Joy Ellison

"At least there's food in prison!"

“This morning,” my neighbor Mona explained to me, “I told my husband that since the kids are out of school and he didn’t need to go into town, I would cook something special and we would have a party.” Mona has a wry sense of humor and I started to wonder what the punch line would be. Joy Ellison writes from al-Tuwani, occupied West Bank. 

Prison walls

“Nasser says hello,” the woman said as she stood in my doorway and smiled. I was barely able to choke out, “Say hello to him too.” Nasser, the woman’s husband, was in prison. He was arrested on 20 July during a peaceful demonstration in his West Bank village of al-Tuwani. He did nothing wrong, nothing but build a house on land he owns. A Palestinian need do nothing more to be treated like a criminal. Joy Ellison writes from al-Tuwani, occupied West Bank. 

Nonviolent resistance in the south Hebron hills

A couple of months ago I had the great pleasure of watching Palestinians successfully graze their sheep near Avigail settlement, on land where they are regularly attacked and harassed. The joy I felt in watching my friends and partners grazing their sheep on their ancestral lands was overwhelming. Sitting on the hill and eating lunch together felt like having a party. Joy Ellison writes from Hebron. 

Tony Blair and the full measure of justice

An elderly Palestinian woman grabbed my hand and held it over her chest. “Feel my heartbeat,” she said. “We are really afraid of the settlers.” Only half an hour before she took my hand, a group of 20 settlers from Maon settlement entered the village of Juwwiya and shot at her and her family as they grazed their sheep. Joy Ellison writes from the occupied West Bank. 

Dreaming of paradise

“I had a dream last night,” Sami (not his real name) told my teammates and me while we sat munching sliced tomatoes and olives one hot afternoon. Sami told us that in his dream he had climbed to the top of one of the pine trees at the edge of Havot Ma’on, an illegal Israeli settlement outpost. Below him, Sami could see Israeli settlers stealing the fodder that he uses to feed his sheep. Joy Ellison writes from the occupied West Bank. 

"When I'm big will I go to jail like Daddy?"

“Momma, when I’m big will I go to jail like Daddy?” That was little Adam’s question for his mother when I came to visit their house, just before leaving the village of al-Tuwani for a brief trip home to the United States. Adam is three years old. His mother tells me that he wants his father to come home from jail and bring him ice cream. “Adam is upset,” she says.