On October 3rd, 2023, the Irish activist Mike Bowman ended his 7-month journey and arrived in the occupied city of Jericho after walking more than 2,700 kilometres on foot from Europe.
The sixty-five-year-old Irish activist, who set off to Palestine from Calais, took the initiative to reach Palestine on foot, making the best out of his long journey to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinian refugees and human rights violations committed by the Israeli apartheid regime in the Palestinian-occupied territories.
In a self-funded backpacking walk, Mike was inspired by Justin Butcher’s book, “Walking to Jerusalem: Blisters, Hope and Other Facts on the Ground”, which is the account of the 2017 walk from Canterbury to Jerusalem, by a group from the Amos Trust to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, a particularly perfidious act of British imperialism which laid the basis for over a century of displacement for the Palestinian people.
Mike believed that walks with political objectives stand as a novel form of activism in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and a way that could resonate with people not already committed to the Palestinian cause.
During his journey along, Mick had the opportunity to engage in many conversations about the large-scale injustice and brutal atrocities faced by the Palestinians under the apartheid regime, pledging to draw attention to the occupation of Palestine and inspire more people to campaign for change.
When he reached Bologna in Northern Italy, Mike witnessed an immense outrage by Italians at the Israeli occupation forces and armed settlers’ rampages in several Palestinian towns and villages.
Mike pointed out that the Israeli war crimes in Jenin provoked him to determine more than ever to use his walk in favour of spreading awareness about how Israeli forces killed 12 Palestinians, including 4 children, wounded 120 others, and destroyed nearly 80% of Jenin’s homes and infrastructure.
This was what pushed him to sustain nasty blisters, a heatwave and feral dogs which made his walk very challenging at times.
Mick Bowman, who kicked off with his journey on April 16th, 2023, crossed seven countries to finally reach Palestine. From France, Switzerland and Italy to Albania, then he walked through Greece, Turkey and Jordan to end the walking journey in the West Bank in occupied Palestine.
“The route I’ve chosen to follow, which is an echo of the walk many refugees have taken, is an act of solidarity with people fleeing persecution and conflict,” Mike concluded.