Articles & News

Protect hundreds of thousands of immigrants from deportation

American Friends Service Committee - Mon, 03/12/2018 - 7:47am

Tearing immigrants from their families and communities is wrong. Support permanent residency for TPS and DED holders.

Categories: Articles & News

Who's watching? Resisting surveillance

American Friends Service Committee - Sun, 03/11/2018 - 3:12pm
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 8:30pm to 10:00pm
Categories: Articles & News

Quakers in Politics Live Web Panel (March 22)

Friends Journal - Wed, 03/07/2018 - 9:18am
A Live Web Panel on March 22, 2018 at 3:00pm (EDT) To participate on March 22, visit We also plan to cross-stream on Facebook Live.

Downloadable flyer

Does faith influence values? Can it be a factor in governance without closing the gap between church and state?

If faith and values have a place in the discussion, what might it mean to be a quaker and run for Congress? How do Quakers relate to the governing of the country?

The upcoming U.S. Congressional mid-term elections already have at least seven Quaker candidates for office. How does their Quaker faith inform these candidates’ desires to run for Congress? What advice would they have for other Quakers wanting to run for office in the future?

Find out what motivated these first-time candidates to give up their privacy for the glare of public service.

Join moderator Alan Price, president of Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion via videoconferencee for a live two-hour panel discussion with Quaker U.S. Congressional candidates:

For more information, call 800-432-1377. Event co-sponsored by Friends Journal and Earlham School of Religion.

The post Quakers in Politics Live Web Panel (March 22) appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

Stand with communities and #DefundHate

American Friends Service Committee - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 1:36pm

Sign our petition to tell Congress: #DefundHate, protect our communities, and refuse to fund attacks on immigrant communities.

Categories: Articles & News

March 2018 Full Issue Access

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 8:30am
Members can download the full PDF or read any article online (see links below). Features: “A Network of Love” by Lois Jordan; “What Once Was Can Be Again” by Sandy Rea; “Palestine and Israel: A Decolonial Framework for Justice and Peace” by Tabitha Mustafa and Sandra Tamari; “When Dialogue Stands in the Way of🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
Not an FJ member? To read this piece, please join us today! For $28, you'll get:
  • A year of Friends Journal delivered to your mailbox (11 issues) and email
  • Full, instant access to the world’s largest online library of Quaker information: every Friends Journal ever published, going back to 1955
  • Membership in a community that believes in the power of Quaker experience
Click here to join us! Already a member? Welcome back. Please use the Login box to sign in. If you would like to order by phone or have any questions, we’re here to help. Call toll-free: (800)471-6863 or contact us by email.

The post March 2018 Full Issue Access appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

Among Friends: All Land Is Holy Land

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 8:15am

All land is holy land. As Friends, we teach that consecration comes only from the active presence of the living Spirit. Our meetinghouses are not sacred because we worship there or because our spiritual ancestors had meaningful worship there. The transcendent spirituality comes from us returning once more, settling into the depth of the silence once more, and attending to divine prompts. The Quaker style of worship only works if we keep showing up and staying faithful.

When we decided to do an issue on Israel and Palestine, we picked the musty-sounding cliche of “Holy Land” as its organizing theme. Most terms for the region have years and sometimes centuries of layered meaning. Claims of Jerusalem as an especially holy city have been advanced for thousands of years and embraced by three major world religions. The last century and a half of Quaker activity in the region has been shaped by the mythos of these cultural claims, even as our participation has embedded us ever deeper into the complexities of its peoples.

Our stories this month follow some of that journey. Lois Jordan starts us off with the tale of her beloved aunt Mildred, an Indiana Quaker who worked with the Friends school in Ramallah, ten miles north of Jerusalem, over a span of three decades starting in 1922. Philadelphia Friend Sandy Rea continues the story with tales of working at Ramallah and a non-Quaker schools in Jordan in the 1980s.

Then, like a discordant record scratch, Tabitha Mustafa and Sandra Tamari, Palestinian Americans with Quaker bonafides, have an article asking inconvenient questions of how notions of colonialism have shaped Quaker activity in Palestine. They are the ones who remind us that all land is holy land.

When we strip myths away to look at the day-to-day realities of Israel and Palestine, we find two peoples in conflict over resources. Religions and ethnic identities divide them, and so does power. In “When Dialogue Stands in the Way of Peace,” Mike Merryman-Lotze of American Friends Service Committee introduces us to a contemporary Palestinian politics that challenges Quaker idealism. As Friends, our first instinct has been to think of conflicts as misunderstandings: if only everyone got to know each other better, love and cooperation would replace fear and confusion. It’s a charming and sometimes true sentiment, but many Palestinian activists charge that this process ignores power differentials and “normalizes” the status quo.

Finally, Lauren Brownlee shares a vulnerable and honest account of how she worked through the conflicting claims around justice and anti-Semitism to find a position on the controversial Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that she can claim. Her answer may not be your answer, but we hope her model of discernment is useful to readers.

I’m reminded of the struggles of discernment, power, and normalization when I look at other intra-Quaker conflicts that haven’t resolved despite the ministrations of committees, task forces, and listening sessions. Many Friends feel alienated over important issues—race, politics, and sexuality, just to name a few—and wonder if they belong. The fractures can result in more homogeneous and harmonious bodies, but they also suggest a failure of Quaker process. Is the normal we have the normal we want? If we’re all children of God, then all well-meaning, Light-seeking Friends should be able to find a home among us.

Let’s keep showing up and staying faithful.


Correction: The print version of this article mistaken says Sandy Rea’s teaching in Lebanon took place in Quaker-affiliated schools; they were International College, a secondary school (not Quaker) in Lebanon (1969-70) and at American Univ. of Beirut, in Lebanon 2000-2001.

The post Among Friends: All Land Is Holy Land appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

A Network of Love

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 8:10am
Left to right: Leila and Violet Zaru with Lois Jordan, in the sisters’ home in Ramallah, 1995. In the particular lies the universal. —James Joyce I was only four, but I could tell that someone special was coming to🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
Not an FJ member? To read this piece, please join us today! For $28, you'll get:
  • A year of Friends Journal delivered to your mailbox (11 issues) and email
  • Full, instant access to the world’s largest online library of Quaker information: every Friends Journal ever published, going back to 1955
  • Membership in a community that believes in the power of Quaker experience
Click here to join us! Already a member? Welcome back. Please use the Login box to sign in. If you would like to order by phone or have any questions, we’re here to help. Call toll-free: (800)471-6863 or contact us by email.

The post A Network of Love appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

What Once Was Can Be Again

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 8:05am

All photos courtesy of the author.

Probably you can easily imagine it: that familiar photo looking west across the Old City of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The sweeping panorama takes in the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock shrine; further back, the black tops of the domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; and the walls of the old Temple Mount with the Western Wall out of sight on the far side. There they all are in Old City Jerusalem: the spiritual cores of all the three great monotheistic religions, side by side by side.

Medieval science, philosophy, and medicine flourished in the Middle Ages in the Iberian Peninsula as Christian, Muslim, and Jewish writers and scholars shared their knowledge.

I’ve been privileged to go to all three. I was inside the Dome of the Rock in 1970, before it was closed to non-Muslims. My last time in the Old City, I was accompanied into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by a Palestinian Muslim doctor who wanted to see the inside. Having already visited the Western Wall myself, I was greatly moved in hearing the story of a developmentally delayed patient of mine who was so excited to travel with her synagogue group and place a prayer from her grandmother into a crevice in the Western Wall.

Despite conflicts, the three faiths—side by side for 1,300 years—have found ways to live together with respect, even celebratory joy.

We know of other examples when Muslims, Christians, and Jews successfully lived together within communities. Spain from the early seventh century well into the fourteenth century included stretches of decades where Jews, Christians, and Muslims interacted with tolerance, revering each other’s way of life and traditions. Medieval science, philosophy, and medicine flourished in the Middle Ages in the Iberian Peninsula as Christian, Muslim, and Jewish writers and scholars shared their knowledge.

More recently, interaction between faiths is presented in Ariel Sabar’s lovely memoir, My Father’s Paradise, which tells of Kurdish Jews in a rural village in Northern Iraq. Sabar begins with descriptions of his grandparents’ life in rural Kurdish Iraq in a village where his Jewish ancestors lived in harmony with Muslim and Christian neighbors. They celebrated each other’s holidays, attended weddings and funerals of friends of other faiths, and interacted respectfully in business and professional relationships.

It is with these and other similar examples in my mind and heart that I carry on my work as a Friend in twenty-first century United States. In my role as clerk of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Middle East Collaborative, I work with a team of Friends to inform Friends and others in the Philadelphia region of some of the developments and complexities of current Middle East political, social, educational, and economic challenges. Together we have a shared vision of equality and a just peace between the Palestinians and Israelis in the Holy Land that may in the future be a reality. Together we share a concern for broken resolutions, continued violence, and entrenched leadership.

Friends presence in the Middle East is carried by the two monthly meetings that comprise Near East Yearly Meeting: Brummana Meeting in the hills east of Beirut, Lebanon, and Ramallah Meeting in Palestine, about ten miles north of Jerusalem.

Each of the two Near East Yearly Meetings monthly meetings is intimately connected to a school: Brummana High School in Lebanon, and Ramallah Friends School in Palestine. Political events in the region added to the First World (or Western) drive for colonization. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century in Greater Syria (ostensibly the whole region east of the Mediterranean Sea), numerous schools were started under the care of Western entities. American Friends were instrumental in the late 1860s in beginning Friends Girls School (FGS) in Ramallah. Paralleling those efforts, British Friends helped local Quakers establish Brummana Meeting and Brummana High School in 1874. Friends Boys School started in Ramallah about a generation after Friends Girls School, when in 1905, FGS graduates wanted a school for their sons. Ramallah Meetinghouse was built in 1910.

During three teaching years in the region, I was blessed to worship with Friends at both Brummana Meeting and Ramallah Meeting. In the 1969–70 school year, I taught English as a second language at International College (IC) in Beirut, Lebanon, a secondary K–12 school adjacent to the American University of Beirut. IC had a program through the ‘60s, and until the war in Lebanon in 1975, of hiring American young men as teaching fellows. I was one of five teaching fellows at IC in the 1969–1970 school year. We taught a part-time load of English, did dormitory supervision, and a bit of coaching. The program included tuition for a course or two at American University of Beirut.

I fell in love with Lebanon: with the people, the sound of the language, the tastes of the food, and smells of the spices. Views to the Lebanon mountains from Beirut’s seaside boulevards and rooftops are enticing. Mountain villages have preserved their charm by keeping older homes with the blonde stone and red tile roofs. The hard-working and earnest teachers and the smart, business-minded shop owners are always glad to see foreigners. There is an industriousness, resilience, and pride in the Lebanese that contribute to the repeated risings from so many destructions of the city. (Fourteen civilizations were identified by archeologists who, due to some of the destruction of 15 years of war, were able to access more artifacts under the earth than ever before in the decade of the ‘90s, after the end of the war.)

My wife, Stephanie Judson, and I looked at each other asking what to do when we heard the news of the bombing of the American Embassy on the seaside boulevard in Beirut in 1983. Our daughter, Julia, was not yet one year old. Beirut, in the middle of an intense part of the 15-year-long war, was not a place for a young family. Way opened as Stephanie asked more and more questions, and we landed teaching at Friends Girls School in Ramallah for the 1983–1984 school year.

We spent the days scheduled as one teacher so that one of us could be home with baby Julia. We spent free time travelling easily around the West Bank and Israel. We spent vacations in Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Classes in conversational Arabic enhanced our understanding of the culture, both directly from learning the language and from our beginning ability to converse with folks we met. Julia, a toddler growing from age one to two, was an ambassador who helped us open many conversations with locals. On Sundays one of us would walk up to the meetinghouse and join ex-pats, as well as the few local Palestinian Quakers, for meeting for worship. The other would stay home, as there was not First-day school at that time at Ramallah Meeting. As the meeting and school are both under the care of Friends United Meeting, our meetings for worship included hymns as well as ministry out of the silence.

Ramallah Meeting is about half way across the city of Ramallah between Friends Boys School and Friends Girls School. It was several years after we taught there that the governance board of the two schools fully combined to form Ramallah Friends School (RFS). The campus of Friends Girls School is now the Lower School of RFS and what was called Friends Boys School is now the Upper School of RFS.

Julia was also the connection to a second American family with whom we have been close since the October 1983 day when a babysitter brought a second American toddler to the door of our rented apartment in Ramallah, just blocks from the school. Christina Heath is the daughter of Peter and Marianne Heath who were working at Birzeit University, a small Palestinian University west of the city of Ramallah. I hold a strong memory of Christina and Julia reaching across the space between their highchairs at our Thanksgiving table to hold hands for our silent grace.

Stephanie and I took our slide show, “We Learned More Than They Did,” to various meetings in the Philadelphia area in the year after returning from teaching at Friends Girls School in Ramallah. One of the points we’d make is that both sides—Israeli and Palestinian—taught fear. In the stories they’d tell, there would be references to prior horrors, to unjust imprisonments or land grabs, to eye-for-an-eye violence, to random home demolitions, and to random car bombings.

By 2000, Peter Heath was provost at American University of Beirut (AUB). He hired both Stephanie and me to work in administration at AUB. I was director of counseling services in the Office of Student Affairs; Stephanie worked in the Development office and did special projects for the deans, the provost, and the president. Our younger daughter, Elizabeth, was with us and attended ninth grade at American Community School, where Marianne Heath was her English teacher. Again we travelled all around Lebanon on weekends and enjoyed trips to Damascus, Istanbul, Cairo, Luxor, and the Sinai Peninsula during vacations. We began to become familiar with subtle differences in the Arabic dialects and heard varied points of view on America and on the Israel/Palestine dilemma.

Brummana Meeting is held in a parlor of the administrative offices of the school in the Lebanese mountain village of Brummana, east of Beirut. Upon first arriving at the school, we were struck by the similarity of the look and feel of the school entrance to Friends Girls School where we’d been 15 years before. The campus has darkened sandstone buildings with green trim, beautiful tall trees, ocher-colored dirt playgrounds, and many steps down to the various levels of the school campus. From the main building’s patio looking west is an outstanding view down to Beirut far below.

We routinely would take a taxi up to Brummana Meeting from our AUB apartment and ride back in a shared service, a vehicle for about ten passengers that would take us down to sea level and a section of Beirut from which we could find another service to head out to the University district of the city. The Baz family, Rene Baz and her son, Sabbagh, were the social and functional centers of the meeting at that time. Most Sundays a social gathering at Rene Baz’s apartment a couple blocks from the school campus followed meeting for worship. A small number of other Lebanese Quakers would come together with occasional out-of-town visitors and a few Brummana High School teachers.

My screen saver says: “If you want Peace, work for Justice; if you want Justice, work for Equality; if you want Equality, work to reduce fear.” Bringing conflicting sides together to work for peace involves compromise and involves reducing the fear of letting go of old grudges, stubbornness, opinions, and stances. Additionally, there is the challenge of reducing the fear of moving into an unknown, when each side will have to give up something highly valued. A whole lot of the road map for a peaceful solution for the Israelis and Palestinians is in place. But people and politicians have to want peace and uncomfortable new arrangements more than they want to continue the unsatisfactory status quo.

Therefore, I hold a vision of a just and lasting peace with equal rights for Palestinians, both in Palestine and in Israel, as well as freedom and safety for all Israelis, and stability for the whole region. I work toward possibilities that bring us closer to a workable solution for a peaceful, integrated coexistence.

In my opinion, it is—and will be—crucial to address the fears that accompany the current standoff, as well as the fears of letting go for the sake of a new unknown. Occupation dehumanizes both the occupied and the occupier. We know of programs and connections across the political and cultural divide. We know of nonviolent resistance efforts to the Occupation on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. But the overwhelming evidence of the continued threat to Israel’s existence; the separation wall; the settlements on so many ridge and hilltops in the West Bank; the ever-present reality of another suicide bombing; and the injustices of detentions, inequalities of transport, water resources, and travel make the good news shrink to tidbits in the onrushing cascade of forces against equality and justice.

Friends are called to action. The Middle East Collaborative of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting is committed to assist Friends and others in understanding the complexities of the Middle East: politics; human rights violations; inequalities regarding land, water, and roads. We have supported Ramallah Meeting clerk Jean Zaru since she gave the plenary speech at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions in March of 2002 and have extended that support to the new clerk, her son Saleem Zaru. We are looking for ways to support efforts that are assisting recent refugees, particularly but not exclusively those from the Middle East region.

In 2010, we sponsored a delegation of ten young adults (about half were Friends) and two leaders to be in Israel and Palestine for two weeks. Part of their mission was to travel through the West Bank with Palestinian counterparts who worked for American Friends Service Committee’s Youth Program at the time. In 2012, two members of our group were instrumental in nudging forward Friends Fiduciary board in its discernments to divest its funds in companies that support human rights abuses in Palestine. Most summers at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting annual sessions, our group has hosted a workshop on a timely topic concerning the region.

The title of Emily Dickinson’s poem “I Dwell in Possibility” (even if different from the context of her poem) has been a beacon for my Middle East-related work as a twenty-first-century Friend. I hold an awareness of what was true in Medieval Spain and in early twentieth-century Iraq. What was can also be again, as we plan, connect, listen, compromise, forgive, and build a shared vision for respectful, nonviolent coexistence with reduced fear and increased justice and equality.

The post What Once Was Can Be Again appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

Palestine and Israel

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 8:00am
A Decolonial Framework for Justice and Peace

© Dave Marzotto

When Canada’s acclaimed aboriginal poet Lee Maracle first met Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, she remarked, “He spoke to something so old inside my body, it felt like floating on a sea of forever.” She composed “Remembering Mahmoud 1986” to mark his death in 2012. The opening lines of the poem read:

Mahmoud’s poems are beads of sweat
Dripping from stressed and weathered foreheads
To fall near silent amid the incessant Israeli bombs
To rise—pearls of blood—from between the bits of rubble
Clutched by Palestinians chasing a livelihood
From a shrinking land base

They become desperate word flowers
Blooming nonetheless from a land
Occupied by settlers
Chronically stealing the lives of children

What Maracle expressed when she met Darwish was a validation of her own condition as an indigenous woman forced off her land, stripped of her cultural memory, and struggling to thrive in a system designed to eliminate her people. The lines of verse describe the political reality known as settler colonialism, illustrating its distinct feature: the replacement of indigenous populations with an outside settler society. Both Israel and the United States—as well as Canada, Australia, and others—are settler colonial societies. One of the lessons we have learned from organizing for justice for Palestinians and other marginalized people is that native history must be centered. The decolonial discourse of indigenous struggles for land, self-determination, and sovereignty is the necessary lens through which to articulate and pursue visions for collective liberation.

Israel’s privileging of Jews over non-Jews ensures that it cannot be both Jewish and democratic.

The situation in Palestine and Israel is often described as complicated. Declaring the issue as complicated is a way to avoid coming to terms with our own responsibility; confusion; and inability to support the rights of a colonized, indigenous people. Understanding the nature of settler colonialism clarifies the struggle over Palestine. A settler colonial lens puts the focus on the root cause of the injustice and, thus, the path to justice and peace among Palestinians and Israelis. Those genuinely interested in the fate of the peoples of this land need to reckon with the reality of Israel’s foundation, reject myths, and commit to decolonization.

Grasping the full truth of Israel’s foundation requires examination of the Palestinian Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe.” The Nakba refers to the events of 1948 that led to the establishment of the state of Israel, the destruction of hundreds of Palestinians villages, and the ethnic cleansing of over 750,000 Palestinians. Displacement of Palestinians by Israel continues today. The logic of Zionism, the ideology of Jewish nationalism that defines Israel, requires acquiring the maximum amount of land with a minimum number of Palestinians. Jewish supremacy in Palestine is central to the Zionist project.

Israel’s own leaders openly talk about the settler colonial foundations of the state. Moshe Dayan said in 1969:

We came here to a country that was populated by Arabs, and we are building here a Hebrew, a Jewish state; instead of the Arab villages, Jewish villages were established. You even do not know the names of those villages, and I do not blame you because these villages no longer exist. There is not a single Jewish settlement that was not established in the place of a former Arab village.

Israel’s privileging of Jews over non-Jews ensures that it cannot be both Jewish and democratic.

Quakers do not acknowledge the settler colonial nature of Zionism and Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians. The minutes and statements of Quaker meetings and organizations focus on competing national narratives, “cycles of violence,” and “two irreconcilable claims to the land.” This discourse is deeply flawed and damaging as it gives cover to oppression. How can we move forward for justice and peace if we don’t understand the root of the violence?

The “two narratives” myth brings with it a peculiar set of problems in Quaker circles.

The violence of settler colonialism can only be addressed through decolonization, a process which begins with the rejection of myths. Philosopher Karl Popper said, “True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it.” Palestinian scholar Yamila Shannan clarifies this notion by adding, “Ignorance is the presence of myth.” Taking into account the catastrophic results of the creation of Israel from Palestinians debunks the myths that surround use of terms like “Holy Land” and tropes like “two peoples for one land.” Just as no person is “illegal,” all land is holy.

One oft-repeated myth is that any critique of Israel is anti-Semitic. Palestinians have the unfortunate reality of facing oppression at the hands of the victims of European anti-Semitism. Edward Said spoke to this condition when he said, “To be the victim of a victim does present quite unusual difficulties.” Many Quakers condemn Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). They see BDS as refusing to see the humanity of Israeli Jews and, thus, as anti-Semitic. Understanding settler colonialism and decolonization clarifies that resistance to forced displacement would exist, regardless of whom the oppressor is.

The “two narratives” myth brings with it a peculiar set of problems in Quaker circles. Quakers promote dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians an an avenue for reconciliation. As Palestinians, we are constantly invited into spaces to sit opposite Zionists to engage in “dialogue.” In such settings, we are basically being asked to justify our own humanity. How do you dialogue with those who espouse an ideology and policies that are premised on a denial of your people’s humanity and its ongoing dispossession? To appear with those who insist on maintaining Jewish supremacy in our homeland is to normalize our own oppression. We don’t believe it is enough to end the military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. We cannot separate the military occupation from the fate of Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are subjected to at least 50 discriminatory laws, home demolitions, and police brutality. Nor can we abandon millions of Palestinian refugees to permanent exile. It is not unreasonable for us to demand full dignity, equality, and freedom.

Finally, a settler colonial framework requires solutions rooted in decolonization. Quakers must advocate for solutions that dismantle Israel’s racist foundations. That means any logic which supports settler colonialism must also be rejected. Quakers are compelled to take an introspective look at the ways in which they contribute to colonialism in Palestine. Quakers are complicit in unjust systems through programs, policies, and institutions that act as tools of oppression. We offer these critiques to bring the Quaker community into a full keeping with its rich legacy of seeking justice.

[quote]What shift in thinking about Palestinians would take place in a decolonization of the school?[/quote]

Quaker institutions contribute to the dehumanization of Palestinians by imposing outside norms on Palestinian society and making judgments about who is fit to lead Palestinian liberation. The Ramallah Friends School and the principles guiding the work of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) are two examples of Quaker colonialism in practice.

The Ramallah Friends School was originally opened in 1889 as the Girls Training Home of Ramallah, a boarding school teaching Western and Quaker values. While today the school is praised for its legacy of producing Palestinian intellectual, social, and political leaders and for its rich tradition of antiestablishment politics against the Israeli occupation, the origins of the school and its history are reminiscent of “Indian” boarding schools, as the Ramallah Friends School is a product of U.S. educational imperialism. Otherwise, why is it that the head of school for such a prominent Palestinian institution is appointed by Friends United Meeting (FUM) of Richmond, Indiana? Further, the school boasts that its graduates attend top universities around the world. Of these top universities, 106 of the 123 schools on the list are Western universities. There is a subconscious (or perhaps conscious) emphasis that Western institutions are inherently better than others. Institutions like the Ramallah Friends School are tools of colonialism because they package and impose what is idealized by Western Quakers on an indigenous Palestinian population. What would decolonization of Ramallah Friends School look like? What shift in thinking about Palestinians would take place in a decolonization of the school?

An essential part of decolonizing Quaker spaces and actions means that Quakers must acknowledge and respect that Palestinian communities have immense knowledge and resources, which predate the establishment of Quaker institutions in Palestine.

American Friends Service Committee also perpetuates colonialist tendencies. For example, there are no Palestinians in leadership positions on the organization’s Israel-Palestine Coordinating Committee, and the country representative for Israel and Palestine is European. It is not that those currently in these positions are ill-informed on the subject or unqualified to lead others. We also acknowledge that the current program leadership has inherited staffing structures that have been difficult to remedy in times of budget crisis. Rather, this observation illustrates that AFSC, as a non-governmental organization, exercises colonialist practices by excluding Palestinians from leading their own struggle for liberation. The decision to put white Americans and Europeans in positions of power implies that Palestinians are not fit to govern themselves or to have agency over their own liberation work. An essential part of decolonizing Quaker spaces and actions means that Quakers must acknowledge and respect that Palestinian communities have immense knowledge and resources, which predate the establishment of Quaker institutions in Palestine.

AFSC’s “Principles for a Just and Lasting Peace Between Palestinians and Israelis” has largely remained static since 1999. The principles are outdated and present a problematic framework for understanding the situation in Palestine. The document attempts to lay out solutions for Palestinians and Israelis including a section on self-determination that reads in part:

AFSC affirms the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live as sovereign peoples in their own homeland, a right that encompasses the possibility of choosing two separate states. We acknowledge that other options such as a bi-national state and confederation are being discussed.

Quaker process can be slow and biased toward a continuation of the status quo.

The “Principles” document goes on to say that “the issue here is of one land and two peoples” and that “no one’s right to self-determination should be exercised at the expense of someone else’s.” This framework is problematic in that it makes permanent the subjugation of the Palestinians. Jewish self-determination in the form of Zionism, an ideology as we explained earlier espouses Jewish supremacy on the land, is not justice. This principle essentially condones the existence of a Zionist (read white supremacist) nation. While a decolonial solution does not necessitate the expulsion of the colonizers, it does require that settler mentalities be expelled. Jews living in the land must concede power and supremacy over Palestinians. Maintaining Jewish supremacy in the interests of self-determination ensures continuing Palestinian oppression. What does Jewish self-determination mean on stolen land? What does self-determination for Palestinians mean when millions of Palestinians remain in exile to maintain a Jewish majority?

Quaker process can be slow and biased toward a continuation of the status quo. Given these hurdles, we challenge the AFSC board to take bold moves to adopt principles for a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis that is grounded in a decolonial framework guided by the indigeneity of the Palestinian people.

Melanie Yazzie, Dine (Navajo) scholar and artist, defines the decolonization nation-building process this way:

Decolonization is a future-oriented project that requires imagining, building, and fighting for forms of nationhood and self-determination not premised on the relations of exploitation, dispossession, elimination, and extraction that define liberal nationalisms and capitalist, imperial, and colonial formations.

Palestinians have the right to sovereignty simply because they are human and fully deserving of the same dignity and respect to which all other humans are entitled. AFSC’s “Principles” document says, “The surest road to peace is the path of empathy, where self interest can give way to shared interest, where separateness can give way to reconciliation, where domination can give way to justice.” We need much more than empathy for a “just peace.” The issue is one of land and control. The ability of Palestinians to empathize with and reconcile with Israelis is dependent on decolonization.

Quakers have a long history of standing up for justice, speaking truth to power, and railing against the status quo. We are calling for a more prophetic, courageous, and unapologetic Quaker position on justice for Palestinians. What prevents us from acknowledging the roots of this conflict? A settler colonial lens gives us insight to see clearly the way forward. This framing is vital for justice for Palestinians and Israelis, but it also is essential for coming to terms with this country’s settler colonial origins. It should inform how Quakers engage on issues of saving our environment, justice for indigenous peoples, and eliminating anti-Black racism. Decolonization promises freedom for us all.

The post Palestine and Israel appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

When Dialogue Stands in the Way of Peace

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 7:55am

“Justice”—grafitti on the Israeli West Bank barrier wall. All pictures © Mike Merryman-Lotze unless indicated


My engagement with Israelis and Palestinians began when I took part in the Earlham College Great Lakes Jerusalem Program in 1996. That program emphasized listening and interaction with both Palestinians and Israelis. We took classes with Israeli and Palestinian professors, lived with Palestinian and Israeli families, and traveled back and forth between the two communities. I met young Palestinians and Israelis who had participated in programs that brought them together, like Seeds of Peace, and I was inspired by their stories of overcoming their own prejudices. I came away from these encounters convinced of the importance of listening to competing narratives and bringing people together to build understanding, despite their differences.

The focus of the Earlham program on building understanding across borders and between communities is consistent with the approach taken by Quakers to peacebuilding in Palestine and Israel over the decades. Quaker involvement with Palestinians and Israelis has always been grounded in a commitment to remaining connected to both peoples and to listening to all concerns.

When American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) agreed to provide assistance for refugees in Gaza in 1948, it conditioned its acceptance with the requirement that it also should be allowed to provide assistance to those displaced in what became Israel. Its humanitarian relief work in Gaza was complemented by humanitarian work in the Haifa region. During the 1970s and 1980s, Quakers played a key role in facilitating backchannel communication between Palestinian and Israeli leaders when such communication was illegal. For decades Quakers have worked to open conversations where they are not happening.

When I first heard arguments against dialogue, my natural reaction was to push back by saying that dialogue is a vital part of peacebuilding and should never be rejected.

But in recent years, Palestinian peace activists have increasingly rejected dialogue and people-to-people programs, arguing that such programs normalize ongoing injustice. When I first heard arguments against dialogue, my natural reaction was to push back by saying that dialogue is a vital part of peacebuilding and should never be rejected. From my interactions with Quakers over the years, I know that many Quakers have also struggled to understand how they should respond to these concerns, given Quaker commitments to listening and building understanding across divides. But understanding why Palestinians have rejected people-to-people and dialogue programs is incredibly important, particularly as Quakers consider how they support and engage in peacebuilding work.

The general push against people-to-people and dialogue programs is most often framed as being a push against what have become known as “normalization” initiatives. Within Palestine, normalization is generally defined as any project; initiative; or activity in Palestine, Israel, or internationally that aims to bring together Palestinians and Israelis without addressing structural and power inequalities and/or without having its goal be opposition and resistance to the Israeli occupation.

To understand the concerns that exist regarding normalization initiatives, it is important to understand the post-Oslo history of these initiatives.

I spent the months leading up to the start of the Second Palestinian Intifada interviewing Palestinians and Israelis engaged in human rights education and peacebuilding work, including people-to-people and dialogue projects. I conducted my interviews as part of a listening process designed to ensure that learning from past peacebuilding work was integrated into curricular materials on human rights education, then being developed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Listening to Palestinians and Israelis talk about people-to-people and dialogue projects brought into clear focus the stark divide that existed between those communities. While many Israelis engaged in these projects remained positive about this area of work, there was near universal antipathy toward dialogue and people-to-people programs within Palestinian circles. What I heard from Palestinians at that time wasn’t simply a rejection of these programs because they didn’t think the programs were useful. Rather, people spoke about these programs as harmful, with some going so far as to say they felt abused when they participated in people-to-people initiatives.

That sense of harm is what led to the Conditions for Cooperation with Israeli Organizations issued by the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) in October 2000. Those conditions called for both a halt to all joint programs between Palestinian and Israeli organizations and a halt to people-to-people programs. Exceptions were made for solidarity actions carried out within a framework that recognized Palestinian human rights, and for cooperation between human rights organizations. The PNGO decision was a key turning point in the ongoing Palestinian push against normalization.

Palestinian rejection of these initiatives came after years of engagement in them. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords, there was a flood of funding given by international donors to promote dialogue and other forms of people-to-people exchange. It is estimated that between September 1993 and October 2000 between $20 and $30 million was given to fund more than 500 people-to-people projects run by over 100 organizations.

Within a context of expected political change and an agreement designed to move toward an end to the occupation, these people-to-people programs initially made sense. However, as these encounters were taking place, rather than moves toward an end of the occupation and equality, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory deepened.

Home demolitions, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and other grave human rights abuses all continued despite political agreements.

After the signing of the Oslo Agreement, the confiscation of Palestinian land and the expansion of settlements moved forward at an accelerated pace. Shortly after my first trip to Israel and Palestine in 1996, Israel broke ground on the Har Homa Settlement. That settlement, built on land owned by communities in the Bethlehem district, is now home to over 25,000 settlers and effectively cuts off Jerusalem from the south of the West Bank.

As a result of the Oslo process, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were also divided into cantons separated from each other by Israeli-controlled territory. More than 100 checkpoints and roadblocks were set up throughout the West Bank and Gaza, limiting and controlling the movement of Palestinians. When I was conducting my interviews for UNRWA in 2000, I was living in the village of Birzeit north of Ramallah. Israeli checkpoints were regularly set up between Ramallah and Birzeit, and traveling between the two towns, I often saw Palestinians detained, harassed, and abused.

Jerusalem also remained isolated from other areas of the occupied Palestinian territory. Home demolitions, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and other grave human rights abuses all continued despite political agreements. For Palestinians, the Oslo Peace Process never brought significant positive change.

It should be understood that the push against normalization is not about closing off communication because of issues of identity.

The entrenchment of the occupation during this period undermined the logic of people-to-people and dialogue programs that focused on building interpersonal understanding but that purposefully didn’t address political issues. Rather than building understanding that is needed to accompany positive political changes, these initiatives more often promoted normal relations in a context of deepening inequality and occupation. They created an illusion of normalcy in relationship between occupied people and their occupiers in a situation where Palestinians’ rights continued to be systematically denied.

Often, political issues and discussion of the occupation were explicitly banned as topics of conversation in people-to-people programs because they were viewed as divisive. The result of this was programs that focused on interpersonal interaction and surface level relationship building but that masked the deepening occupation and growing inequality. “Normalization” developed as a term to describe these types of initiatives that focused on building interpersonal understanding without ever challenging, and often purposefully dismissing, the legal, political, economic, and structural underpinnings of occupation.

It should be understood that the push against normalization is not about closing off communication because of issues of identity. Rather it is about identifying the principles and processes through which discussion and communication occur so as to not reify power imbalances or do harm to those who are already vulnerable or abused. It is about ensuring that when people come together, the focus is co-resistance to the structures that oppress people, and not coexistence within oppressive systems.

And people-to-people programs that don’t address deeper structural issues, or don’t push people to the point of addressing political issues, do cause harm. Youth-focused programs run by international organizations are particularly problematic. Such programs bring young adults together and hint at similarities. Relationships open as youth find that they like similar music, enjoy the same movies, play the same sports, or otherwise share interests. Youth under 18 (particularly in joint settings) can’t be pushed to examine and own the political, legal, and structural inequalities that exist between them, and years of societally imposed understandings are not undone by days or weeks of individual interaction.

Palestinian friends who participated in these programs have spoken to me about their deep sense of betrayal, anger, and hurt as Israeli friends that they’d met at camps joined the military and took up positions enforcing Israel’s occupation.

While there are examples of individual youth radicalized and transformed by their experience in people-to-people programs, most youth in these programs slip back into their regular lives after joint sessions end. Young Palestinians return to a reality of unchanged occupation. Young Israelis return to their schools, and later complete military service. Palestinian friends who participated in these programs have spoken to me about their deep sense of betrayal, anger, and hurt as Israeli friends that they’d met at camps joined the military and took up positions enforcing Israel’s occupation. Rather than building relationship, trust was broken and people were pushed apart.

This is some of the harm that the push against normalization initiatives seeks to end.

But in noting the problems inherent in many of these initiatives, it is also important to understand that the push against normalization has never been a push against all initiatives that bring together Palestinians and Israelis. Those working within an anti-normalization framework are clear that efforts to counter normalization are aimed at resisting oppression and are not aimed at severing all contact between people. Working relationships and coordination across borders is welcomed so long as there is a shared understanding of basic human rights principles and a shared commitment to resisting the ongoing occupation and inequality. This means that it is not considered normalization when efforts/groups like the Sumud Freedom Camp, Ta’ayush, Yesh Din, the Bilin and Nabi Saleh Protest Movements, and Ibala purposefully bring together Palestinians and Israelis as part of an effort to challenge and change the status quo in Israel and Palestine.

The normalization discussion is about addressing power imbalances and injustice…

So as Quakers committed to peace and engagement with all people, what should we take from this conversation?

First, we should recognize that Palestinians and Israelis are getting together and cooperating but on their own terms. One of the key problems with many past people-to-people programs is that they were initiated and led by outside actors who imposed their own goals and terms on interactions. The normalization framework pushed forward by Palestinians is a reassertion of ownership of the terms of interaction by those most impacted by the systematic injustice of Israel’s occupation and inequality. Normalization principles transform interactions, moving them from coexistence-focused dialogue sessions to action-based interaction with the goal of transformation through co-resistance against injustice. If you are thinking about supporting dialogue or people-to-people programs, it is important to consider who “owns” the process and how it resists structures of injustice.

Second, we should understand that dialogue is not an end in and of itself and that dialogue can be harmful. Particularly in situations of ongoing injustice, attempts to bring people together can’t simply focus on building understanding if there is no corresponding effort by all involved to end the injustice and inequality that stands between people. While dialogue and exchange can be important parts of transformation, they can also be tools used to block change; reinforce existing imbalances of power; and erase legal, institutional, and structural injustices. Whether we are setting up panel discussions or working to pull people together, we always need to understand issues of power. Dialogue is not a neutral process, and we must carefully consider how dialogue pushes toward action for change.

Third, it is important to understand that the normalization discussion is largely not about us. Normalization concerns do not place blocks on Quakers listening to, interacting with, or dialoguing with any party. Challenging normalization initiatives is not aimed at silencing select viewpoints or limiting who is able to speak. Indeed, listening to and engaging with those with whom we disagree is an important part of building understanding as we push for change. The normalization discussion is about addressing power imbalances and injustice in relationships between Israelis and Palestinians, not shutting off all dialogue or ending conversations that build understanding.

Finally, the normalization conversation points to the fact that dialogue and listening are not enough. To achieve peace and justice there must be political change that ends the system of inequality and oppression that exists between Palestinians and Israelis, as well as U.S. complicity in that injustice. To address this, Quakers must then move beyond positions that express concern for both parties and that encourage dialogue and listening but that don’t lead to direct action. Quakers should support direct action to end injustice, such as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS) and AFSC-led No Way to Treat a Child Campaign. We can support discussions, but we must back up our support for talk with support for action.

It is political change and an end to injustice that will lead to dialogue and understanding, and it is political action that is needed to this bring change.

The post When Dialogue Stands in the Way of Peace appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

A Loving Quaker Journey to BDS

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 7:50am

QPIN Steering Committee. All photos courtesy of the author.

I first learned about Palestine from my students. In my first year of teaching world history at a Quaker school, I had students who connected everything we were studying back to Palestine. In addition to learning from them about the history of Israel and Palestine (which was not in the curriculum!), I experienced firsthand from them the emotion of the current tensions between Israel and Palestine. One of the students was of Palestinian heritage and was feeling the pain of his people. He would often express his pain through anger, specifically by talking to me about how the only answer he could see was violence.

I had witnessed similar pain earlier that year when I had visited South Africa with the school’s Black Student Union. My greatest takeaway from that trip was that everywhere we went, people told us that Nelson Mandela had told them to throw their guns into the ocean, and they had done so both literally and emotionally. I knew from their stories that even when a situation seems intractable, nonviolence and love can work miracles. As Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

I spoke to the students about the power of nonviolence, and they responded that they saw no nonviolent solutions to the conflict on the horizon. I have since discovered that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement is the kind of activism for which they were searching.

Because of my debates with those students, I went to graduate school to focus on nonviolent activism in and around Israel–Palestine. Upon finishing my studies, I had developed my own passion for the region, but I could not find an outlet for it. Although I studied many groups that harnessed the power of nonviolence in Israel and Palestine, I could not find any with which I could directly engage. Ultimately, I discovered that Quakerism was not only my spiritual home, but also the home base for my activism. I was thrilled when the Quaker Palestine Israel Network (QPIN) was created in 2013. I knew that Quakers would be working for a just peace using tactics that I would respect. The QPIN mission statement speaks broadly to that goal, while also more specifically seeking “to educate about Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as a nonviolent approach.” Although I had earlier learned about BDS, I had not felt drawn to the movement before I connected with QPIN.

He shared with me the reasons he saw BDS as polarizing, and I came away from our conversation ready to share his concerns at the gathering.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement began as a call from Palestinian civil society in 2005. The original call stated:

Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency, and resistance to injustice and oppression, we, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

Many Quaker meetings have spent years discussing BDS and considering minutes of endorsement, and I took part in crafting minutes for both my monthly and yearly meetings. Neither of the minutes I worked on gained much traction because Friends worried that taking sides in a conflict went against the Quaker peace testimony. I couldn’t help but reflect on the Quaker’s history of taking difficult stands and on Desmond Tutu’s quote, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” I was dispirited by the lack of momentum in my Quaker communities, but I persisted because I trusted the expertise of QPIN.

On the train on my way to the first-ever QPIN gathering at Pendle Hill in the spring of 2016, I happened to be sitting next to someone who worked for the Anti-Defamation League. We started talking about BDS, and we had an authentic dialogue across difference, in which we discussed the lack of broadly respected, viable nonviolent solutions to the Israel–Palestine conflict and the potential efficacy of BDS. He shared with me the reasons he saw BDS as polarizing, and I came away from our conversation ready to share his concerns at the gathering.

As an activist for justice, anti-Semitism is an evil that I aim to actively stand up to, and being viewed through its ugly lens is an anxiety-producing risk for me.

I was eager to do so because my greatest fear is hurting people, and my new friend had made it clear that the worst consequence of BDS is not inefficacy; it is causing more pain to a people who have already greatly suffered. I did have the opportunity early in the gathering to voice these obstacles to fully embracing the BDS Movement, and in fact, we all shared concerns that we had heard about advocating for the movement. In addition to anti-Semitism, the concerns included the following: “Those seeking peace and reconciliation shouldn’t take sides”; “BDS cuts off dialogue”; “BDS is violent and punitive”; and “BDS seeks to delegitimize and destroy Israel,” among others. The next day we worked collectively to discern whether we had true answers to those concerns, and the veteran activists among us certainly did. Those answers, now published as the pamphlet “Engaging Critics of BDS” on the QPIN website (, convinced me that although BDS is controversial, it represents a pain that can ultimately lead to healing and the greater good for all.

I recently went to a Georgetown University program entitled “Confronting Racism in Our Hearts and in Our Nation,” at which professor Marcia Chatelain called for a “love willing to risk” and asked the audience to discern what each of us is willing to risk. Supporting BDS feels like a risk to me. While I was clerk of the Quaker Life Committee of the upper school at a Quaker institution, my school was visited by the upper school principal of Ramallah Friends School (RFS). In preparation for his visit, I shared an article from Friends Journal about a day in the life at RFS, and I was told by a colleague that because the article contained background including an account of Palestinians losing their homes in 1948, she felt that I was “breeding anti-Semitism.” As an activist for justice, anti-Semitism is an evil that I aim to actively stand up to, and being viewed through its ugly lens is an anxiety-producing risk for me. That risk was amplified last school year when Sa’ed Atshan was disinvited from Friends Central School because of his association with BDS.

I believe that true solidarity means listening to those who are impacted by injustice.

What I learned from QPIN is that the BDS Movement categorically rejects and condemns all forms of racism and bigotry, including anti-Semitism. A statement on the front page of the BDS National Committee website reads: “BDS is an inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement that is opposed on principle to all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.” So I am able to trust in the fact that it is my love of Palestinians and Israelis that spurs on my support of BDS. I believe that BDS is a form of nonviolent activism that puts both my faith and my love into action as I work for a just peace.

I believe that true solidarity means listening to those who are impacted by injustice. In the case of Israel–Palestine, Palestinians are affected by an illegal occupation of their land, and many Israelis are affected by a government taking actions that do not reflect their values. I am willing to risk in solidarity with them. I teach a class on genocide studies, and it has taught me that so many of the activist heroes we admire today were controversial in their time; they risked for love. I reflect upon all those who risked so that I can live my dreams as a Black woman in the United States; I owe it to them to stand in love for justice even when I am in a minority. I think of John Woolman and his slow and steady witness against slavery, and also of the bolder side of Martin Luther King Jr., which is not so widely publicized. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” King wrote to his critics who wanted him to engage in less controversial tactics:

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.

I stand with King and with the messiness of nonviolent activism for justice. I believe it is the only path to peace.


The post A Loving Quaker Journey to BDS appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

how to be home

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 1:25am

sit on a wooden stool
naked as an orphan
use a spigot and a bucket
buff with washcloth between each toe
behind my knees around every edge and curve
three elder women sit on stools beside me
chatting like they can’t remember a time
they didn’t know each other
giggling and teasing poking and play fighting
children clothed in wrinkled skin

conversation turns to me
what color is the gaijin’s hair
one with a gruff voice asks
same as the hair on her head says a squeaky one
appraising flesh like skewered chicken
I pretend I do not understand
high nosed freckled redheads
never bother to learn the language
but after three years
I think and dream and hope in it

another with a smooth voice leans over to me
discounting their verbal scrutiny
of my lesser-known regions just moments ago
forgetting to think that I don’t understand
who do you live with
I say I live alone eh areeee they chant in alarm
no one lives alone here
why on earth have I
then the squeaky one asks
who washes your back for you

can they see loneliness seeping from my pores
why work so hard to build a life here
only to leave it now why is hello always only
one small step from goodbye nothing
ever goes missing here but I have
the smooth-voiced one soaps a cloth
she begins to scrub my back
no request for permission
she pours water over me
makes room for tears scrubs some more

when she’s done she pats me gently
rubbing down my shoulders which
had crept up towards my ears
there you go little one
clean now all four of us wade in the water
we talk about everything and nothing
about chopsticks and tea and favorite sushi
the speed of planes and why the handshake
renewed together in the warmth of the bath
I can’t stop bowing deeply

it will never be a place
it is a sacrament
permission to enter adoption
into folds of mismatched fabric
the one who washes
my back when I am naked and alone
the ones who will wish me
well at the airport tomorrow
the ones who will greet me
wherever I land

The post how to be home appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News

To Fathom

Friends Journal - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 1:20am
I take each stone into my curious palm. grub-gray, salmon, rounded well and calm. They speak in syllables of sight marbled, specked, saturned with white. Recast with each tide they practice silence search to find an uneasy balance and work a graceful way down over years to a grain of🔒 Friends Journal Member? Sign in here!
Not an FJ member? To read this piece, please join us today! For $28, you'll get:
  • A year of Friends Journal delivered to your mailbox (11 issues) and email
  • Full, instant access to the world’s largest online library of Quaker information: every Friends Journal ever published, going back to 1955
  • Membership in a community that believes in the power of Quaker experience
Click here to join us! Already a member? Welcome back. Please use the Login box to sign in. If you would like to order by phone or have any questions, we’re here to help. Call toll-free: (800)471-6863 or contact us by email.

The post To Fathom appeared first on Friends Journal.

Categories: Articles & News
Syndicate content