I Feel Proud to be Supporting Anera

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I grew up in the country, outside of New York City. It was the sort of place where there were a lot more cows than people. My older sister even went to a one-room schoolhouse. 

It was kind of an isolated childhood but I learned a lot about how to live in the woods. I went through the public school system and then to Yale for my BA. I graduated in 1966 with a degree in history. 

It was during my college studies that I first learned about the unjust arrangements that the British government instituted in the Middle East and how that impacted the Palestinians. The plight of people forced to live in refugee camps really touched me. It was an injustice that had a lasting impact on me. So I’ve felt connected to the Palestinian issue for a long time.

And it so happened that my older sister went to university with one of Edward Said’s sisters, and spent some time with his family, in Lebanon and elsewhere. I followed Said’s writings over the years. It wasn’t my field but to the degree I could follow it I was very moved by his book “Orientalism.” It conveys how biases can get institutionalized in profound ways, even among those who thought they were celebrating eastern culture. I suspect the Black Lives Matter movement has a similar story in some ways.

I’ve never been to the region, although I’d like to go. There was a great Lebanese restaurant in New York I used to go to and I’d hear stories about how beautiful Lebanon is from my sister.

I lived in New York for many years and then moved to Maine six years ago, a place I’ve always loved.

I’ve been more actively engaged on the Palestinian issue for the last 15 years. I was particularly horrified when Israel invaded Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict.

To be honest, I can’t remember how I first found Anera but it felt like a great match for me. I was drawn to Anera by its humanitarian mission. I liked what they were doing and their message. (I was also happy to find that they didn’t overwhelm my inbox and mailbox with constant fundraising appeals!) I started giving to Anera three to four times a year for their different campaigns. 

When (former employee) Maha Akkeh reached out from Anera I was touched because no other organization had actually contacted me one-on-one. It touched my heart in a special way. I liked reading about Anera’s work in the materials she sent me. I have a big vegetable garden so I especially enjoy following the agricultural support Anera provides in Gaza and the West Bank. Maha had a number of conversations with me and later came and visited me at home and saw my garden. That kind of outreach really means something.

I became a monthly donor. I feel proud to be supporting Anera. 

Art Baur in his vegetable garden
Art Baur in his vegetable garden

I eventually went on to add Anera to my estate plan, becoming a member of the Legacy Society. I was the one who reached out in response to getting a mailer about it. Fortunately, it was quite easy to do. I needed to redo our will anyway and I decided to set up a trust. The estate lawyers asked if there were any legacies I wanted to support and from there it was very straightforward. I give to a dozen or more organizations but Anera is the only organization that I’ve actually put in my will.

Messaging in this country is blind to the reality of the situation there. I hear on the news about olive trees being destroyed or walls being built to keep Palestinians from coming back to their homes and I want to do something. This country doesn’t appreciate enough the needs in Palestine. I wanted to do something more than the usual to say that we don’t all see the situation this way.


Peace of mind in 20 minutes

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