When I came to Gaza in November 2011 I planned to stay for 2 months maximum, at least that was the deal I made with my pregnant wife.  But as happens Palestine has a way of seducing you, and in my case the Egyptian authorities have a way of imprisoning you, so my stay lasted 6 months rather than 2.  In turn I ended up missing the birth of our second child.

Although I planned to film 30 separate family profiles here in Gaza, to have these families tell their story directly to a western audience, I did not plan to meet the Samouni family as their story had been told many times before.  Fate had other plans however and this meeting was arranged without my knowledge.

Back in Gaza with the Samouni kids

It is ironic how unplanned events often impact your life far more than those that are planned.  Before you know it you are taken down a path of which the universe, God, some unknowable force is clearly in charge, we become but a passenger.  Meeting the Samouni family has been like that, it has caused a chain reaction of events that has dominated my life for the last 18 months.  In that time I have known the greatest of joy, the joy of receiving a child’s smile upon your return for instance.  I cannot guess at the amount of smiles reciprocated with the Samouni kids and yet the joy it produces never diminishes.

What is a child’s smile worth?

In the last 18 months I have also known rage, primarily from the betrayal of those I trusted.  To trust is to love, it is expose one’s underbelly in the interest of union.  It is the cornerstone of partnership, it is essential for any significant progress in effecting a better world.  Those that are afraid to trust, to love, will never know the joy of love, and my willingness to trust has been one of the greatest sources of the immense blessings I have known.  I have no regrets, even with the betrayals.

Max Igan meets the Samouni kids

So the price one inevitably pays for misplaced trust is to be praised one day, and then slandered with the most filthy lies the next.  This is the tactic of infiltration, get inside, develop trust, establish an apparently credible basis to defame the target, then attack.  For me this extends not just about me, but of my wife, my mother and even my children who have been called “illegitimate”.  I have even seen Palestinians create a Facebook page designed purely for the purpose of defaming me (a blatant violation of Facebook’s duplicitous, Israel slanted policies).  I have been unlawfully arrested by the UK police, my family home has been violated and my property stolen by thieves in uniform.  And yet I am grateful for it all because it is in these greatest of challenges, the injustices, that one finds the greatest opportunities to grow, to become wiser and stronger.

I am grateful because through the joy and through the hardship I have never lost sight of how blessed I am.  When I look back at my life there is such richness in the stories I have accumulated and the friendships I have developed.  I have thought with my heart more than with my head and in a world of collective insanity I realised long ago that popularity and approval is not what a content and honourable life generally provides, in fact it almost never does.  The path of popularity is not for me, it is self-respect, service to life, commitment to truth and justice that I am committed to. The hardship, ridicule and slander is all part of the path and ultimately can only be overcome by steadfastness and love, love of truth, love of justice, and ultimately love of peace.

Indeed I have taken the path less travelled by and without doubt this has made all the difference.  This path has lead me back to Gaza, and as potentially dangerous as this path is it doesn’t really matter, if my mortal life ends today I will leave behind an example of what blessings await those that “think” with their heart and more importantly, act in accord with their heart.

So I am back in Gaza, and I am back with the Samouni family.  What we have shared is what we shared before, love.  If the full truth be known about all that has been employed to tear or relationship apart it could be made into a movie.  Even a prominent human rights organisation has  been advising the Samouni family to divorce themselves of me because I was all that I was accused of being by the slanderers.  What makes this shocking is that this “human rights” organisation indicted me based on one source and one source alone, Facebook!

This organisation went even further to pressure the Samouni family to press charges against me.  When the family asked for one simple thing, evidence, this organisation refused.  Indeed this has been the judge of me for many, Facebook.  What does this say about some of the so-called “friends” of Palestine, that they are so incredibly stupid as to validate a known CIA/Zionist tool as a source to crucify one of Palestine’s most easily verified allies?

What I find myself saying more and more about the plight of the Palestinians is, “with friends like these, who needs enemies.”

Between the human rights organisation and the corrupt UK police and court system and Zionist agents online and importantly, the idiots who give credence to all of the above, it is safe to say that the only thing that has truly protected me is integrity.  And the only thing that will save the Samouni Project and the educational program it entails is steadfastness.  And even if these poor, poor human beings who wish otherwise were to succeed, I will die with my integrity as it is not subject to the whims of a human society that is, literally, collectively insane to the point that we remain on the brink of the human caused end of the world as we know it.

But make no mistake at all, those who have instigated baseless slander against me, those that have stolen resources for the Samouni Project, Aloha Palestine, Trade Not Aid, those that have been stupid enough to propagate lies without any critical thought, have not attacked me primarily, they have attacked Palestine and in particular, the Samouni family.  A massive amount of effort has been invested in destroying the trust between myself and the Samouni family, it has not worked.  I remain a loved member of this family and I love this family as if they were my blood.

In the next few days prepare to feel the joy I am feeling with me, as something beautiful is about to happen here in Gaza.