Michael Riordon

the view from where I live

On the road again

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One of many stolen rights that Palestinians are struggling to reclaim is freedom of movement, which most of us take for granted.  An intriguing new example of creative non-violent protest follows below.  First, a little context:

Israel’s growing system of apartheid roads severely limits the free movement of people and goods into, out of, and even within occupied Palestine.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that as of September 2011:

  • there were 522 roadblocks and checkpoints throughout the West Bank
  • four of the five roads that lead into the Jordan Valley are not accessible to Palestinian vehicles
  • an additional 495 ad-hoc ‘flying’ checkpoints obstruct movement around the West Bank each month (on average), compared to 351 in the past two years
  • at least 200,000 people from 70 villages are forced to use detours which take two to five times longer than the direct route to their closest city
  • in ten of the eleven major West Bank cities, one or more of the main entrances are blocked to Palestinian traffic.

Not surprisingly, in the same spirit as the recent Freedom Rides in PalestinePalestinian ‘car protest’ in West Bank challenges road segregation.

The news of this protest arrived today from Israeli-American journalist Mairav Zonszein, via +972 Magazine and Mondoweiss:

“Palestinians attempted to set out in a motorcade of about 50 cars from Jericho en route to Ramallah this morning, to protest and challenge the system of Israeli-only roads throughout the West Bank….”

Follow the story here.  The article includes photos, video, and links to Twitter updates, with the hashtag #carprotest.

Author: Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.

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