...reflections from a Compassionate Listener

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chickpea Warrior - Reporting from the Middle East

My 20th anniversary delegation to Israel and Palestine is coming up, May 25th - June 5th (twenty years, and 25 delegations). My plan is to blog from the trip for the first time. I hope to be able to share some of our daily experiences in a meaningful way. (I'm staying on after the delegation to teach Compassionate Listening and will do my best to continue the blog.)

But back to the "Chickpea Warrior" part - you might be wondering about that. So here's a little story: Danaan Parry, co-founder of the Earthstewards Network, organized our first delegation to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in 1990. It was just before the first Gulf War, and Israeli citizens were lining up to receive their gas masks and making sealed rooms in the their homes to prepare for possible chemical/biological missiles from Iraq. Tourists were almost entirely gone by the time we arrived in November.
Everyone who could was boarding a flight out of Israel, but not a single one of our 20 participants cancelled. So Danaan had "Chickpea Warrior" pins made up for each one of us. It was a crazy, Danaan-like thing to do, and so appropriate, in light of the fierce commitment diplayed by our group.

Chickpea (the innocent garbanzo bean), means "hummous" in Arabic. It is a food that is loved by all the people in the holy land. The chickpea - one of the most ancient foods on the planet - is to Palestinians, and many Israelis too, as beans and tortillas are to Central Americans - a daily source of nourishment and sustenance. May we learn from the humble chickpea - to be steadfast in our efforts and offer sustenance.

As I reflect on these last 20 years, it's time to once again offer up a bundle of gratitude to Danaan Parry, who opened the door for me to what would become my life work. I am also grateful for all the Chickpea Warriors who have come with me to Israel and Palestine (nearly 600 people have participated in 28 delegations - 3 delegations were led by Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener) and contributed to a beautiful body of work. Maybe they didn't realize they were Chickpea Warriors, but I knew.

I look forward to blogging on this upcoming trip and providing a window into our experiences. Stay tuned!

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