The Nakba Tour is also fun and exciting and inspiring
For the last week everyone has been talking about the unfortunate events at Stanford. An important subject, and we’re happy that everyone hosting the Tour has been so supportive, but it’s also possible to lose perspective and forget that there is so much more to the Tour.
It’s partly about the perspective that Umm Akram and Amena bring to any issue. As predicted, they are reminding everyone that Palestine is not just Palestinians living under Israeli rule. They have given a new voice to invisible, stateless Palestinians living in Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere, who have no possibility of entering Israeli-controlled Palestine. Every audience thus far has proclaimed the presentation compelling, and we agree.
But it’s also about our guests’ encounter with America. Take a look at the photos below and you’ll see what we mean. Yes, we took them to Disneyland. That’s where Umm Akram said, “Life is beautiful.” And Amena had to be pried away with a crowbar. The Pitzer SJP students were wonderful, and didn’t seem to mind that we were 40 minutes late.
If Umm Akram isn’t smiling enough for you in that picture, try this video of our friends in Phoenix with whom she and Amena stayed:
Then on the way to Albuquerque, we detoured to the Grand Canyon. Gorgeous, of course, but Amena seemed to like the elk better.
Getting the impression Amena likes animals? You may have a point. She has seven cats. In Albuquerque, our hosts introduced her to their horses.
I hope you enjoy reading about our visitors. You will enjoy meeting them in person even more. They are kind, sometimes funny, and always easy to like. It wasn’t easy to bring them, but well worth it. They will surprise and inspire you with their presentation. They are talented and eloquent, and will make you think in ways you didn’t know you might.
At the same time, they are also going through a huge learning experience. There’s nothing like a car trip around North America to make you appreciate the geography and the regional differences. They are suffering culture shock and homesickness, with a good dose of bewilderment. Neither of them has ever been outside the Middle East until now, barely out of Lebanon.
And yet their voices are sure and strong. And their hosts have been immensely supportive and hospitable, which makes all the difference. We also owe a lot to the brilliant, tireless and talented film producer, Samir Salem, who has been a pillar of strength and patience, doing nearly all the driving until now.
We will update you as often as possible, but be sure that all your support and good work will be worth it.