We had created a micro-Gaza right there in the plaza, and again, that is the point of nonviolent action—to dramatize an invisible wrong and make it visible, put in the face of the world so it can’t be ignored.
So I ended up in front of these hard-eyed Egyptian security guys, with the grim expressions that reminded me that these are the folks the CIA gets to do their real torturing for them. But honestly, I was bored. So bored that I decided to make use of the time, if possible, to improve my Arabic.
I smiled at grim cop in front of me, held up one finger, and said, “Wehed?” His eyes locked on mine. I held up two. “Efnayim?” He ventured a smile, nodded encouragingly, and said “Taletha.” “Arbah” I replied, holding up four, and before I knew it the entire line of cops within earshot were grinning and nodding encouragement as I counted to ten, then patiently instructing me on to eleven, twelve, thirteen…There’s a music to the Arabic numbers that is quite hypnotic, and before I knew it I was up to a hundred, with my team cheering me on. Then we started over again, and over. They were all gazing at me with fond, paternal eyes, like a father looks at a promising child, and they stopped looking to me like potential torturers and started looking more like sweet young men doing a job that wasn’t really their choice to begin with. Then they switched shifts, and I had to start all over again. But damn if it didn’t work just the same way with the new guard.
Those quotes are from Starhawk's fourth post detailing her participation in the Gaza Freedom March. Here's the first one.
Is this on the news?