Monday, July 26, 2010

Paul Larudee

Some of you will have heard about the ships that were attempting to take supplies to Gaza recently, which were attacked on the high seas by the so-called Israeli Defense Force (IDF), when numbers of Turks were killed by the boarders.

You may also have heard about one of the American protesters, on a different ship, who was an advocate of Passive Resistance. He (Paul Larudee) is 64, has a PhD in linguistics, and for many years taught at St. Mary's College. For many years, he has been a professional piano tuner, and that's how we met him. For many years, we have seen him when he comes to tune our piano, and when we buy another case of the excellent Palestinian olive oil that he and a number of friends (some Jewish) bottle and sell to help raise funds for the Middle East Children's Alliance.

Paul is a founder of the Free Palestine movement, and on one of several previous visits he was shot in the leg by a member of the IDF.

Paul lives nearby, and so an article about his passive resistance and subsequent beatings by the Zionists were published in the local press.

Paul came to our house on Monday, bringing us fresh supplies of olive oil, and to tune our piano. Mondays are when Martha Hernandez and either her mother (Digna) or brother (Joel) come to clean our house. At one point, Paul could not exercise his tuning skills, because of the noise of a vacuum cleaner, but we were able to mitigate the noise so that he could continue.

When he had completed his work, we asked him to join us for lunch, and we were treated to a first-hand of this self-described "troublemaker" and his successful passive resistance. It was thrilling for me to hear him, and to share his pleasure at the fact that the thwarted attempt to take goods to Gaza has, in fact, achieved much of it's ultimate objective, as the harsh conditions imposed on the Palestinians in Gaza have been somewhat ameliorated, in response to the world wide criticism of Israel, and the many deaths of Turkish crew members.

When we are invited to dinner at the house of friends, we now often take a bottle of olive oil, in place of the more conventional bottle of wine.

I greatly admire Paul, for his courage and good humor. He is remarkably fit for a diabetic in his mid-60s, and I am glad to report that he is almost entirely recovered from the savage treatment he received from his Zionist captors.