Greetings from Amman, Jordan. I am just back from a week in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel (OPTI, as we say in our biz, which is rife with acronyms), where my colleagues and I had meetings with about 30 human rights activists and also held a training on how they can work more strategically and tactically.
Yesterday my American colleague and I rushed back over the Allenby Bridge from Jerusalem to Amman because a historical snowstorm was predicted. Our Palestinian coworker had to stay behind because the border staff is on strike, and they can process tourists (me) but not Palestinians. A good example of something we heard over and over about the situation in OPTI—“it’s complicated.”
Another thing that came up again and again was prisoners’ rights, and torture, and torture in prisons…there was as much blame on the Palestinian Authority as the Israelis, so the Palestinians are getting screwed by both sides but of course the Occupation is what has to change…I could write a whole separate blog on this trip.
So now we’ve had about 4 inches of snow and everything is shut down, and I get to read some of the light literature I picked up in our meetings:
Before I left Minnesota, I called Moose Lake and talked with a guy there about my visit being denied. It was a very cordial, respectful conversation. I felt listened to. He explained that the dress policies had changed and that they had been trying to communicate this to visitors. I suggested they collect visitors’ email addresses and send mass emails about rule changes, and he thought that would be a great idea and asked me to email it to him.
I feel better about “the incident” now, but will Volk be at the front desk when I get there next time? I’m nervous about that, mostly because I feel I owe him an apology for calling him a pervert. Then a second later I think, “Wait—he owes me an apology!” I suppose both are true.
The weekend after I get home, I move to a new apartment. Then I will have to visit Vince the following weekend because he moves to Boot Camp a few days later and he won’t be allowed any visitors for two months. It’s not the greatest timing—coming back from a long, intense work trip, moving, then having to do all that driving to Moose Lake, but I have missed hearing Vince’s voice, and after being estranged from him, off and on, for many years I am so grateful that we can talk to and see each other regularly now.