Resistance Kitchen Update – Week 39

This week at the kitchen we saw some extreme weather conditions. It started with clear skies, and sunny, but with very strong winds. It was comical putting up the gazebo in 35mph gale winds. Trying to secure one leg of the gazebo whilst the other three were floating a foot off the ground, wanting to fly away! Even after two of the legs were secured to the fence, the other two legs weighted down with 4kg weights could be seen rising up several inches off the ground. The tables had to be weighted down with crates of food before they were secure. Then the lighter food items like the half kilo cornflakes boxes started flying off the tables!

No sooner had the wind died down a little, the clear sky was replaced with black clouds and the heavy rain started pouring down! Our exposed biscuit plate was just a pool of water. Luckily the rain only lasted half an hour, followed by sunshine again. After the food drive was over and we reached home to unload the van, a hail storm started. It only lasted 15 minutes but the whole drive was covered in icy hailstones. All this in the space of 3 hours!

Apologies to all our guests who had to endure all this whilst they patiently waited in line for the kitchen to open at 2pm sharp. Also thank you to our guests, who all chipped in to help.

Once open the kitchen ran smoothly with guests very respectful of each other’s needs and as always, courteous to the volunteers. We are blessed with a truly special, compassionate community looking out for each other.

Voter Registration

Despite the dreadful weather, Sonja from Croydon 4 Palestine, accompanied by another colleague came to help us register more guests to vote. We really appreciate their dedication in helping marginalised communities register to vote thereby giving them a voice in the coming elections. Hopefully they will be here next week as well.

Some people are apathetic to voting as they don’t see any real choice between the main political parties – they are as bad as each other. Both parties have made it clear that at home they will continue to back the policies of austerity that starve the poor to fatten the rich; and overseas they will continue to back Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people. It was Hannah Arendt, the political theorist famous for her work on the nature of power, who said

“Those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”

~ Hannah Ardent

Its time to stop choosing evil, its time for independent candidates that espouse our values and will stand for our rights, and the rights of the Palestinian people. It must be remembered that Hannah Arendt also said

“Evil thrives on apathy and cannot exist without it.”

~ Hannah Arendt

Without our voice, evil will continue.

Our Wishing Tree

This week we were set to introduce our latest addition to the food kitchen – our own wishing tree – a very young Olive tree!

The idea is that our guests and passers-bys will write their wishes on the cards provided and share them on the tree by tying them to a branch. The wishes can be personal, or for the community or even for the whole of humanity. By people sharing their wishes and aspirations on a wishing tree they help build a closer community, as the wishes connect us together. As the tree fills with wishes it essentially becomes a living monument representing the community’s dreams, large and small.

The instructions on the Wishing Tree read:

Our Wishing Tree

Write your wish, or two…

It can be a personal wish,
or a wish for our community,
or for the whole of humanity.

Gently tie it to a branch.

See the other wishes,
hold one and pray it comes true.

The wishes on the tree
connect us together
as a community.

The tree is a living monument
that represents our dreams,
large and small.

InshAllah, may Allah grant them all.

But unfortunately we couldn’t take the wishing tree out of the van due to the weather. We were worried that our young sapling might be damaged in the gale winds. A few people still managed to share their wishes on the tree. Next time, weather permitting, we hope all our guests, and the wider community will be able to participate.

The Olive Tree - Resilience and Resistance

The olive tree was chosen for our wishing tree for its deep connection to Palestine.

For thousands of years, the olive tree has stood tall in the Palestinian landscape, not only as an agricultural staple but as a symbol of identity, heritage, and the unbreakable spirit of the Palestinian people. Able to withstand drought and harsh conditions, it embodies the resilience and resistance of a nation under siege. Each tree stands as a testament to ancestral presence and an assertion of Palestinian identity. 

The Second Olive Tree

By Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine’s national poet

The olive tree does not weep and does not laugh. The olive tree

Is the hillside’s modest lady. Shadow

Covers her single leg, and she will not take her leaves off in front of the storm.

Standing, she is seated, and seated, standing.

She lives as a friendly sister of eternity, neighbor of time

That helps her stock her luminous oil and

Forget the invaders’ names, except the Romans, who

Coexisted with her, and borrowed some of her branches

To weave wreaths. They did not treat her as a prisoner of war

But as a venerable grandmother, before whose calm dignity

Swords shatter. In her reticent silver-green

Color hesitates to say what it thinks, and to look at what is behind

The portrait, for the olive tree is neither green nor silver.

The olive tree is the color of peace, if peace needed

A color. No one says to the olive tree: How beautiful you are!

But: How noble and how splendid! And she,

She who teaches soldiers to lay down their rifles

And re-educates them in tenderness and humility: Go home
And light your lamps with my oil! But

These soldiers, these modern soldiers

Besiege her with bulldozers and uproot her from her lineage

Of earth. They vanquished our grandmother who foundered,

Her branches on the ground, her roots in the sky.

She did not weep or cry out.  But one of her grandsons

Who witnessed the execution threw a stone

At a soldier, and he was martyred with her.

After the victorious soldiers

Had gone on their way, we buried him there, in that deep 

Pit – the grandmother’s cradle. And that is why we were

Sure that he would become, in a little while, an olive

Tree – a thorny olive tree – and green! 

Gaza Posters

The poster display we introduced last week, highlighting the use of hunger and thirst by Israel as a weapon of war, were very popular and we have had many requests to upload a PDF version so that people can print them to use in protests. We’ve included the PDFs below, please don’t use them for fly posting.

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