palestine


I first heard that Cirque du Soleil (CdS) were going to be in the region when I heard about their Beirut performance, I was excited and bit sad that I couldn’t attend. I then learned that they will be in Amman at the end of June and I got really excited until a couple of days later I also learned that they will be in Tel Aviv performing in August. My heart fell. In talking to various people here in Amman we seem to be dismayed at this decision by Cirque du Soleil. It seems that CdS are not respecting the call for Boycott and that is just unacceptable.

The Jordanian Popular Boycott Movement has sent a letter to Cirque du Soleil that calls on them to cancel their show in Tel Aviv. Below is the letter and a list of contacts in which you too can call on Cirque du Soleil. Email them, tweet to them, say something on their Facebook page.

Hopefully with our collective voices they will cancel their show in Tel Aviv, otherwise I know I will not be going to the circus :(!

Cirque du Soleil contacts:

Emails:

contact@cirquedusoleil.com

chantal.cote@cirquedusoleil.com

mediainfo@cirquedusoleil.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CirqueduSoleil

Twitter: @cirque (hastag being used is #CDSCancelIsrael)

The letter sent by the Jordanian Popular Boycott Movement:

Dear Cirque Du Soleil,

Date: May 2012

Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral”―Paulo Freire

As Jordanians and as conscientious citizens of the world, we are appalled to learn that Cirque du Soleil is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv this August. We are strong advocates of the arts and of cultural exchange, but the choice of Cirque du Soleil to entertain those who commit crimes of war and against humanity is shameful.

As often neglected by mainstream media, Zionist militias (such as the Haganah) started arriving in Palestine back in 1917. Through land-theft, ethnic cleansing, displacement of native people, terrorizing innocent civilians, and the distortion of natural terrain, what is referred to today as the “State of Israel” was created. At present, this so-called State grew to become more brutal, and continues to rob our land, massacre our people, appropriate our cultural heritage, and commit what is now known as the crime of apartheid. This is not a matter of opinion or perspective; it is an issue of historical events and documented facts.

Since the establishment of this colonial entity and until this day, our people have resorted to various forms of resistance, be it armed or non-violent, organized or popular. For us, to resist is to exist. Boycott strategies are but one form of peaceful resistance that we choose to implement. We believe that artists have a responsibility towards what is righteous, as art should not stand neutral and indifferent towards injustice; this is why more than 500 artists in Montreal alone have decided to boycott. We ask you to join them.

Under what you call the Global Citizenship section of your website, you state that “Ever since Cirque du Soleil had the resources to pursue its dreams and perform around the world, it chose to become involved in communities… Concerned with the future, Cirque du Soleil turned its attention and resources to global issues… Cirque du Soleil wants above all to take its place in society as a good citizen, with all the duties and responsibilities that go with citizenship”.

A “good citizen” does not side with those who commit genocides. Your participation there will help them in promoting themselves as peace lovers; this so-called State has mastered the game of “criminal-record laundry” using the arts and culture, and you will be contributing to that.

We urge you as humans and as artists to take a stand against entertaining those who have and continue to commit various forms of atrocities. This is not a political position that we are asking you to take, but one of justice and human dignity. Take the stand that so many freedom fighters have taken before, cancel your show in Tel Aviv.

Should Cirque du Soleil decide to boycott, we will be your strongest promoters in Jordan and the region, but if you choose to go ahead as planned, then we will be obliged to launch a boycott campaign against the event in Jordan, and we will urge other boycott movements around the world to do the same.

Finally, and despite your decision, we ask that you share this letter amongst members and artists in your group, for it is their right to be aware of what they are taking part in.

Sincerely,

The Jordanian Popular Boycott Movement

I started the year in Palestine. It felt so good to be there. I was in a place so far removed and isolated from most of my other life outside of the occupation. I feel privileged to be able to visit, to go when I can and when I want. A privilege my mother passed on to me and my brothers. I am able to visit because my mother made sure to take me to Tulkarem and register me in her permit. The Lam Shamel system of exit and entry permits into the Occupied Territories called the West Bank. A system of papers, and cards and stamps from Israel and Jordan that allows some of us Palestinians the right to visit and leave through the King Hussein Bridge (aka Allenby). We are allowed this privilege because we are Palestinian Jordanians. That part of Palestine was under Jordanian Mandate from 1948-1967, a time when the Palestinians of those territories were considered Jordanian citizens, and still are depending on where you were in 1988, but that is another story for another time.

 

Throughout the years the crossing had gotten harder and easier. My earliest memories were of strip searches and over turned bags with Israeli soliders running every article of clothing through their gloved hands. Our shoes in a box filled with other peoples shoes and you had to rummage through them to find yours; Oh what a horribly stinky pile of shoes it was, especially in the summer. And this was after you and your family were crammed in to a cubicle behind a screen, striped down to our underwear for the Israeli soldier girl (they were and still are so young) to come pat us down. These pat downs then progressed to being wanded down, still in our underwear. Now we walk through that security frame that we know so well and only when it beeps do we get the pat down. But we have no choice in all of this. Our bodies, our identities, our belongings all subject to the sadistic security practices of an occupying force afraid for its security. And it is these memories of humiliation, the excessively long and detailed searches to the skin, the heat of the Jordan Valley in the middle of the day, the stench, the lines, these are the memories that stay with you as you grow up despite the constant changing and even easing of the procedures. It is those memories that has served Israel so well today as a whole generation of us has grown up and taken the decision, the only decision, the only choice we have and decided to stay out.

 

My brothers and cousins are some of those that have made that decision. They are all grown up and no longer need to be dragged by their mothers and fathers to visit the family in Tulkarem. Especially with the passing of my grandparents, the ties that bind us get weaker and weaker. The older generation feel less of a need to visit their home town and only go when there is paperwork to be signed. Even then, one of my uncles who lives in Palestine may bring it up with him and finish the paperwork in Amman. So why would my brothers and cousins go? Why would they cross the Jordan when all they can remember is the unreasonably early start, the unbearable heat, the stench of pressed sweaty bodies packed in to a small area, and the humiliation and disrespect of the Israelis. With that memory and that trauma the crossing becomes such a stumbling block for the Palestinians and such a success for the Israelis.

 

The Israelis have succeeded in making us the second generation of permit holding Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (West Bankers) in diaspora “choose” to disenfranchise ourselves even further by making the decision not to cross the Jordan, not to renew permits, and for some even give up the right to visit.

 

It angers me so much to think that they are willfully giving up their papers or ignoring them and jeopardizing their rights and their children’s rights to Palestine. That they very easily disregard the sacrifice, the struggle, the humiliation and oppression our parents went through to make sure we would have our rightful place in Palestine. That they have given up.

 

Every time I visit Palestine I ask my uncles “who of my cousins has come to visit?” Their responses are discouraging and disheartening. The only ones that visit are those that come for paperwork and they are few and far between. It feels to me that my family members in Tulkarem are forgotten they are names with faces frozen in time 10-15 years ago. It feels that with the passing of time they are being dropped from their daily consciousness, just like they are dropping Palestine and the reality of Palestine, making it a faded memory.

 

I don’t think my cousins read my blog, but in case they do or someone in a similar situation is reading it, I urge you, I implore you to visit, and to continue to do so, go learn about Palestine. Go to other towns and villages. See what is happening, talk about what is happening, connect, learn, understand and don’t just be a number counted out in statistics. Don’t let them win this way. 

In two days time I cross the Jordan into occupied Palestine. I will go there to bring in a new year. I find it so strange to say I am celebrating in Beir Zeit. It sounds so wrong, so problematic. I am going to my home, my land, my people and yet I feel such guilt at wanting to spend my new year there. I feel guilty about being in my country. I feel guilty for wanting to be with my family and friends, my people. I feel guilty for wanting to celebrate and laugh and be joyful as there are guns and tanks and a bloody apartheid wall. I feel guilty with so many people held in prisons, so many people separated from their families so many people suffering under occupation. It is just so wrong.

 

 

Yet, another part of me screams something entirely different. It screams of entitlement. I should not have to feel guilt nor should I apologize for being home, for wanting joy in my land nor should I apologize for celebrating where I justly should and could. The occupation may control and restrict my movement. The occupier may tell me I am “illegal” in my own country if I don’t have the right permit. The occupation may build a wall that separates me from my family and friends on its other side behind concrete, electric fences and check points. The occupation may imprison my cousins and uncles, torture and beat them. But the occupation will not quell my spirit. It will not so disenfranchise me that I have no joy or life. I resist by crossing the Jordan to what is rightfully mine. I resist by walking in my family olive grove. I resist by meeting my friends and sharing a moment of joy with them. I resist by living. And for that I will not apologize, and I will cross the river and I will go to occupied Palestine and celebrate there because I can and I will and the occupier (for now) can not stop me.

 


I started to write this on my way home after a day that started way too early for the weekend, but if truth be told it is like any day that is a day for going to the Palestinian border. It started with the scramble to find the bus that will take us there. We had to reserve days before, yet we were told all the buses were full. We went anyway, and secured the last seats on one of the buses organized by AUB’s Civic Welfare League.  We headed off at 7:15 a.m. to Maroun al Ras, but first a stop in Shatila. We needed to drop off the extras on our bus. Instead we found more people and no bus. “All 2500 Lebanese buses have been commissioned and about 1000 more from Syria,” our bus driver told us. “They are expecting 150,000 thousand people,” he said. We all pitched in to hire another bus, where from I have no idea, but everyone was going to go. We pulled away and started off, and for the next three hours we kept seeing crowds. Some were on the street waiting for their buses, others in bus, after bus, after bus.  Slowly, excitement replaced the morning grumpiness. And with every kilometer we got closer we saw more and more people, and more and more buses.

 driving south

Just before we got to Sour, we were stopped. Not to be asked for our IDs or to be searched. It was not a military checkpoint, but rather the organizers. They were counting and logging. Bus number? From? How many passengers? The enormity of the organization slowly sinking in with every bus on the road, and every florescent vested organizer we saw. Once we passed Sour, and at every possible turn there were organizers with walkie talkies, and they waved us on in the right direction. At every three or four kilometers there were signs saying “To Palestine, X Kilometers.” With every sign we saw we became more jubilant “TO PALESTINE.”  Our bus driver, Zafer, was a darling. He would pick up the mic and point out towns and villages, he spoke of Hezbollah resistance and fighting the Zionist enemy, he gave us snippets of his wisdom, and he told us about the festival we were going to attend, as this was the fourth year it is being held. He made the trip that much more.

 

6 KM to Palestine

6 KM to Palestine

5 KM to Palestine

5 KM to Palestine

At the four kilometer point we were given caps and flags. At the three kilometer point we disembarked, we had to walk the rest of the way. And so we strolled, with hundreds of others down the path, past the two kilometer marker, and then we saw it. We saw occupied Palestine with its settlements, farm lands, and the electronic fence that marks much of the boundaries and walls the Israelis put up. There it was the valley below in all its spring glory. Below we saw people near a dirt road, we weren’t sure we thought they were Palestinians of 48. We later found out that they were people trying to get to the fence, still on Lebanese soil.

The caps

The caps

Walking to the border   
Walking to the border

Walking to the border

We continue to walk, past food vendors and organizers who made sure we didn’t stray off the path. We passed a gateway that read “The Iranian Garden” where people’s bags were being checked. And we walked in to see a massive sign in Hebrew and Arabic saying something along the lines of we shall return.  There was a festival area segregated by gender, and we walked into the Women’s one. There we tried to find a way down to the slope, we wanted to sit on the grass and just gaze at Palestine. Instead, we found no way down and were subjected to the ranting of whoever was speaking on the mic. Soon we heard gun shots, not one, or two, but a whole array of bullets.  We looked at each other and decided to take higher ground. But it felt like slow motion. I was amazed at what I saw. The women who were sitting down in the front rows stood up as if in unison and waved the Palestinian flags they were holding in defiance. Others started to gather their children who were crying in fear, wanting to get them to higher ground. It was sad seeing how quickly the children, traumatized by years of violence, started crying immediately and just wanted to go home. Ironically, home was the one place they couldn’t go, not in that moment.  And so we walked up to what seemed like a safer distance, we stopped to catch our breath and try to understand what just happened. We were told this was Lebanese army fire trying to keep back people who wanted to go to the fence, and we should not be scared. It didn’t make sense. In such an environment, in such a location, with so many people, why would you fire shots? Even if they were in the air?

people at Maroun Al Ras

people at Maroun Al Ras

The festival area and Palestine beyond

The festival area and Palestine beyond

We had made an agreement amongst us, the small group of three, that we would a- stick together, b- respect, and not question anyone’s decision to leave, or move at any time. And so we decided to go find a grassy spot to sit on, and from there watch and see what was happening in the valley below, but from a location farther away. And so we continued to move at a very slow pace back up the path. The atmosphere was slowly going back to that of a festive crowd at a picnic. People milling about, eating, walking, watching, smoking. We stopped for a bite to eat as it was nearly 2:00 p.m. and we hadn’t really had breakfast. But we realized the sound of sirens kept getting louder, and more frequent. We kept trying our phones, but the signal was weak, and kept coming in and out. Finally, someone on the phone told us the news. The shooting was not friendly fire anymore, and there were casualties, and deaths already. The Israelis had opened fire on the unarmed protesters at the fence. We kept trying to get more information from around us, from the internet, from others with access to TVs and radios. It was unclear how many were dead, and how many were injured. Numbers ranged from 3 to 50! We walked out and up, we were trying to get a glimpse of what was happening, and find out more information. We kept being pushed aside by soldiers running ahead, clearing a path on the crowded road, to make way for more ambulances coming out of the site. So many ambulances. They were on both roads the one we were on, and the dirt road below that we saw earlier. We were able to see the crowd from afar and the people running back and forth. We saw the Lebanese army mobilize in the valley below us, but when we saw the army trucks drive past us to mobilize on the top of the hill, that’s when decided it is time to leave. There was nothing we can do, except move.  Slowly, we made our way to the bus. All the while trying to call friends who we knew were there but couldn’t find, the phones were still not fully functioning, and everyone was desperate for a connection.  It took us over an hour to find our bus.Wwe walked through the parking lots, and then down the winding line of buses parked on the side. We were lucky it just three quarter ways  down the hill, others still had a long way to go.  We had thought if we found it, and found out when it would leave, we could walk back and see what was happening. But with an hour or so each way, and no phones, emotionally and physically tired, we stayed, and slowly the stories started to come in. People with pictures, film and experiences started to tell us of the horror that was taking place as we stood. The worst of which was one person from the AUB group, a student, had been shot in the back. It was the worst because that story just didn’t end with a retelling, or hearing the number of deaths and causalities. But because his friend who was with him needed to found and told, we were called and asked if any of us have the blood type (O-), as he was in desperate need. We had to drop of his friend who’s phone had died and was franticly trying to find more information, contact the dean, contact the friends, contact anyone who could contact his mother.  It still doesn’t end, as today I have heard he has been airlifted into AUH, in critical condition. He had been shot with a dum dum bullet that ripped through him. He has already lost a spleen, a kidney and parts of the bullet are lodged in his spine.

There are so many details that I can’t begin to piece together. The landmines that were still down there, the boy who lost a leg being pulled away from the fence as the shooting started, the young man who was walking amongst us his clothes completely soaked in blood. The fear and anxiety in some and the matter-of-factness of others. All of us knew the monster that is the Israeli soldier.

My story is not an exceptional one as you may have read and heard much more from the people who were at the fence. You may have read the news (I haven’t. I want to try and make sense of what I saw and heard already). This violence is nothing new, it just a fact. Israelis continue to use excessive force when they see a stone being lobbied against them. The use excessive force when a child stands in their way. They use excessive force when they see a Palestinian Flag. They try to erase us. They tried at Maroun Al Ras, and they couldn’t. They tried in the Golan and they couldn’t. They tried in Al Karama, Amman, and  Cairo, and they couldn’t. They tried in Qalandia, Gaza, and all our Palestinian cities and towns, and they just can’t. May 15, Nakba day is the day we will all remember. No matter how many people they kill, No matter how many demonstrations they stop, no matter how many homes they destroy. No matter. Palestine is my homeland.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE and ACTION ALERT

30 June 2009

ISRAEL ATTACKS JUSTICE BOAT; KIDNAPS HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS; CONFISCATES MEDICINE, TOYS AND OLIVE TREES

(http://www.paltelegraph.com/palestine/gaza-strip/1228-israel-attacks-peace-actvists-and-humantarians-on-board-of-justice-boat-near-gaza)

For more information contact (in Cyprus):
Greta Berlin (English)
tel: +357 99 081 767 / friends@freegaza.org

Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish):
tel: +357 99 077 820 / sahara78@hotmail.co.uk
http://www.FreeGaza.org

and in England:

Hilary Smith
tel: +447818040982

[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] – Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

There are six British citizens on board the boat, including the captain, Dennis Healey.

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of “Cast Lead”. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone” said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: “No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children’s toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters.”

Arraf continued, “Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release.”

###

WHAT YOU CAN DO!

CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights workers and help in securing their immediate release!

Red Cross Israel
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 0370
tel_aviv.tel@icrc.org

Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 8280

Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009

###

Kidnapped Passengers from the Spirit of Humanity include:

Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth voyage to Gaza.

Alex Harrison, UK
Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Fathi Jaouadi, UK
Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and founder of the Rice & Peas film production company. His documentaries focus on international struggles for social justice.

Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association of Bahrain.

Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.

Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.

Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.

Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief worker and community activist from Bahrain.
Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist.

Huwaida Arraf, US
Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a community activist.

Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate aboard the Spirit of Humanity.

Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist.

Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.
Cynthia McKinney, US
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson and presidential candidate.

Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

Adam Shapiro, US
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist.

Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

Growing up I didn’t realize that what my mother made us do nearly every summer was going to be monumental to me later in life. We hated being dragged over the bridge, being humiliated, taken away from our creature comforts at home to go to see our grandparents in Palestine. I don’t think I realized then that my relationship with MY Palestine was starting and being formed.

 

But my relationship with Palestine was always defined by my mother’s, aunts’ and uncles’ stories of Palestine and their relationships with the places and the people. It was their relationships, views, ideas, prejudices, like and hates that I took on to be mine.

 

But 1998, when I was 21, I finally crossed into that beautiful land alone. I visited my grandmother, I visited my uncles and aunts, I visited the land, the cities, and the trees. I even went to Jerusalem for the first time. I started to see Palestine through my eyes and not anyone else’s. I started to form my own relationship with Palestine. But I may have been seeing it through my eyes I was still influenced by the anxieties and fears and thoughts of others.

 

In 2000 I went again, a friend of mine wanted to go and another friend was visiting her family there and so I decided to accompany one and meet the other there. It was a different experience for this time my grandmother had passed and it wasn’t to her home that I went and that too started to shape my relationship with Palestine and my family that lives there differently. I traipsed around the Palestine then with both my friends and was learning to navigate around the cities and was proud to show it off despite not knowing the lay of the land. I left just four days before Sharon entered into the Haram in Jerusalem and the second Intifada started.

 

With the violence escalating and oppression at its height, my solitary trips ended. Until last spring, a friend of mine was organizing an exchange workshop that was to take place in Ramallah for 10 days, I jumped on the idea despite being apprehensive for I had not crossed over in eight years and I had no idea what to expect. In eight years Palestine was an image on the TV screen, ink on paper, an idea, a slogan, a statistic. We very easily forget that it is a hop skip and jump away. We easily forget our family and people and their everyday struggle. We simply live in oblivion.  I especially was in oblivion for up until then Palestine was where we went to renew our papers and visit our grandparents. Israel was embodied by the TV my mother shouted or cried at when something was terribly wrong. We were never very political.

 

But last spring that all changed, I spent 10 days in Palestine. I went again in June and once again in December. I am reclaiming my relationship with Palestine and everything Palestinian. I bring back pictures and stories for those that can not go home or visit Palestine. But more importantly I am building my relationship slowly and clearly with My Palestine. The Palestine of olive groves and family gatherings; of uncles who love to laugh and cousins who struggle to live their youth; of cities and villages torn and divide by walls of cement and electricity. My Palestine where the fruit is that much sweeter, and the air that much purer. My Palestine, on my terms, with my impressions, my connections, my expressions.

 

When the assault on Gaza was taking place something clicked. It wasn’t expected, it wasn’t planned for, and it just happened. It happened here, it happened there, it happened just about everywhere. People were outraged, as they always are, but this outrage manifested itself differently. People did not just sit at home and lament the latest Israeli tantrum. People poured out into the streets and took that outrage into action.

There were demonstrations, there were donation drives, there were organized activities, the blogosphere went crazy. People mobilized themselves and others in a way and with such determination that I had never seen before. But now what?

The energy that was generated was used in very productive and proactive ways at the time but now three weeks after Israel “withdrew” that energy is nowhere to be seen. Activism is not a way of life here. We are not volunteers by nature. Yet this experience has proved we have what it takes to make a difference in each other’s lives and in the lives of those we don’t know. So why cant we keep up the momentum? Why do we only have to react and respond to emergencies? Can we not build this kind of community today and sustain it?

I have a friend who made a comment that sticks with me and is very relevant “why do we have to volunteer for death, cant we work for life?”

This is being circulated around the web and came into my inbox. We need to be vocal we need to be visible we need to use logical rhetoric. I am reposting their email that calls all of us to action. View their work so far and see how you can help!

 

Thanks.

S.

 

Dear friends,


We are a group of Arab women from Jordan who have come together in
response to the vicious attacks by Israel on Gaza. Our aim is to spread awareness across the globe on the atrocities and encourage all responsible citizens to act in the name of humanity. Help us give voice to those who have been silenced by doing the following: 

 1. Visit our YouTube links and rate us positively!

We need your views so we can become the first Arab youtube clip to get onto the most viewed page
The YouTube clips address the following:
On the Humanitarian Situation

On Israel’s Violations of Humanitarian Law
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxZoiYvNuqw&NR=1

On the Media Spin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-8GqHL2J-I&feature=related

Our Call to Action
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAonLJHEuak

 

2. Forward this message to all your friends and encourage them to do the same! Make sure everyone you know watches these videos!

 3. Join our Facebook group and share our videos with your friends!

4.  Add our links on your website and/or blogs.

5.  View our Call to Action episode on You Tube on the 30th of January 2009 so that we may reach our goal of becoming the most viewed clip on YouTube so as to give the crisis in Gaza the exposure it desperately needs.

 

We need your support! Please help us! For more information, please
email at
voicesforpalestine@gmail.com

In solidarity,
Voices for Palestine
www.voicesforpalestine.com

 

The idea has caught on and The Palestinian Cultural Center (PCC), a centre that works to raise funds and send to Palestine, is having a souq. The souq is similar in style to the AID Gaza Souq that ran a couple of weekends ago (or was it last weekend?). The will be selling various items from food to table cloths, runners, cushions, ornaments, accessories… etc. They will also sell items donated by you the public in a garage sale.

 

So if you have anything around the house you don’t need, don’t want, or can spare and it is in good condition then donate to them. All donations and proceeds will go to Aiding Gaza in its huge reconstruction efforts.

 

When: February 3rd but please send your donations before then.

Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Where: The PCC in Rabieh

Contact info: 06 551 47 51

 

The struggle is not over and emergency relief is only part of the battle. Help Gaza today donate your items and go shop at the souq. Make a difference in someone else’s life!

This video was forwarded to me and though we think of Egypt right now as complacent in it stand against what is happening in Gaza, this video shows Egyptian actors coming together to rally the Egyptian street against complacency.

 

Watch till the end. http://vimeo.com/2885082

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