Thursday, July 11, 2002 11:49 AM EST
Subject: pro-Pal in London
I did not expect to have an update this early, as I have not even made it past London yet, but I have already had two great experiences.
I am currently beginning hour 7 of a 13 hour layover, so I took the train into central London. I was waiting for one of those silly tourist buses when this group of elderly activists gathered at the same stop. They are the Southwark Pensioners Action Group, and they were getting ready to march to 10 Downing Street (Tony Blair) to protest the elimination of state earnings-related pensions.
I know this because this 75 year old woman gave me me a flier. Before taking the flier, I first told her I am not from here. She said it didn't matter, so I said "OK, so what's your position on Palestine?"
She said "Well I think Israel needs to stop getting aid, and I think that the Palestinian people need to be supported." I told her I would take one of her fliers. She then even told me that she had recently supported someone to go to Palestine, so of course I told her about my travel plans.
She told another woman who had just approached us that I tested her before I would let her give me a flier. This second woman also indicated that she was very strongly pro-Palestinian.
I then took my bus tour of London. It did not even occur to me to take pictures of famous sites. But then i saw a slew of protest/peace signs across the street from the Houses of Parliament. A huge banner said "Stop the genocide of innocent Iraqi children". Then i saw the most beautiful thing I have seen in London. A Palestinian flag.
So there I was with Big Ben behind me, but my back was turned to this world famous landmark and instead I was photographing this block long peace statement.
I met the guy who sets this up every day (basic 40 something activist type). He said that they hate him for it and say it's an eyesore. "They" could not be more wrong.
He told me he just met another American who gave him a Palestinian scarf. So of course I shared my travel plans with him. he said "that's what it's all about. it's gotta start with us".
He gave me a hug.
i know there is sort of a cross section of people receiving this e-mail. but for those of you passionate about the cause who sometimes get frustrated that we are not making a difference, know this. in 2 hours time, a guy who practically never talks to strangers (me) met THREE people IN ANOTHER COUNTRY who support our cause.