Hebron: The Ladder
by Art Gish (2/4/2003)
I went on
school patrol with three other Christian Peacemaker Team members
in Hebron this morning, something we do each morning to protect
Palestinian children from Israeli settlers who often harass them
as they go to school, and to help get the children past Israeli
soldiers who often prevent them from getting to school.
as we started on our way, settler children threw stones at us.
One of the soldiers who watched the attack cursed us and told
us to leave. A settler cursed us and another settler greeted us
with his middle finger. This is normal life here in Hebron.
Then I met
the "ladder lady." I had heard so much about her. Each
morning she puts down a crude homemade ladder from a rooftop of
the old city to let between 20 and 30 children from her neighborhood
get out of the old city so they can go to school. The Israeli
military has put up gates to prevent them from leaving the old
climb over the roofs to get to the ladder lady's home. The ladder
lady is waiting with her ladder when the children come home from
school. Because of curfew and being locked in the old city, the
roofs also are now where children play.
I helped set up the ladder, and watched the beautiful little girls
scramble down the ladder. They are quite good at it. This morning
there were only girls, because we gave a message to the ladder
lady that the Israeli military did not allow the boys' school
to open once again today.
I was overwhelmed
with emotion as I walked with the girls to their school. I felt
I was on holy ground and given a sacred privilege of accompanying
them to school. I felt unworthy to even walk beside these girls,
their smiling faces so full of hope and expectation.
I also felt
a deep disgust that anyone could be so perverse as to threaten
young girls on their way to school or try to prevent them from
going to school, and that my government supports these obscenities.
however, have not yet lost hope. They are determined to go to
school, no matter what. They walk past the settlers and soldiers.
They even walk through the tear gas that is so common here recently.
Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence
reduction efforts around the world. To learn more about CPT's
peacemaking work, please visit our website at http://www.cpt.org.
Photos of our projects may be viewed at http://www.clubphoto.com.
Login as firstname.lastname@example.org