Peter Kent-Baguley reports from Leek PSC on Pat Mood, a founder member of Sumud Palestine, excellent presentation on her first-hand experience of olive picking in Palestine at an event organized by the Leek branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, on the 9th November to mark the day in 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was published.
As a propaganda exercise to recruit the support of the Jewish community for Britain’s war effort it was successful. As a disastrous betrayal of the Arabs, following the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement that divided the Middle East between Britain and France after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, allied to Germany, it stands as a monument to hypocrisy and betrayal.
Appropriately, Pat Mood’s power-point presentation included facts, maps and photographs of the bloodbath, the Nakba, created by the emerging state of Israel, which continues to rely on dispossession, siege, conquest, colonization and murder to expand and sustain its racist Jewish State.
Pat effortlessly and elegantly wove her personal experiences of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians within a clear historical framework. Olive picking may sound straight forward enough, and perhaps with a romantic turn of mind even idyllically lyrical.
That would be misrepresenting the situation in Palestine where Israel has wantonly uprooted some million olive trees since 1948 to make way for their apartheid, Israeli-only highways, illegal Israeli-only colonies and the land-grabbing “security” wall, which has led to widespread dispossession of valuable olive groves.
The two Italian teenage girls from Leek’s twin town Este in northern Italy found the talk added considerably to their understanding of the situation in Bethlehem with which Este is twinned.
Pat certainly echoed the experience of others who have participated in the annual olive harvest or toured with a twinning group, the utterly emotionally draining experience of being but briefly touched by the relentless emotional toll that is the daily experience of the Palestinians.