Just walk away.
Ok, um, guys, seriously we need to just walk away.
It is hot. I am confused. My shins pre-hurt. My stomach feels twisted and odd. Over the last three years of activism and direct actions, I’ve been yelled at, shoved, spit on, detained, whacked with a baton, cursed out, dragged, arrested and nearly urinated on, but this was by far the most upsetting and unexpected counterprotest I’d ever experienced.
I was standing on a kitchen chair when it happened.
All That’s Left: Creative direct action. Street theatre. In the middle of a sea of people in Jerusalem’s Machaneh Yehudah market at 2:40 PM on a Friday afternoon.
We are here, I say in loud American English, stepping up onto a chair.
(We are here), respond the other activists, the form inspired by Occupy Wall Street’s “Mic Check,” an eminently portable, eminently free, eminently intriguing grassroots type of Megaphone.
To announce that from this day forward, I yell, my assumed Voice of Authority growing louder and shriller.
(To announce that from this day forward), respond the others. Four of them are holding two large American flags in a V-formation, others are waiting nearby with flyers and cameras.
This piece of land belongs, I am only half looking at my surroundings. The other half of my looking is directed, somehow, at the space between my eyes and the world, a space that I’ve come to know as my “zone,” first experienced in theatre as a young kid, and later during spoken word performances as an older kid. It is a place of extreme focus and echoic silence. I’m in this. I am vaguely aware that we are people are yelling and that a crowd is growing, but I don’t or can’t or won’t pay much attention: I have words to say.
(This piece of land belongs!)
To Americans only, movement in the crowd, a flash of yellow, murmurs, raised voices. The flyer-ers have begun distributing. I later find out that All That’s Left member Daniel Roth (who is an superb writer, photographer and pursuer of justice) encountered someone who told him to give him all of his flyers, and when Daniel refused, the man took a half-hearted swing at him.
(To Americans only!)