Restoring Faith: AFSC organizes a U.S. tour with Gaza nonviolence activist Ahmed Abu Artema

(By Jennifer Bing, staff, Chicago office of the American Friends Service Committee)

During our month-long U.S. tour with Gaza nonviolence activist Ahmed Abu Artema, I was reminded how many people stand with Palestinians – and are struggling for freedom for all.

One of the last things Ahmed Abu Artema told me before he boarded his Chicago flight back to the Middle East was that his tour in the United States restored his “faith in humanity.” AFSC had brought Ahmed to speak to audiences for our “Hashtags to Headlines: the Great March of Return” tour, which reached thousands of people in cities across the U.S. and many, many more online.

In these challenging times, when it can be hard to see the good in a country and a world so full of oppression and division, being on tour with Ahmed restored my faith, as well.

Ahmed is the visionary Palestinian writer whose words inspired the Great March of Return in Gaza. He has lived his whole life under military occupation, a refugee in his own land. His family came from the Ramle district in present-day Israel, resettling in Rafah, Gaza in 1948 when 750,000 Palestinians were displaced due to the war. Ahmed’s family suffered dislocation again after the Camp David accords, when Egypt and Israel divided the town of Rafah by a new border fence. His mother’s family resides on one side of the fence, his father’s family on the other.

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