2, to attempts to raise awareness today came when i did a one woman show with my Palestinian flag hoisted and engaged with passersby. Some were receptive and concerned, knew that a massacre was occurring in Gaza (confused on Syria, I’m working on it…), others didn’t want to discuss, and one delightful older woman snarled in a small-town drawl, “like hell they are!” when i told her “israel” is bombing Gaza. Another young man was ready to punch me.
I put fliers up around town, the shop-owners were receptive and we discussed a bit.
Having spent most of my adult life almost everywhere BUT Canada, and most of my solidarity work on site in Gaza, Syria, this was–i admit–my first attempt at being a presence. I’ve done lots of public speaking across Canada and the States, but trying to engage with people one-on-one is a different experience.
But despite the ignorance and plain selfishness of the characters i met in part 2 of today’s attempts to awareness-raise, i won’t give up.
The reason i’m posting this entry to is encourage anyone who reads it to be a lone nut like me and so many others, to gather materials (and ideally more than one person), and find ways to reach out to your own community and offer them the chance to give a shit. Not everyone will, but if the me of 10 years ago (100% ignorant) had come across the me of today, i would have stopped to listen, would’ve been shocked and concerned and would’ve followed up with some more learning, eventually getting involved. My own learning curve came about in a different way, by chance, but had someone offered me the information back then, ignorant as i was, i would have listened and been grateful.
It’s that type of person i am hoping to awaken, because the more who do learn the truth, the more soldiers of truth we have working for justice.