Back to the Roots: A Candlelight Vigil & Prayer for Palestine

“If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.” – Rumi

Dear Fellow Warrior,

I just wanted to take a moment to share this video with you.

I’ve noticed that every time Palestine faces bombardment, I find myself back going “back to my roots.” Now what does this mean? The roots were the origins of my career and educational pursuits. The roots are the issues that brought me into the field of world affairs, which is human rights advocacy. And I know it started with the people of Palestine.

During my graduate school years, human rights activism fell in the backburner and would occasionally resurface throughout my work and studies in the field of international development.

It is interesting because I started off this year by experiencing a serious injustice, connected to white supremacy and racism, and the year is ending with something at a larger level.

Part of the reason those who have dealt with trauma will not stay silent at the face of adversity when they see others struggle is because speaking up for others helps people speak up for themselves. Sometimes it is easier to stand up for justice for other people, because you cannot speak up for yourself. So while you are unable to get closure, or fight for yourself, you can fight for others and bring all your empathy and understanding to another cause.

This one, as you have known, given my posts in the past, is an issue very dear to my heart.

And this weekend, I recorded this video of an indie, modest candlelight vigil, reading, and prayer for Palestine (late Friday night/Saturday morning) November 4, 2023.

All of us are called to action right now, in whatever capacity we can act.

Most of us who care dearly for Palestine have not had a decent night of sleep since October 7. As you may know, I already have sleeping problems, so it has only exacerbated.

The international community is witnessing a genocide for the first time in world history in a way we never have before. I admit, I was a little harsh in my last post here, but I was only being honest about my emotions.

We should absolutely be expressing complete outrage over what is happening right now. This should not be happening. And this space has always represented honesty, authenticity, and social justice.

We must do everything we can in our capacity to support the Palestinian community in Gaza, West Bank, America and around the world at this time. I just know, personally, as most other people, my heart, mind, and soul are with Gaza right now, and the children of Gaza, as I wrote in this Letter to Gaza on Medium.

So here in this video I share a one-person candlelight vigil, reading, prayer, and moment of silence for the people we have lost in Palestine.

I begin with an introduction and very brief update about the crisis that is unfolding. The update is up until November 3, so a lot has happened, but a lot has not changed. For instance, to the day of posting this video (11/9), there remains no ceasefire, but with the ongoing bombardment, the death toll has increased significantly, and on a daily basis. We do not see an end in sight, to this brutal invasion of Gaza, at this time.

I then proceed and discuss the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As part of the vigil, I read all 30 articles of the UDHR and lit a candle for each article.

I close the vigil off with a few very brief prayers in English and a moment of silence.

I called this video/vlog/blog post “Back to the Roots” because I am always taken back. It has been 75+ years and we are still talking about this conflict. So much suffering.

I have always felt connected to the people in the margins, because I am someone who is in the margins. I have tasted and identified with it. Just fighting for suicide prevention openly in my communities has pushed me to the margins. Palestine always had as well. I am learning however, that maybe I was not in the right spaces the past 15 years or so. Or maybe I was, because it is in those spaces that our voices for Palestine need to be heard.

This video isn’t perfect, but it is the best I can do in my individual/independent capacity at the moment. But I do sincerely apologize if it comes off short and I know that it doesn’t do justice to the People of Gaza, who deserve so much love and support right now. Also, I was filming quite late into the night, so I did struggle speaking a bit more than usual. So, please forgive me for that.

I do hope you can take a moment with me here if able.

Thank you so much for listening and giving this voice a chance.

Sending my love and prayers to all my Palestinian brothers and sisters at this trying time. Inshallah, tomorrow Palestine will be free.

In Solidarity, Peace, Warmth, and Blessings,

Your sister,
Dr. Elsa,
Warrior KQueen

“She wasn’t looking for a night, she was looking for a Sword.” – Atticus

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