“Best of Luck”on a Bright, Breezy Day
I arrived at John Lewis for the fortnightly action against SodaStream having had the usual fear beforehand that nobody would turn up. As usual I was wrong and at least a dozen people (and a dog) arrived to show the world that we support human rights for the people of Palestine.
Due to a mixup we didn’t have our ‘Disappearing Palestine’banner, but, being a flexible lot, somebody had brought along some laminated placards with the same graphic on some of them in addition to one or two others which showed, for instance, an Israeli soldier pointing his machine gun at a group of schoolgirls waiting behind a barrier trying to get to school in Al Khalil (Hebron). Another enterprising member of our group brought along her own placard which she was able to wear round her neck whilst giving out postcards.
We also had one or two visitors who came to see us. One was a lovely young American who is studying at Oxford University and who wanted to interview some of us for the project she is doing on the topic of protest. Another was an excellent American graphic designer who has done some brilliant work for Palestine solidarity in the past and it appears that she will be spending some time in the UK, so lucky us!
As is usually the case, the majority of people were receptive and took our postcards, some wanted to talk, some came and asked for a postcard and some simply walked by; and as is always the case when the beautiful dog called Freddie is with us, people came to talk to him too.
What I find amazing is that we always seem to meet at least one Palestinian (last time we met two, separately) whether from the diaspora, including England, Israeli towns or the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). This time we met a lovely young man from Haifa, and as with every other Palestinian we have met on Oxford Street, he was very happy to see us there.
And, as is usually the case on such a busy, crowded street on a Saturday afternoon, we encountered one or two people who opposed our solidarity. One woman furiously asked one of our number if she had ever been there, to which our friend replied, truthfully, that she had, and the woman stormed off furiously muttering about ‘mad’Palestinians; she was hopping ‘mad’herself despite not having been expelled or displaced and offered no argument as to why we shouldn’t be there aside from her ‘mad’comment. As one of our friends pointed out, it wasn’t necessary to go to South Africa to know that it practised Apartheid, yet this is a question which people often ask. Last time that question was asked a friend could reply that he had spent several years there! These days anyone who wants to find out the truth only has to search on the internet to see for themselves the awful things happening to the people of Palestine
Another person, a young man with a girlfriend, shouted “Long live Israel”as he walked past. I don’t know if it was the same person because I only saw the back of the pair, but the same thing happened two weeks ago as a couple walked past, and one of our friends politely replied “Best of luck”. I decided to respond in exactly the same way, so said, “Best of luck”as they continued walking away.
We will always be friendly and courteous when met with opposition. We have truth and the desire for dignity, justice and equality for all on our side. “Best of luck”is the best response because as the world becomes more and more aware of the the truth they will need it.
JOIN US NEXT ACTION 26th April 12pm -2pm