I can hardly believe it – May 3rd is the first birthday of my blog! Time flew and it seems it was only yesterday that I stood at Marienplatz, one of Munich’s two city-centers, thinking “naaaaaaa, why should it make sense to open an own blog – there are more than a million (or more?) out there, mine would just be one more”! Chet and Jac, my blog-mentors, had repeatedly encouraged me to do so … but alone the idea already felt weird.

The place was packed, mostly tourists, as always, year-round. It was a lovely day, warm, sunny. I remember having aimlessly looked around and watched the people (I love doing that), the hustle and bustle and all of a sudden it hit me and I thought “Why not to write about Munich, my hometown?”

The decision was instantly made – one of my notorious split-second ones – and I headed home. I started with the help of again Chet and Jac, I couldn’t have done it without them .. they were the ones who set up the blog for me and gave me the jumpstart I needed. THANKS SO MUCH GUYS … I OWE YOU BIG TIME!!

After a while someone – I forgot who – asked me if I would consider writing and posting about other things as well and I instantly agreed.

To switch to Middle East politics was not far fetched … having been a pro-Palestinian activist for some six years gave me the necessary background and insight. I always have a problem if some “smart” people comes to me and try to tell me I wouldn’t know what I am talking about … I have been there, seen what’s going on with my own eyes. I was teargassed, shot at (NOT hit thank GOD!), slandered, yelled at, discriminated against, I’ve seen a soldier aiming at children some two foot away from me at Qalandia refugee camp, have seen the humiliation and unspeakable hardship Palestinians have to go through on a daily basis, talked with administrators of hospitals inside the territories (Jericho and Qalkilia) and listened to their stories. I waited with them at the check-points and sat with people at refugee camps listening to their stories .. stories of the elderly as well as of youngsters, of parents as well as children.
And I tried to help wherever possible.

I was their guest, they allowed me inside their homes. South of Hebron I sat together with a family who’s forefathers already had made a cave their residence. It was clean, organised, decent – a home. They invited me to have a cup of tee and a pita with egg-salad and I sat there together with them, ate, drank … and listened. They were wonderful people!
I took care of a 12 years old child who was cold-bloodedly shot in the abdomen by a settler in the Hebron area. The incident has been filmed so nobody could say it was a lie …

“Washington Report for Middle East Affairs” had been kind enough to grant me a press-card (for one year but unfortunately Israel refused to renew it already after three months) which enabled me to go to Jenin refugee camp about a week after the horrendous attack in 2002 … a sight of horror I will never forget in my life. A young girl came to me and gave me two pieces of paper … on one was written “WE WILL RETURN” and on the other “WE WON’T FORGIVE AND WON’T FORGET” and signed “The children of Jenin refugee camp”. These hours are engraved into my soul … it is I who will never forget!

I do know Palestians well. I can personally assure you they are the one of the friendliest, most hospitable, warmest and kindest people I have ever met – I do NOT exaggerate! To endure the kind of horrors they are subjected to on a daily, almost hourly basis by the cruel and inhumane Israeli occupation and NOT to lose faith in humanity, to still be able to maintain dignity and pride takes a very special mindset, an incredible mental and psychological strength!! The picture the media paints and wants the world to believe is wrong … it is biased and one sided! I wish that would stop!

A SPECIAL tribute to my new friends:

During this year I met as well a whole number of FANTASTIC people over the blogsphere, a fact I am eternally grateful for! Many became dear friends, GREAT people I wouldn’t want to miss for anything anymore – and few became friends for life, first and foremost Robin, my wonderful “Twinsie”, Chet and Abufares … what more can I ask!
Then there are Razan, Syrian Brit, Dubai Jazz, Noor, Salim Abed, Khaled, ab, Sara, Ghalia, The Sphinx, Mona, Naj, Adham, Steve, Duried, Izzy, Jano, Unaiza, Debra, Omar and of course Haitham, the aggregator of Palestinian blogs! Forgive me if I forget names … there are SO MANY and I LOVE YOU ALLYOU’RE GREAT!

A second year of blogging is starting and I am determined to go on the way I finished the first year, tirelessly fighting a NON-violent fight for justice and human rights.

THANK YOU ALL for having been SOOOO WONDERFUL, THANK YOU for your loyalty … for being YOU!!


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