Pat Mood, a founder member of Sumud Palestine’s steering committee, has growing programme of talks to various groups in North Staffordshire and sometimes further afield.
There was a large audience of around 75 people at the U3A group in Alsager to hear Pat’s power point presentation on Olive Picking in Palestine. It was received sympathetically although comments and questions afterwards reflected how little information about the reality of everyday life for the people of Palestine filters through to the world outside.
A member of the audience introduced herself as a member of the Alsager Church that raised £10,000 to buy and deliver a grand piano to Bishara Haroni when he was a little boy growing up in the West Bank of Palestine. This enabled him to develop his prodigious talent and join the Jerusalem Conservatoire. He is now an international recognised and acclaimed pianist married to Adi, an Israeli violinist, with whom he sometimes plays.
The Ladies’ Guild of St Gregory’s in Longton welcomed Pat for her talk about olive picking. Some had been on group pilgrimages to the Holy Land which had included visits to Bethlehem and the West Bank and they already had some sense of the situation there. Seeing the map of ‘shrinking’ Palestine touched them particularly.
Such talks usually attract donations towards the work of Sumud but I believe that the priority is spreading the message. At the end of my stay with a Palestinian family in the West Bank in 2012 I asked our host what we could do to best help the situation. His reply was “Tell everyone what it is like here and what you have seen.” This is what I try to do.