Grainger St, Newcastle. January 26th. 5.5 miles

I am feeling rather sombre this week. I think this may be partly to do with the dark. Though my feet have covered the equivalent of a marathon in the past few days, and though I am really enjoying both the walking and the thinking about the walking, my journeys mostly occur in the hours before dawn, and those after dusk. In order to take any sort of photograph of my walking day, I’ve had to seek out the light of illuminated places: bus stations, platforms, stores.

Haymarket Bus Station, Newcastle. January 27th. 4.5 miles.

The other reason I am feeling sombre is the hypocritical and obfuscatory response I received from the BBC to my complaint about their refusal to broadcast the appeal from the Disaster Emergency Commission, who are co-ordinating the important work of supplying aid to to Palestinians whose homes, lives, and livelihoods have been destroyed in the recent bombardment. I imagine some of you may have complained about the BBC’s decision as well, and will have received exactly the same message. After reading their blithe and unapologetic email, I walked home, stopping to pick up a pint of milk in Tesco, where I saw hordes of shoppers stuffing cellophane-wrapped salads and herbs labelled Produce of West Bank into their baskets. These apparently innocuous packets of basil have their origin in occupied land. They are grown in the settlements that the UN, and every other nation in the world apart from Israel have condemned as illegal. I left without buying my milk, and walked home. In the dark.

Princes St, Edinburgh. January 29th. 4 miles.

Eldon Square war memorial, Newcastle. January 28th. 4.5 miles.

15 thoughts on “walking into 2009

  1. I can’t find a clever thing to say about this post but I am very glad you wrote it and have read it and all the comments through, several times.

    The situation in Gaza is horrific.


  2. I was amazed to find out your position regarding the israel-hammas engagement.
    lets look at the americans, who’s goverment sends troops to overseas countries to fight in wars that remotly effect them, how don’t you understand a govermant that fights garrila worriers which bomb it’s teritory on a daily basis ?

    it looks like there’s a whole lot of hypocrisy in your thinking .

    you really need to open your eyes and learn more.


  3. Hello Kate
    My name is Natasha and I have been reading your blog for a several months.
    Your recent post made me very sad and disappointed. I would like to tell you about myself. Please read this.
    I am 28 years old; I have a life partner and a 2 years old daughter. I was born in Russia and lived there until age 9. I could not continue living there because my father is a Jew . I don’t know if you have ever experienced the feeling of impersonal hate. It is very unpleasant to know that you are hated just because you are something that you cannot change. It is not that I was doing something different, I was just a Jew. A person who never felt like a second best citizen in his own country well never understand the importance of a place to call his own .for me and my family , coming to Israel was a matter of finding home. I don’t want to be sentimental and tell you about all my family that was killed by the Germans and the every day struggle of living in a place where you have no rights. But please believe me that for me living in Israel is a matter of surviving. I have no other place to go to.
    You know, even if you don’t think that I and my country have a right to fight for the survival against those who wants us dead, I believe that you cannot claim to be right or give your opinion without seeing both sides or knowing all the facts.
    And the facts are:
    – The ” settlements that the UN, and every other nation in the world apart from Israel have condemned as illegal” in Gaza are no longer exist (since 2005). The people who lived there lost there homes and many of them still haven’t rebuilt their homes and lives. You see, in Israel we are truly want the “peace”. You can write in Google- Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan- and read some more facts.

    -Please use the Google once more and look fore the statement of Hamas. See how they feel about the state of Israel and our right to exist.

    – I remember when the government decided on the unilateral disengagement plan- some people said that in a short time we’ll see bombs falling on Ashdod( which is deep In the Israeli territory) .Kate, do you know that there are people in Israel that live in a constant and a very real threat of a bomb falling on them in the middle of the night (or day) for a several years now ? How do you think you would feel in their place ? Wouldn’t you want your government to go there and bomb them back ?
    Please open your eyes and see the photos of Hamas people holding struggling children in their hands as a human shield so that they wont get shot. They are using the Palestine people- their own people, attacking us constantly from the most populated areas in Gaza so that we’ll look as a killers of children in the eyes of the world. During the war they killed in the mayhem their own people from the PLO
    And threw their bodies in the streets.
    They teach young children to become holy soldiers and commit suicide in order
    To kill as many Jews as possible.
    You should read the Hamas doctrine just to understand what we are dealing with.
    This has nothing to do with occupied territories because we don’t want the
    West bank or Gaza.
    The Egyptians don’t want it nor the Jordanians because they know that the
    Hamas who was elected and won 73% of the Palestinians is simply
    A part of the blood thirsty “Muslem brothers” who are supported by Iran.
    This is the same population who danced on the roofs of the houses in Gaza
    During 11/9.
    So who do you really want to support there with your infinite mercy-
    People who want to slaughter every infidel (Jews and Christians)
    People who murder their own brothers and using their own children
    As Human shield? (You should try You Tube –unbelievable)
    Teaching their babies from age 0 to hatred.
    Attacking Shderot and other cities in Israel with missiles for 8 years?
    Using billions of dollars (some were given by to Israeli Government)
    To gain more weapon and artillery instead of building hospitals?

    You amaze me with your vanity to claim to understand the entire History of the
    Last 60 years of the middle east or the concept of Jihad and Islam.
    I suppose you receive most of your information from the T.V
    But the T.V will always be in favor of this endless bloodshed.

    – I know that I have written a lot. But please let me tell you another personal fact . Last year my daughter had a severe infection and had to be hospitalized. Guess who was her roommate in the children department? Well Kate 70% of them were a Palestinian children who are treated in Israeli hospitals and the Israeli government is paying for them with money that me and the people that get the bombs on their heads are working for. So you see, there is very little “black and white” in our world, and I hope very mach that I’ve made you rethink or at least you would take a little more time looking for facts before you give your opinion.


  4. we americans always fall prostrate at the mere mention of the bbc and the prospect of well-produced non-commercially driven culture and journalism. but being the mouthpiece of the govt has its drawbacks too, i perceive. that’s pretty shocking.

    i’ve never been able to figure out whether i should be boycotting the products of injustice or thinking, this is the only way these people have to eat, and if i don’t buy the basil, there will be nothing. all these people and their child soldier/child prostitution outcry do not take into account the alternatives (death) available to these children. (altho it is much easier on the conscience to boycott child soldiers and child prostitutes, without actually giving money to the orgs which help them.)

    i’m also increasingly appalled at the fundraising hijinks of charities, ever since i got myself put on their email lists. every time they need money they send me a picture of a starving african stick child, or a bleeding baby seal, or a polar bear on an ice floe, whether or not that is the issue for which they’re raising money or the season of the mayhem the photograph illustrates. cry wolf one too many times and i will spend my tiny charitable contribution elsewhere.

    that said, i’m glad to think you’ve found a trustworthy palestinian organization to which to contribute. i found quite an obscure one last year, so obscure i’ve forgotten its name.


  5. ps. http:/www.un.org/unrwa/english.html -is the site for UN organization responsible for the 4.6 million “registered Palestinian refugees in the Near East”

    http://www.unhcr.org -is the site for the organization responsible for the 32.9million refugees in the rest of the world

    Interesting information about budgets and programmes.

    Be encouraged, there are people doing good and honourable work all over this wonderful world. (I do like the Quaker ideal of finding the “God” part in someone.)

    Good night, and thank you, for a most interesting blog, : ) maman. sorry if too long


  6. Yes!

    Are You Our “Walking Class Hero” ! :)

    Was just wondering if the UK has a Pedestrian Charter? The UK has so many brilliant walks and just an attitude to walking that is quite unique in the world.

    Also, re: Haggis

    25th January, Wonthaggi Australia. (Close to the coast about 150km SE Melbourne, coal mine closed down a while ago.)

    Small Fish and Chip Shop, proprietor young fellow, enthusiastic, enterprising. Small sign on the shop window, flag of St Andrew, invitation to try for A$1.60, “Deep Fried, Battered Haggis”!

    Wow! Delicous! Crunchy, Moist, Hot and Tasty!

    So, we ordered 10 more pieces, cut them into quarters and served them to 50 people (Sailors/as ‘nibbles’) from a golden platter on flat parsley and a paper doyley. “Swish”! ;) And eaten in a flash too! How about that! Only two people had ever eaten Haggis before.

    The young man had bought just 3kg from the British Butcher in Dandenong and had sold out. He was chuffed! Checked with youngest son, his comment? “How very Glaswegian”. And so he was, from a town just south of there.

    Hope that may have cheered you up! It was just such a surprise to find Haggis in Wonthaggi. Battered and Deep Fried to boot.

    Well it is 44.2c here and definitely NOT walking weather. Enjoy your winter.


  7. Gaza has been weighing on my mind as well – I was horrified with the whole BBC thing. And thought that both Douglas Alexander and Ben Bradshaw last week were really excellent on R4 about it. I to complained and wait for my email!! I’m sorry you have been feeling sombre – commutor walking in the dark is never fun. November is my least favourite month. I love your walking pictures – I was planning to do a 365 flickr group but had similar issues about light… How are you building walking into your day? Are you doing different routes? I am changing jobs and apparently get a free pedometer in my new role which is very exciting!!


  8. Thank you. It’s a wonderful thing to remember just how many people stand with Palestine. We don’t get Israeli produce in the States but we have huge advertisements to entice tourists that read, “Israel: not what you see on the news,” and show us women shopping and laughing. It turns my stomach.
    May we see an end to the occupation soon.


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