Caitlin Williams

Caitlin Williams (Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy - MEND): Caitlin earned a joint degree in Religious Studies and International Relations from Brown University. She worked as a research assistant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. At the time of her fellowship, Caitlin was studying for a joint degree at the Arab Studies program and Georgetown Law School. After her fellowship, Caitlin wrote: “While I don’t think I did much in the way of real capacity-building at MEND, I do think I have provided much needed temporary help in the office and some real help for the Palestinians that participated in the workshops I helped to organize. The two workshops provided me with an immense amount of satisfaction and a new perspective on nonviolent resistance in Palestine.”

Dirt Storms and Cloudy First Impressions

30 May

The biggest news of my first three days here has been the rain storm we had yesterday, which actually consisted more of falling dust and pollen than water. The gas stations were filled with people whose windshield wiper spray didn’t work. They were washing off their windshields so they could drive on to the next gas station where they would have to stop again. This morning Umm ‘Abu Baas, my landlady and neighbor, was washing off her veranda as I tiptoed through streams of flowing dirt to get to the road.

Most of the office is in Ramallah today training trainers in nonviolent resistance. Since they will be there for a few days and I just arrived, I’ve been left to check my email, explore Jerusalem and catch up on my sleep. I started writing a bit of a mini diary, you can find it at yoursnutrition.

I also need to do a lot of catching up on my knowledge of nonviolent conflict and my Arabic. I think I’ll be spending a good amount of time in the coming weeks studying both. Umm ‘Abu Baas will be a good source for learning the language since she speaks hardly any English and is very patient as I muddle through my Arabic. She has most definitely upheld the reputation of Arab hospitality as being amazingly generous and gracious. It was so nice to be greeted by a warm meal and warm company after traveling for 15 hours and being questioned for another two by various Israeli officials.

One person asked me what I thought of Jerusalem so far and I said that I really don’t know what to think. It will probably take a little bit before I stop simply observing and absorbing and am able to start responding to my new surroundings.

Posted By Caitlin Williams

Posted May 30th, 2003

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