Walking to Palestine with Benjamin Ladraa

Video & Transcript
Benjamin Ladraa
Transcript No. 516 (November 28, 2018)

Benjamin Ladraa:
Thank you so much for that introduction, and thank you to all of you that are here today. I was surprised at the time to have an event at 12:30, so I am very happy to see that so many of you showed up. I didn’t think there would be anyone, this early on a Wednesday. You have to excuse me, I took a flight all night from Denver at eleven pm yesterday, and I just arrived this morning. So if my voice sounds a little drowsy, it’s because I spent it sitting in an airport stool the entire night. I will be talking about the journey I did from Sweden to Palestine through thirteen countries, roughly 3,000 miles on foot. I finished this July, so it was quite recent. A month after finishing, I came to the United States to embark on the next journey. Which is this journey, the speaking tour. I have been to 18 states so far, and I am going back home the day after tomorrow. It’s right at the end, that you are catching me, at my second last talk that I do in this country.

So, I want to begin in Lebanon, where I was doing my walk. I walked through ten refugee camps when I was in Lebanon. You know that the Palestinian population are the biggest refugee population in the world. Twelve million Palestinians exist on our planet, with seven million outside of Palestine, in refugee camps, in the diaspora. Through all the thirteen countries I visited, I met Palestinians in every single one. And it’s because of what happened 70 years ago. I’m sure you’re very aware of the history, with the ethnic cleansing, the Nakba, between 47 and 48. Close to a million people driven out of their homes, close to 500 villages and cities erased to the ground. Land mines planted in the ruins, to prevent the refugees from returning. This camp is called the Al-Dubaya camp, it’s one of the only Christian refugee camps in the world. Palestinians, are as you know, Muslims, Christians, Jewish, nonreligious, other religions. They are people, so they are diverse. This is the same camp seen from the hilltop, just beside it.

Life as a refugee is incredibly difficult, especially in Lebanon. They have very few rights, so the people in the camps were telling me, between 70 and 80 jobs are forbidden from Palestinians from having. They can not work as a doctor, as a lawyer, anything that requires higher education, governmental jobs, forbidden. They are not allowed to earn property, so they’re not allowed to expand the refugee camps either. You can imagine after 70 years, generations, new children, need new houses, because you are growing. But they haven’t been allowed, so it’s overcrowded. The infrastructure is terrible, they aren’t allowed to build. You see these roofs, they are just corrugated steel sheets layed on the buildings. Because they are not allowed to have proper roofs, because that would be defined as a building. And they are not allowed to build new property, so that’s a way to get around it, having these very poor roofs, which leak and blow away in the harsh winds. I visited many refugee camps; ten in Lebanon, a few in Jordan, and I was in Palestine before also, two years before. So I visited camps there as well. It’s always like this. Very narrow streets, infrastructure horrible, electrical wires everywhere, sometimes right along the water pipes, leading to incidents, especially for children. And overcrowded apartments. Life is very difficult. And the one thing that everyone kept on telling me, and if you’ve met many Palestinians in your life, you know this, is that they just want to go back home. That’s the one thing that every person in the camp kept telling me, “If I could, I would go back right now.” Leave everything, right this moment, they would go back. But they aren’t allowed to go back, because of military occupation.

So I called my project, Walk to Palestine. I know I’m not a very creative guy, so that’s pretty much what I did. I took a flag, I put on a heavy backpack, I walked out from my apartment in Gothenburg, and I started walking. So I didn’t really know how to pack for a one year journey on the road. It’s not like I’ve done anything like this before. And I’m not a hiker, I’m not a sports guy, I didn’t really train for this or work out either. I just knew that if you have the mindset, if you have the will, you can probably make it. So I googled “How do you pack for a one year journey?” It just said, “Don’t overpack,” so I overpacked of course. Around 25 kilos in this backpack, and I know you don’t use kilos, but it translates to very heavy. So a very heavy backpack, and very soon the pain started coming to my shoulders, my back, my feet. And then someone writes to me on Facebook, “Like why don’t you just get some wheels? Like why don’t you just put your load on a wagon instead?” So I get a baby stroller, and I put my backpack on the baby stroller. And I start pushing this thing, 3,000 miles. So obviously they’re not built for 25 kilos monster babies, and they’re built for city walking and not cross country walking. So this number four, in the picture. The first three broke. The first one broke in Germany. The second one broke in Austria, and the third one in Turkey. And the last one lasted me until Lebanon, where I left it, and I did the last stretch with a backpack again. It was quite a site, people were maybe confused when they saw me push this thing around. Like, “Who is this guy? What is he doing in the middle of nowhere on a big road, going to what seems to be nowhere?”

This is the route I took throughout Europe and some parts of the Middle East. Thirteen countries, and I know the Google Maps is in Swedish, but you’re good with geography, so you know the countries anyway. I don’t know why we rename the countries in different languages. I don’t know where you got Sweden from either. We don’t say Sweden, you know, in Sweden. We say, “Sverige.” In my country, in Swedish that’s the name for it. I went to Germany, I went to the Czech Republic, to Slovakia, to Austria, to Slovenia and Croatia, to Serbia, Bulgaria. Only one day in Greece, so I count that, I was in Greece for one day. I was stopped by police six times during that day, so it was an eventful day. I woke up in Bulgaria. I crossed the border early in the morning. I walked through Greece, it’s here [pointing at map], and I arrived in Turkey that night. I was stopped by police two times in Turkey. So eight police encounters in one day, three countries. So it was quite an eventful day. I also broke my record, I walked 55 kilometers. It’s way too far. Never do that if you don’t have to, because it took about 15 hours, maybe. So that was tough. I walked roughly eight or nine hours a day. Around 30 kilometers a day would be the average, that in miles would be 20 miles, maybe a little bit more.

And in Turkey, I had a dilemma of course, because if you’re good with geography, you know that Syria is in between Turkey and Palestine, so how do you go there? I was hoping for a little peace in the Middle East along the way, but it didn’t happen. So when I’m in Turkey I called my Syrian friends in Sweden. In Sweden, we have many immigrants, many refugees from all over the world. From Palestine, from Syria, from Afghanistan, from Bosnia during the genocide, from Chile during the Pinochet regime, from many countries. So I have some Syrian friends. I call them and I ask them whats the least dangerous road through Syria, and they just laugh at me. Like, “What are you talking about?” I say, “Yeah, I know, I read the news, but I want to go through there.” But they all strongly advise against it. You know, I’m a Swedish guy, so my head might be worth some money if I was kidnapped. They make that point, I hadn’t thought about that. So that was a good point. I go to Google again. I try to find a boat to somewhere. First, I thought of going to Egypt and going through the Sinai desert, and then taking a boat to southern Jordan to Aqaba, and walking up to Amman, and crossing the border from there. But there is no boat to Egypt from Turkey. There used to be one, but pretty much all the passenger boats along the Mediterranean Sea to the Middle Eastern countries have stopped going. Maybe because of the volatility in the Middle East, I’m not sure. But it was very difficult to find a boat. So the only one I find is one to Lebanon. So I end up going to Lebanon, to Tarabulus.

The boat journey ends up taking 15 hours. That’s the little sea stretch [points at map]. Yes, that’s the only way to get to close. And I arrived at the port, and there are some Lebanese soldiers waiting for me. I know they’re waiting for me because they’re screaming, “Sweden! Sweden!” when I get off the boat. And I’m pretty sure I’m the only Swedish guy on this boat from Turkey to Lebanon. I mean I talked to some of the passengers, and they were all truck drivers just driving around with their wares. So I went with the soldier saying, “I’m from Sweden. What’s up?” They say, “Come with us.” They have their military Jeep. I say, “Why?” They say, “We’re going to take you to the immigration facility office.” I say, “Alright, I was going there anyway.” It was a five minute walk so it was a two minute drive. They drove me for two minutes there and I went inside and they started to ask some questions, the intelligence services. It took seven hours of some questions, like an interrogation. “Where are you from?” “What are you doing?” “Who are you going to visit?” “What’s your father’s name?” “What’s your grandfather’s name?” “[Have] you gone to Palestine before?” It was a bit similar, not as bad of course, but a little bit similar. And they kept on asking if I was Jewish or not. I think that they thought I might be a Mossad agent or some Shin Bet guy. You know that they have had many assassinations in Lebanon. Israel has gone into Lebanon several, several times and assassinated a lot of people. And when the Mossad agents go there, they usually have double passports, so they don’t go there with their Israeli passports, of course. So even though I had a Swedish passport, they were suspicious. But after seven hours of getting to know everything that there is to know about me, they would ask some questions and then I would have to wait for two hours while their headquarters in Beirut did some research, I guess.

After seven hours, they said, “Welcome to Lebanon,” [and] I said “Thank you.” They gave me three weeks so I walked to the border, and you’re not allowed to go to the border without the permission of Southern Lebanon. You need permission to go there, and if you’re Palestinian, you’re not allowed to go there at all. You can’t go there. So I tried to get permission. I’m visiting many refugee camps along the way, of course. I speak to many Palestinians, and I managed through some connections to get permission. But it’s two weeks away and I’m one day from the border, so it’s very late. So I mean the Rashidieh refugee camp very close to the border, and I’m talking to the Palestinians there and we come up with a plan. I’m with four people, four Palestinians, and they all work for UNRWA. You know, the UN agency that takes care of Palestinians. So they have these big identity badges, ID badges, that say UN on them. And in Lebanon, there is a UN peacekeeping force, the UNIFIL. So we figure we take the last stretch with a car. We put their UN badges, very visible, on the rear mirror. We hang them so you see UN badges everywhere, and when we come to the checkpoint, let’s hope for the best.

So it’s me, a Swedish guy, four Palestinians, five people in the car. No one is allowed to go the border and we’re driving. We come to the checkpoint and we stop. There’s a soldier there, so we take down the window and he asks us who we are. And we just point to the UN badges. And he says, “Oh, you’re UN.” We’re like, “Yeah, that’s fine.” And he still asks to see the IDs, so we give him all the IDs. But of course I don’t have a UN badge, [so I’m] giving my Swedish passport. He asked them, “Like who is this guy?” They say, “He’s our friend, he’s with us,” He says, “But he needs permission, you know this.” They say, “Yeah, yeah, we have permission.” The Palestinian guy driving, he is very smart, he says, “We have permission. It’s in the database, you can go check it.” He [soldier] says, “But you need it in paper, you know that’s the rule. You need it in paper form.” He [Palestinian driver] says, “Yeah the printer was broken.We had some problems, some issues, but we have permission, you know, we just had this printer issue.” He [soldier] says, “But you can go back and print it.” He [Palestinian driver] says, “No, it’s a long drive, we’re already here. We’re just going to be there for one hour. We have permission, don’t worry, and we’re with the UN.” He [soldier] says, “Well, it’s not allowed, but I’ll make an exception this time.” And we look at each other, like, “What? Really?”, and then he let us go. So we were there, five people, and none of us are allowed, but we managed somehow. I’m not sure how we did that.

And we’re looking over the border, and there’s a big hill and you see the fence. It’s just a fence, the border between Lebanon and historic Palestine. One of the guys in the car is a little bit older than me, 35, and we’re looking at his village. It’s just on the other side where his grandfather, or maybe it was his father, was expelled from there in 1948. It’s so close, and he lives in the Rashidieh refugee camp, driving maybe one hour, maybe maximum two hours, and he would be home. But the political distance is insurmountable at the moment. I mean the physical distance is so close, he could just walk back there. If he could walk, we could be there in the same day. And we’re standing there looking at it, and just the feeling of injustice, it’s quite overwhelming, so close.

So, I can’t cross the border there obviously, there’s no border there crossing between Lebanon and historic Palestine/Israel. So I go back to Beirut with a car, and I take a flight to Amman from the airport. I walk through the border between Jordan and Palestine. I’ll tell you what happened later. First, I want to tell you about what happened when I visited Palestine. I was there around two years ago. It was the craziest journey I’ve done in my life. If you have been to Palestine, you know why. So I’m going to show you some pictures. This is in Hebron, have you visited Hebron before? Has anyone been there? So you all know about the settlements, of course, the illegal settlements on the West Bank. What’s peculiar about Hebron is that it has a settlement in the heart of the city. Their downtown is occupied. Around 800 settlers are living there, surrounded by checkpoints, and fences, and soldiers. Around 2,000 soldiers are there to protect them 24/7. So I could go inside the occupied city center, but my Palestinian friends could not because they’re Palestinians. So me being a non Palestinian in a Palestinian city, I can go inside the city center. But Palestinians inside a Palestinian city can not go into the Palestinian city center, and these are my friends sitting and waiting outside. So, of course, I go inside to see. You see some graffiti, [saying] “Fight Ghost Town,” because it’s become like a ghost town now, and I open [into] the Shahadah Street. The Shehadeh Street is the main Market Street inside of Hebron. It’s pretty deserted now, it used to be the busiest street in town, where you go to do all your shopping.

All these doors, [pointing at picture], are shops where you went and bought your things, but now they’ve been forcefully closed by the Israeli army. They came and welded the doors shut, closing all the stores. You can see on the second floor, there are balconies and windows which have fences around them. So the Palestinians put up these fences to protect themselves against the settlers because there’s daily constant harassment. The settlers are throwing things inside the windows. So they had to put it up to protect themselves. These doors are also the entrances to the houses. So now if you want to go in and out of your house, you go up on the roof and you do some acrobatics, and you use ladders to go down. But there is a very old woman living in one of these houses. She’s old, she can’t do acrobatics. So since they closed her front door several, several years ago, she hasn’t been able to leave her house, of course. She has friendly Palestinian neighbors that come with food and water every day, but imagine when they came and welded the doors shut. She’s been stuck ever since.

I continued walking in Hebron. It’s a surreal experience. This street,[pointing at picture], is segregated; they put up a fence in the middle of the street separating Israel and Palestinians. The big side is for the Israelis, the side where you can drive, of course. Palestinians aren’t allowed to drive inside the occupied city center, so the small side is for the Palestinians. And if you travel inside Palestine, you will find many roads that are forbidden for Palestinians from driving. They seperated it, you know, green license plates for Palestinians, [and] yellow ones for Israelis. If you have the green one, if you’re a second class citizen, then there are many roads that are forbidden for you to drive on. Even inside Palestine, your own country, because of the occupation. I find this house continuing my tour, [pointing at picture]. I’m only in the occupied city center for one day, and it’s an overwhelming day. This house has just been broken into a few weeks before I was there. The settlers came and took all the stuff, the furniture, the things inside the house. They put it in the parking lot. They pour gasoline over everything and they torched it. So the Palestinian family, they were out at the time, and they come home, [and] they find a broken front door and a pile of ash outside their house, and an empty house. They’re not living there anymore, because imagine raising your children under daily settler harassment. When you send them to school you’re not sure if they’re coming back unharmed or not, or if they’re going to be assaulted by settlers or soldiers.

So of course everyone haven’t left, they’re still holding on, very resilient people. But life is extremely tough. Tear gassed on their way to school. There are many videos I was shown by the people in Hebron. When they send their kids to school, and tear gas canisters on the playground, and children running in panic and fear. And of course, soldiers everywhere. That was the most common sight, soldiers walking around. And I put this sign here,[pointing to picture], that they put up for good measure, so you have the Israeli explanation for why they close the shops. The sign reads that these stores were closed by the IDF for security reasons, after Arabs began the Oslo War. So Israelis will always call the Palestinians, “Arabs,” which is very misleading because Arabs are from many countries, and they don’t mean Jewish Arabs from Morocco when they say “Arabs.” They mean Palestinians.

Security reasons are always the reason, the justification, for anything. This [happens] in Gaza, for example. Over a decade, nothing gets in, nothing gets out without Israeli permission for security reasons. But then when you stop and think about it for more than one second, they forbade diapers at one point, from entering Gaza [for] “Security reasons.” They forbade chocolate from entering Gaza [for] “Security reasons,” and potato chips. So this is very overwhelming to me. I knew about the situation before, I have some Palestinian friends in Sweden. They share their stories with me. I had done a lot of reading human rights reports, books, watched many documentaries. So I thought I knew where I was going. But there is no substitute for reality. If you go there and see it for yourself, it’s something else. You can read a million books, if you like. If you haven’t seen it then that level of understanding hasn’t sinked in yet. You can watch the ten meter high wall on a picture, run on a video, but when you stand next to it, the reality of it sinks in so much more.

So I go back, here is where I live [points at picture], in Sweden, this is Gothenburg. It’s where I’m going the day after tomorrow, back home. I’m very upset, emotionally overwhelmed, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do with myself. Am I supposed to go back to my old life after all of this? Just knowing this mountain of injustice existing for over 70 years, and let’s go back to school and read some books and write some papers? Is that it? What do you do with the knowledge? I mean, knowing is not enough. Even if you’re the most intelligent, bright, smartest person on Earth, if you just sit at home watching TV, then you’re not really changing much. Having all this knowledge now, about Palestine, having beared witness to the suffering and the injustice under the occupation, I felt almost an obligation to do something, because I have some morals in my body.

So I cannot see this and not get upset. But I’m not sure what to do, so I spent many days with that question. What to do? Of course, I continued on reading, because knowledge is power, and if there is one reading tip I want to leave you with today, it’s this book called, “Our Harsh Logic,” by Breaking the Silence. Anyone familiar with Breaking the Silence before? For those of you who are not, it’s an organization by Israeli soldiers, where they speak out on what they are doing in Palestine. They break the silence on the crimes they are committing, because of course they have a conscience. They are people, and when they do the things they do, imagine the conscience weighing down on them. That’s why they go on spiritual journeys after their military service. They to go to India, they go to Latin America, trying to forget, but of course there’s no forgetting if you kill children. So just to give you a little sense, I’m just going to read a very short [piece] from testimony number 30, just so you can get a sense what these testimonies are like. This book contains 300 testimonies, and this is just one book out of many. So soldier is being interviewed, and he says, “That we were based at the regional brigade and we’d go into the city each time, for ambushes.” He’s in Nablus. The interviewer asks him, “ When you say each time, what do you mean?” He says, “Something like four or five times a week. Arrests and diversion tactics. The interviewer asked him, “How many kills [deaths] did your company have?” He says, “Hmmm, eleven armed, I think, and something like four or five kids. At some point they told us that since we’d only taken down four kids, they were giving our company missions, because we were known for not hitting civilians.” [The interviewer asks], “Who told you that?” [He says,] “The company commander said it was the brigade commander. We were given certain jobs because we knew how to be selected and we didn’t harm innocent people.” [The interviewer asks], “And these were only four children?” [He says,] “Only four children.” [The interviewer asks], “And the four children, they were killed when?” [He says,] “Between December and May.” Small testimony, this one. 300 in this book, this is just one book that went through the military censorship of Israel because all the media in Israel goes through the military censorship, including Breaking the Silence and their release. Just a few other headlines. “How can you impose so many curfews and expect people to live?” Or that they had a “patrol to beat up Arabs.” Or that they “go in the innocent homes of people everyday all the time.” And when you go to Palestine and talk to people, you hear about this reality. How the children have nightmares because they never know when the soldiers are going to kick in the front door in the middle of the night and maybe arrest their father or their mother or their brother or themselves, for that matter. You hear about the abuse, about how they get attacked on the streets. I heard too many stories to share from Palestinians. I’ll share just a few with you.

This is the family of Mohammed Ibaka, [points at picture], that I met in Turkey. So Turkey is on the route and I’m meeting them in Istanbul. When I’m there, we’re invited to a peace conference and they are receiving this award that they’re holding in the picture, and it’s difficult to talk about. So Rachel Corrie’s family, it’s just on the other side of this table, you don’t see them in this picture. And this is the family of Mohammed there, and we’re sitting all, and we’re talking. Their son was killed by settlers. He was 15 years old, on his way back home from school, when they assaulted him, beat him up, kidnapped him to the forest, and poured gasoline down his throat, and lit him on fire. Their 15 year old son. Here they are, traveling the world, sharing their story, sharing the story of Palestine, so that people would know. We know that very few people know their story, it’s not like it was on the news or the media. And you know the story of Rachel Corrie, of course. She has amazing parents, I met them a few times now, the first time being in Turkey. Bravest young girl on Earth, probably younger than me, standing between a bulldozer and the house trying to protect the house of a Palestinian doctor in Gaza. But the bulldozer did not stop. So overwhelming moment for me, sitting with these two families talking about their children and their lives and how their lives became after what happened to their children.

I met many Palestinians, so in the refugee camp, this is Ahmad [points at picture], and this is a refugee camp close to Irbid, in Jordan. He shares his story, it is very, very similar to other Palestinian stories. He’s eight years old, in a village outside of Yaffa. The soldiers come, and you know what happens in ‘48, they surround the village with their guns and tell the villagers that, “If you don’t pack up and leave, we will open fire. We will kill all of you.” So he leaves with his family. They locked the door to their house, thinking that they might come back in a few days after the soldier leaves. They go to Nablus, where they stay for a few years until 1967. Which of course, if you know your history, the Israelis invade the rest of Palestine and occupy it. So the soldiers are marching towards Nablus, and they’re hearing rumors that they’re killing everyone. So they had to flee again. He flees to the border between Palestine and Jordan in a refugee camp, where he stays a few months, until the camp gets bombed by Israeli fighter jets. He flees again to another refugee camp, where I meet him 50 years later. Still in the same camp, still on the run since he was eight. But now he’s not right anymore, he’s closer to 80. He tells me that since he’s an old man now, he has one wish left in life. He wants to die, but not on this land, not in a refugee camp. He wants to die in his house, on his land. He’s holding land deed which his father gave to him, proving that the land is his family’s and the house is his. He’s still holding the key to his front door. He is just waiting to go back, but because of the occupation he cannot.

So, you might have wondered why I did this walk in the first place. And having shared just a fraction of the stories that I carry with me every single day, it’s very difficult to know about injustice, and not feeling some sort of duty or obligation that you should do something about it. You can’t know about injustice and keep quiet. You know when good men and women do nothing, then things are allowed to thrive. So I wanted to do something, of course. But the question is always, what to do? What can I do? I turned 26 three days ago. My last birthday was in Austria, it was on the road. This time it was in Chicago during the American Masters for Peace Conference, where I was giving a few talks. I wanted to do something. Before I started walking I was 24. But what can a 24 guy from Sweden do? Like, I’m just a guy from Sweden, and this whole situation in Palestine is quite big. I mean I can’t change the world by myself. So what can you do like as an individual? You want to do something, we all want to do something when we see people suffer. So my reasoning was that one of the reasons that not many people are doing much is because they don’t really know what’s going on. You know that the education system here, they don’t really teach the kids anything about Palestine obviously, and not so much other issues like it either. I doubt many young Americans know what’s going on in Kashmir. The same in Sweden. If you ask young Swedish people to give you details about what’s happening in Palestine, or Western Sahara, or other places, they don’t really know. If you don’t really know, then of course you’re not going to do much. I’m not going to do anything if you don’t really know. So awareness is key. It’s really important that we know about the world, about what’s going on, about reality, about the lives of the people living this reality everyday for 70 years or a 100 years depending when you want to count.

So how do you get people to know? How do you raise awareness? So I wanted to raise awareness. I thought this is where it starts. In order to have a mass movement to mount pressure to finally see human rights recognized on a bright, sunny day, we first need the mass movement to spring out of something. And that requires awareness raising that requires educating people on reality, on what’s happening in Palestine. But how do you reach people? You can’t really call the media as just a nobody, and say, “Hi, I want to talk about Palestine.” They won’t have you. You can’t go to the universities and say, like, “I want to give a lecture to your students,” they’re going to ask you, “Like what are your credentials? Like are you an academic scholar or professor, like who are you?” And I’m just a guy from Sweden, right? So what can I do? So I decided in order to gain some sort of platform, in order to gain people’s attention, in order to raise some eyebrows, so people would want to ask me why I’m walking. Because the answer is within the question. When you ask me this question, you’re opening up a space to talk about Palestine, and hopefully in this space we can raise some awareness. Not only individuals are asking, but the media might also be asking. If I walk to Palestine I might get some interviews on some local media somewhere. They might think it was interesting. So I can share some stories about Palestine, so that someone hopefully will read it. So this was the reasoning, and I think it worked. On social media I reached millions. In the United States, I’ve been to 18 states so far, and talked to over a 1,000 people. So just doing something a bit not so normal and a bit extreme, maybe, it’s a good way to get attention and then you just divert the attention to what really matters. What matters, of course, is Palestine and the occupation and the human rights violations, and just the rights of the people.

It was very difficult to walk. These were my feet, [pointing at picture], after just a few days. I didn’t train for walking. I don’t know how you train for walking. I guess you walk. That’s the training, right? So I started walking, and this was just the result of a few days. I spent most of my night in the tent. Sometimes I would wake up with some visitors in my shoes, and inside the tent. I learned pretty fast that don’t sleep in high grass, because that’s where the bugs like to sleep as well. Sleep in short grass, if you want to avoid visitors. I slept under bridges. This was in Germany, [pointing at picture]. It was raining a lot, so at least this was a dry place. I slept in abandoned buildings. The building in Turkey that I went into, it took some courage to muster before going into the building. Luckily, no one was there, so I spent the night. Most nights were in the tent. First time I set up a tent was in the tent shop in Sweden, where you buy tents. I asked the guy to teach me how to set up this tent. He teaches me, he sells me this tent, but it’s not a good tent. You see the shape of the stick? In the middle of the night I hear this loud crack, and I wake up and I’m not really sure what to do. So I spent a few nights with a broken tent, before I come to Dresden in southern Germany. I go to the tent shop. I say, “My tent stick broke, I need a new one.” So I show them my stick and they look a little bit confounded. And they say, “Hmm, where did you get this stick from?” I say, “ I got it from Sweden.” They say, “Oh, it’s a Swedish stick.” I say, “Yeah, would you give me a new one please?” They say, “We have German sticks.” I say, “Ok, that’s fine. I’m not a racist, I can take whatever nationality stick you got.” I don’t know, he gives me this story that sticks from different countries have different lengths and thickness. And that, “We don’t have your stick here, but we can order it for you if you want. It will take a month.” I don’t have a month, so I’m not sure what to do. I buy a much too big one, a longer one, because they didn’t have one in my size. I’m sleeping at some Palestinian friends, because I meet Palestinians everywhere. So they’re interesting, as well. [So I was] staying the night there, all of a sudden, I’m like, “I need a saw to saw off the stick to make it the right size.” So they find a saw for me, and we fixed that. After a few nights, or a few weeks, it breaks again, and it’s really bothering [me] because you have to sew it back together. It’s really, it becomes a mess, after a while. After three or four times when it breaks, it’s just a mess. It’s not repairable any more.

This time, I’m in Austria, and I have this very interesting meeting with a gentleman around 55 maybe. He shows me pictures of himself before, and he seemed very old and stressed on his pictures. Wrinkly, dark under his eyes, but when I’m talking to him, he’s full of vigor and energy. Very smooth skin, all of his wrinkles have disappeared. He tells me his story, that he had a very stressful life before, working 15 hours a day like for no reason, really. [He was] earning tons of money, not happy, not knowing what to do with it. So he decides to quit everything, and starts walking. And he walks to Oman from Austria. Oman is right beneath Saudi Arabia. It’s a very, very long way, and he plans to walk every day how far he’s gonna go. I didn’t do this. I did it after a while, but I’m really impressed how he did it. He told me that he made a schedule everyday, knowing everyday where he was going to end up. So when he’s in Iran, in the capital of Tehran, he arrives into it on the day he anticipated from Austria. He tells me that, “I can schedule a meeting in Beijing, maybe in China, and I’ll be there in two years. I’ll be there on time, I’ve walked there.” Incredible man. He happens to have a bunch of good tents lying around. He gives me a very good tent. That’s how I get my tent replaced. And now he’s walking from Norway to South Africa. Not many people know who he is. Very few people, actually. He has like a 100 followers on Instagram. But he doesn’t do it for any other reason except [that] it’s a good way to live life. It’s very, I guess, spiritual, satisfactory. So I have many interesting meetings, of course. He’s smart, he doesn’t use a baby stroller. He knows that these guys, they break, the wheels fall off. He uses something more robust. He’s in Germany at the moment, he’s about to cross the border to the Czech Republic, just like I did.

So I walked for pretty much a year. So, of course, I experienced every season. The winter, the summer. The summer was tougher than the winter. Southern Turkey, with the mountains, lots of ups and downs and very, very hot. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was sweating a lot, and it was really tougher than sleeping in the snow. Although, the snow was tough as well. I mean I’m from Sweden, it’s not like I’m not used to snow. But when it’s snowing a lot, and it’s cold in Sweden, then we go inside and we make a nice cup of tea, and then we wait for summer. We don’t stay outside. We don’t go ten hours in a blizzard. So that was a new experience. This night, in Bulgaria, when I crossed the border to Bulgaria, I got arrested. The police come and they say, “We want to ask you some questions,” like they always do. So I say, “Fine, ask away.” They say, “No, we want to ask you at the station.” [I say,] “Like, why? You can ask anything you want right here.” They say, “No, we want to ask you at the station.” I say, “Are you arresting me?” They say, “No, no, no. We’re just going to ask you some questions.” I say, “Ok, ask away.” They say, “No, no at the station.” I say, “Ok, so you’re arresting me?” They say, “No, we’re not. We’re just going to take you in the car and drive you away to the station.” I say, “Do I have a choice? Can I walk away right now?” They say, “No.” So they arrested me, and interrogated me for about an hour before they let me go. And this night in Bulgaria, they show up again. Although, I don’t know it’s the police. I just hear a lot of footsteps and voices in the night. So naturally I get very nervous and I try to think of something to do. I don’t really have a plan for when people come in the middle of the night to my tent. I thought about it on the way, but I never had a good plan of what to do. Like, what do you do? So they come. I open the tent, I say, “Hello.” They ask me, “What are you doing?” I realize it’s the police but I can’t believe that the police is in the middle of the night in the forest. So I asked them back, “What are you doing?” They say, “What are you doing?” They didn’t answer. I say, “I’m trying to sleep. It went pretty well until you came.” They say, “Where are you going?” I say, “I’m going to Palestine.” And I know it’s a pretty difficult story to sell to them. I know they won’t believe me, but what can I say? I only have the truth. So I say, “I’m going to Palestine.” They don’t understand. They say, “What? Where? To Pakistan?” [I say], “No, Palestine.” They say, “Where is that?” [I say], “It’s in the Middle East.” [They say], “Uh-huh. But we’re in Bulgaria. You know where you are?” I say, “Yeah, yeah! I’m in the forest in Bulgaria. I know exactly where I am.” They say, “Why are you here?” I say, “I’m going to Palestine.” They say, “Yeah, but why are you here?” I say, “I’m passing through.” [They say], “Where are you from?” [I say], “I’m from Sweden.” Like, they don’t believe it. They think I’m a Palestinian guy going to Sweden to seek asylum. So they asked me for my passport. I gave them my passport. They start laughing, like, “You really are from Sweden?” I say, “Yeah, I’m not lying. I’m not kidding you.” They let me go.

They always let me go after I show my passport. I didn’t have to apply for a single visa during this entire journey. I live in a world with a very unfair system. If you’re born in Palestine, you’re giving a Palestinian passport, you can’t travel. You’re stuck. If you’re born in Sweden, like me, you can go anywhere you like without any questions asked. Sometimes one or two questions, but nothing difficult. I mean imagine the scale of that unfairness. What is this? It doesn’t say anything about me, where I’m born. It doesn’t say anything about you, if you’re born in Palestine or Iraq or Russia or Sweden or South Africa. What does that tell you about you? Nothing. But still, governments allow you entry or not based on that. So that was a feeling of privilege. Being able to travel like this, without any hustle. Being stopped all the time. The police came all the time. The first time in Sweden, I thought it was funny. The second time it’s not so funny. They just come all the time. But they go, after I show them my passport. I didn’t meet refugees on the road. I met one guy on the border of Germany and the Czech Republic. And it’s because the police show up all the time. If you’re a refugee and you’re trying to go somewhere— In Europe, we have something called the Dublin law. If you’re refugees applying for asylum, and you get caught by the police, they force you to take your fingerprints and whatever country you do that, that’s where you have to apply for asylum. It doesn’t really make sense since most people are entering through Greece and Italy. So if you want to go to Sweden and apply for asylum, for example, I mean the police will catch you if you walk on the roads. Like they came everyday [for] me I can’t imagine walking for days and weeks trying to avoid them. [It] would be extremely difficult! Avoid all [the] roads, only go at night, in the middle of the forest, don’t buy things at the supermarkets because people might suspect you and call the police. I mean I know people called the police on me because they showed up so much. They couldn’t possibly have known that I was at the particular place where I was at, if someone didn’t call them and say there’s a suspicious man walking in the middle of the road with a big flag. So I know that lots of people called the police when I was walking, so it’s very difficult for refugees. And that’s why I didn’t meet any because they are not out during the day, of course.

So I’m in Turkey, the police show up, they want to know what flag it is. I mean, this is the military police, the blue one the normal police, the white one the secret police. We are surrounded by 20 police at this point (lots of police on this trip).

Do you know who this girl is? For those of you who don’t know, [she is] Ahed Tamimi. I will tell you. Her name is Ahed Tamimi. You see her in handcuffs. She’s 16 years old. She became very famous but not everyone knows the full context so we just place her in the context of being raised in the village of Nabi Saleh, a few hundred people living in this village in Palestine. They have a natural spring close to the village where they go and get their water. Then Israel decides to build an illegal settlement close to this village and the settlers go to the spring and say that this spring is a Jewish spring, always was, so no Palestinians allowed. So the Palestinians, of course, say you can’t just come and steal our water, but the settlers had the military there and they chased them (the Palestinians) away. So the Palestinians start doing demonstrations. They have been demonstrating every Friday for over a decade against this theft of water, land occupation, and everything. She, [Ahed Tamimi], was raised in this village, so she’s born and raised during demonstrations all the time and her house has been raided by the soldiers over a hundred times. Her father has been arrested and tortured multiple times, her mother has been shot, I think twice. [She was] also arrested multiple times and they [the soldiers] shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet and, one hour after, the soldiers run back on her porch and she slaps one of them.

This is the story of Ahed Tamimi. I thought I’d show you that slap so you can see it if you haven’t already [as well as show you] an Israeli politician’s commentary on BBC on what he thought about her slap.

[Video playing]

So it’s a little bit unbelievable that members of parliament would say things like this, but this is reality. So what happens, as it always happens, the Israeli army comes in the middle of the night to her house as they have done over a 100 times before. They arrest her and throw her in the military jeep, and drive her away to Israel, and then the interrogation starts hours on end everyday. There was a video leaked from the interrogation and 90 percent plus of children being interrogated by Israeli soldiers report torture. They report sleep deprivation, abuse, both physical and verbal threats, and this video illustrates some of that. They’re showing her a video on their laptop from one of the demonstrations where all her friends and family are […] the entire village is demonstrating every Friday so everyone she knows is in the demonstrations. They’re showing her a video naming several names of her friends and relatives and threatening her if she doesn’t cooperate. And this went on for hours every day.

[Video playing]

Palestinians live under a different legal system than Israelis. They live under martial law (military law) so they go to the Israeli military courts, which have a conviction rate of over 99 percent, 99.74 percent last time I checked. During these interrogations, they interrogate children and send children to jail as young as twelve. They want them to cooperate by signing a confession, usually in Hebrew, a language they don’t speak. They threaten to arrest their family and take their friends. If they don’t sign this piece of paper, which they don’t know what it says, children as young as twelve. [This] confession is then used as evidence in these military courts to send them off to military prison.

She’s just one girl. She gets sentenced to eight months. Her mother as well because she filmed that slap, that was her [mother’s] crime. So off to prison with her. She gets out, she wants to travel, she wants to speak about what’s going on in Palestine because she’s smart—she knows that narrative matters and that very few people here know what’s going on in Palestine. Israel and the politicians are also smart people—they know that narrative matters so they forbid her from traveling. First thing that happens when she gets out is that she gets a travel ban [so] she can’t go anywhere. Because they know [that] if the people of the world know, if they hear from children living under occupation are put in prison for a slap, having their family tortured, and killed for their entire lives. If they’ll allow them to speak to the world, then the world might get it. She’s just one person, though, one child. Every year hundreds of children are processed through the Israeli military system. In July, there were 270 kids imprisoned, but every year there are five to seven hundred, sometimes more, who get arrested. Sometimes Israel doesn’t even bother to go through their so-called legal system with military courts. Administrative detention is the practice of arresting someone, throwing them into prison without a charge, secret evidence, no court, indefinite time period. [This is] completely illegal under international law, [but a] very common practice amongst the Israeli military throwing Palestinians into prison. All these statistics from July [register] over 400 people.

Speaking of justice, I thought it would be good to show you the Israeli Minister of Justice, the woman that thought that ten years in prison for throwing a stone is not enough. She raised the punishment to 20 years in jail for throwing a stone. The two quotes I’m sharing are from her Facebook [page]. First one says that this is a war between two people who are the enemy. [She refers to] the Palestinian people [as the enemy]. The second quote that she shared on her Facebook [page], [in it] she said: “They are all enemy combatants… Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go through the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” She is calling for the death of Palestinian mothers and the destruction of their homes so that they cannot have any more children, which she calls “little snakes”. This is the current Minister of Justice. And I want to juxtapose on the topic of justice. Ahed Tamimi got eight months in prison for a slap, a sixteen-year-old Palestinian girl. This man, [the soldier she slapped], he got nine months in prison, and he’s an Israeli soldier. He was wearing his military uniform, having his gun [by his side]. He walks up to a Palestinian man lying wounded on the ground face down. He puts his gun against his [the man’s] head and pulls the trigger. He didn’t know he was being filmed but he was. So he was filmed carrying out an execution, so Israel pressed charges against him and when it did, people went out in the streets of Tel Aviv in the thousands protesting. You would imagine they they would protest maybe the conduct of their soldier, the behavior, but [instead] they protested the charges themselves. They protested that Israel was even having a case against him. He did nothing wrong, right? He just killed a Palestinian. He gets nine months in prison for an execution and Ahed gets eight months for a slap.

I haven’t even mentioned Gaza, of course, which is always so difficult to talk about because it’s the magnet of the destruction and the human suffering…not suitable for anyone to describe. Three invasions in a decade, three wars, the most crowded densely populated area on earth, two million people, half of which are children, [so] one million children being bombed by thousands of tons of bombs. Three times in a decade, white phosphorus, like napalm, a 1,500 degrees fan dropped on a UN school serving as a refugee shelter. They [the school] called Israel 17 times, giving Israel their coordinates, saying “We are a UN school”, “Don’t bomb us”, “We have refugees”, “We are sheltering [them]”, around 17 times. [But] they dropped white phosphorus, burning people alive. I could show you pictures of the children and babies… their corpses that have been incinerated. I won’t, because they will give you nightmares. They give me nightmares, but they’re on there if you want to see them. You [just] google Gaza.

Israel’s former Minister of Defense resigned recently because of a ceasefire with Hamas. He wanted to bomb Gaza more. He said this in an interview, that there are no innocents in Gaza. One million children under the age of 18. So the people are protesting. These are the biggest demonstrations in the world at the moment. Thousands of people every single Friday since March 30th protesting because they have no water. Ninety-seven percent of the water is polluted. It’s unfit for human consumption, according to the World Health Organization. Why? Because Israel destroyed the water cleaning facilities in the sewage system. They don’t have electricity so they’re protesting. Why don’t they have electricity? [It’s] because Israel bombed the power plants. They have around four hours a day of electricity. It could come on in the middle of the night. It’s unlivable. They don’t have jobs. Unemployment is through the roof. Why is there no economy in Gaza? Because they are under a military blockade and a siege, which doesn’t allow anything to come in or out. Israel doesn’t allow cement to go in but when you drop thousands of bombs, thousands of tons of bombs, on residential areas: on hospitals, on schools, on flour mills and power plants, on the infrastructure. When you smash it to pieces and bits it needs to be rebuilt. It cannot be rebuilt without rebuilding materials which Israel forbids from entering. People are demonstrating also because they are refugees. Seventy percent of the people in Gaza are refugees from what happened 70 years ago from the catastrophe and they want to go back home. As we know, Israel responds with terrible violence to all sorts of resistance, to any demonstration, to any flag waving, to any slogan, to any child…very violent..shooting everyone close to the border, which is not a border. It’s an armistice line, it’s just a fence. Israel never declared its borders. [Israel] shoots journalists, shoots disabled people, all in the name of self-defense, all in the name of security reasons. It shoots people without legs, shoots medical personnel. Razan al-Najjar, a 21 year old, giving first aid to wounded demonstrators close to the fence in her white lab coat. [She] was giving first aid and then a sniper decides to kill her. But in the media, you will read violent riot, you will read self-defense. And they take pride this is not accidental, this is not unthought of, this is very intentional. The IDF, the Israeli army, tweeted that they knew where every bullet landed after they killed 60 plus people the day that the American embassy was moved to Jerusalem. They tweeted they knew where every bullet landed and we saw pictures of dead children and that raises questions. They take pride in that they are snipers. First, they ask their commander if they can take their shot or not. When they appear through the scope looking at a person that they want to shoot, the commander says yes, and then they take the shot. So when we see the [dead] children, journalists, medical personnel and ambulances with bullet holes, we know it’s not by accident because they say that they know where the bullets land. They say that nothing is carried out uncontrolled. I met some of the people that got shot. I was in a hospital in Amman, Jordan. Jordan and Israel have an agreement that some people can get treatment in Jordan but to get that permission from Israel is extremely difficult. Twenty thousand plus have been injured since March 30th.

I’m at the hospital. There’s about eight people there. And you know that the hospitals in Gaza have been bombed, they are underfunded and undersupplied. They go on generators. It’s terrible. The need is immense. Only a few people [are] at the hospital and I’m talking to them. The man in the wheelchair was close to the fence for five minutes, a few hundred meters away. He’s at the demonstrations for the first time because it took a lot of courage for him go there. It’s very difficult to go and demonstrate for human rights and for your dignity if you know that you will be met with sniper fire. Very few people can muster that courage. If we will go out today and demonstrate for human rights, if we knew that there were snipers there to shoot us, we might be hesitant to do so. So several Fridays he hesitated, but one Friday, he mustered the courage. He went [for] five minutes and they shot him in the leg and he’s telling me he’s asking: “Was it worth it? Does anyone care about us? We get shot and killed everyday. We have no life here. We just want to live. Who cares about us?” Yeah, he’s asking me: “Do people care?” “Has the world forgotten that we exist?” “Does the world not see?” “I see the cameras.” “There are pictures and videos everywhere,” he says. “Doesn’t anywhere care? Where is the outrage? They get shot and killed everyday. Where is the outrage? Why don’t people react to this?”

What can I tell him? I’m sitting with him. Should I tell him that Shakira decided not to go to Tel Aviv to do a concert? They need solidarity, they need our help, they need us to put pressure on our governments. And you [addressing audience] happen to be in the most important place on earth to do so…to make a change…because this is what they are facing everyday. When they go to do a demonstration demanding their human rights, they face sniper fire and they’re [the army] using explosive bullets…dum-dum bullets which the British used during colonial Africa until they stopped using them. Because they thought it was too cruel on the natives using bullets that go in your body and explode. That’s what Israel is using against the people in Gaza every Friday.

The Minister of Education was interviewed about whether he would instruct the army to shoot and kill Palestinian children who breached the border fence. He said that they aren’t children [but] terrorists. It’s the Minister of Education but now he wants to be the Minister of Defense, the Minister of War…Minister of Occupation.

Of course, the world knows what’s going on. We’re not blind. The UN is not blind, it knows what is happening. Countless UN resolutions, 70 plus, deploring the denying of the human rights for Palestinians, deploring the deportation of Palestinians, deploring the killing of Palestinian students, etc… But the UN cannot act if the U.S. vetoes every single Security Council resolution, which it does. The latest resolution vetoed was [inaudible] in Gaza. Kuwait drafted a resolution condemning the use of excessive force against unarmed demonstrators in Gaza. We might ask ourselves what right Israel has to use any force at all against unarmed demonstrators demanding their human rights. This resolution just [mentioned] excessive force. The U.S. that was [asking] too much and vetoed it [implying] that it is okay to use excessive force.

Netanyahu is the leader of the Likud Party which has in its charter that they flatly reject any Palestinian state. So if you’re Palestinian you might ask yourself: ‘What do they want from me?’ ‘Do they want me to have my own state?’ ‘Do they want me to be a part of their State of Israel?’ ‘No’. He also said: “I don’t want them either as citizens of Israel or subjects of Israel,”…not offering much. But if it were for politicians to save the world for us, we would have to wait a long time. Obama signed the Memorandum of Understanding, giving Israel 10 million dollars every single day to their military. As a Swedish person, if i would ask my citizens, my fellow Swedes, if they thought our tax money [should] go to a foreign country’s military, to Russia’s or Iran’s or the U.S.’s, people would just look at me as if I was crazy. And I think most Americans are the same. You don’t want, I think, your tax money to go to another country’s military when you have homeless people in the streets and lack of healthcare for a lot of people. I’ve been to 18 states now. I’ve seen so much poverty and despair. Many people are really struggling and could use those ten million dollars for something else. So I choose to do this work not because I’m hopeless, but because I see what is happening in Palestine and other places and the despair. But because I see it and feel that it needs to change, and I know a little bit about how change happens, at least I have some thoughts on it. Change happens when we mount pressure and when we make a demand. You know that power never concedes without a demand. But just a demand. [For example], if I am demanding human rights for everyone right now, I don’t have any pressure to back it up. A million people at home watching TV angry at the injustice in Palestine, angry at the injustice somewhere else, it won’t change anything. A million people are out in the streets demanding justice and freedom and human rights is changing a lot.

We know from history how humankind took progressive steps forward. [Pointing to Image on Screen] This is the Women’s March a hundred years ago when a suffragette movement demanded the right to vote for women. It didn’t happen by itself. It happened by people out in the streets, putting pressure, making a demand because rights are not given…rights are won. You know this from your own country’s history (ie. the Civil Rights Movement). And if you think that you don’t have much power as individuals, I know I feel that as well. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming, and you get into despair and depression when you see children burning. But we need to always remind ourselves that we do have more power than we realize, and we never know the results of our actions, what they’re going to be in the long run. Of course, we don’t change the world with just one action. Activism is not about doing one action, one demonstration, one fundraising event, one whatever and then saying ‘Okay, I did my part’. It’s about being in it for the long run. Martin Luther King said that “The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice”. Joshua Wong, this fifteen-year-old kid in Hong Kong proves to us that things can happen even though it seems unlikely. He’s fifteen-year-old student. China wants to change the curriculum of Hong Kong against the wish of the people. He doesn’t like it, so he gets together some friends and they start demonstrating. Of course, China doesn’t listen to a couple of teenagers in the street. They decide that they want to have the governor on their side. They want to have the politicians [on their side]. So they tried to go to the governor to talk to him to get him to also demand that China doesn’t do this [action]. The governor doesn’t care about a few kids. They call him and he doesn’t answer. They send emails and he doesn’t answer. So what did they do? They organized an occupation in front of the governor’s building. The kids set up some tents and they stay there demanding a conversation to ask him to stop what China is doing. The days go on, the media goes there because it’s an interesting story. These kids are out there in the rain and people are starting to talk about this. ‘[How are] these kids making this occupation?’ The governor is not responding to them. Now, the governor doesn’t look very good because these kids and their tents [are set up] outside his office and people are talking about how he’s not responding to the demands of citizens. He has to save his face, so he calls a press conference. He invited the children and listened to them saying he understands their concerns and that he will think about [them]. But we know politicians. He doesn’t care. The kids go home and nothing happens. Joshua, their leader, doesn’t give up. He decides that that he needs to step up the pressure. It didn’t work with the governor so [he decides] to get more people. So he organizes another occupation with [alongside] a few more organizations [and] once again they’re out in the streets.

This time, they are occupying the highway. As Gandhi said, people don’t need to be taught about the injustice plaguing themselves. No one needs to come to you and talk to you about America and the injustice that exists in this country. You are [all] well aware of that. The people of Hong Kong already felt what he [the kid] felt when they saw him lead the struggle that they already sympathized with. Maybe they felt guilty. They started to join him. They couldn’t sit back at home anymore [and] watch the kid do all of this while they [sat back and] did nothing. Even though they were aware, even though they were intelligent and smart, knowing what was about to happen and that they didn’t like it, [yet] they were passive. [However], when they saw him [the kid] being active and it was on this point. People don’t need to be taught about injustice. They need to be activated to do something about it. Knowledge is not enough. So they started to join him and, all of a sudden, they weren’t a few kids anymore, there were a hundred people then then a thousand and in this picture [pointing to it] there are over a hundred thousand people in the streets. A hundred thousand people watching TV is nothing, [while] a hundred thousand people in the streets is everything. When China sees this, [it notices] the pressure so it backs off. It started with a fifteen-year-old taking initiative, being active, knowing about the injustice, but also doing something about it.

It’s the same with Palestine. It starts with awareness. It starts with education. That’s why I chose to walk. That’s why I chose to talk, also, to try and raise awareness. I did not only walk there in every capital that I went to. I [also] organized lectures at the universities. I called the media to try and talk about it. I’ve spoken to thousands of people trying to raise awareness about Palestine but there are millions that need to be spoken to. And obviously not one single person can free Palestine, change the world, stop climate change, stop sexism, stop racism, and do all that needs to be done. But we together when we start collectively working, taking action, [and acquiring] knowledge, [that’s what’s important]. It’s not enough. We all know that human rights abuses are wrong, that the occupation brings really terrible violence. But when we decide to also do something about it, then we create the future that we want to see for the kids in the refugee camps, for the old people waiting to go home, and for every Palestinian. It’s really that [people] want to live in peace without violence, without occupation, and without war. They just want to live a decent, prosperous life without all these terrible atrocities happening and once a stable future for themselves. It’s up to us if we want to do something or not. And I invite you all to do as much as you can because we all can do something. It’s not about walking to Palestine. It’s about looking at yourself asking yourself “What can I do?” and “What’s the next step for me?” We need to [play] an active part in trying to create the world that we want to see.

Thank you.