Remembering……

And so it continues and the world watches on.

Our lily-livered politicians tut-tutting about what Israel is doing, but not doing a damn thing about it.

Obama said that it HAS to stop, whilst writing a cheque for another few million dollars worth of weapons to be sent to Israel.

The people of the world are rising up to be counted and standing there saying this is wrong. In the 4 weeks we have been demonstrating, I have seen new faces come and join our protests and people are now speaking out against Israel.

I’m not going to go on about what is happening there, you can all see for yourselves on the news.

I just wanted to share with you about our last protest. Normally we stand, wave placards and shout…..very loudly, but Friday we wanted to do something a little different and remember those who had lost their lives. We asked if people would like to write down a name of someone who had been killed and hold it whilst we took a photograph. We also read out all the names of the children who had been killed…..all of those whose lives had been cruely snatched away from them.

Here is Coventry’s memorial to them all.

 

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And so it continues………

I really hoped that by now the bombing would have stopped.

I really hoped by now there would be no more innocent people killed in very one-sided attacks.

I really hoped by now that the people of Gaza could start rebuilding their homes and lives again, but that seems a very distant dream at the moment from where I am sitting.

Almost 1000 Palestinians have been killed in this 3 week assault so far. Many of these had been buried under bombed out buildings and it was only with the short cease-fire that families could go and find their missing loved ones and give them a decent and holy burial. Many of these sadly have been children.

Schools and hospitals have been targetted. Children playing football on the beach have been bombed. Where is safe? No-where!

The Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow has just returned back to the UK from Gaza. Here he speaks from the heart about his experiences.

 

One can not fail to be moved by that report. Nor this blog post he made when leaving Gaza.

http://blogs.channel4.com/snowblog/bring-israelis-palestinians/24316

All over the world there are demonstrations where people have stood loud and proud against the attacks from Israel. Again we had another in Coventry, and again we gathered a crowd of about 300 people, but this week there were different faces, different voices. This week there were people who had never been to a demonstration before, but felt they had to do something out of what they had seen on the television.

This week, we decided to bring the voices from Gaza to Coventry. A couple of us had trawled Social media sites, finding tweets and Facebook statuses that we could read out. We picked members of the crowd to read them, children reading the children’s voices, elderly reading the elderly. Here are a selection….

Bloggers for Palestine- Their F16’S, drones and guns can kill our bodies, but they never kill our voice. One day our voice will reach to the sun.

Mona 31- We are living in constant fear. We have been bombed for 4 days now. I can’t as a mother protect my child and I can’t even tell him things are fine. My child is sleepless. Our house keeps shaking whenever a bomb is dropped by the Israelis. International community has to stop Israel. They can’t kill us in such a way where the world is watching and turning a blind eye.

Nadeen 12- On the third night I woke up to the sound of a huge bomb. I got out of bed afraid that the glass of the window would fall on me, but my parents, who came quickly, they calmed me down and told me to stay strong as God is always with us. My mum is the one who fears the sound of bombs the most. Zeina my sister or I come second, and in last places comes dad. Dad is really strong. He doesn’t fear things like mom does and he always makes sure that everything is ok. I got this from him. I really thank God for everything. I thank him for my home, family and life and most of all that I’m from Palestine, the Holy Land, the land of prophets, i’m really proud and I really love my life. I don’t want to die.

Youssef 9- I am 9 years old and I have witnessed 3 wars like this. Our rocket is nothing compared to the Israeli one. Israeli rockets hit all of Gaza. Everyone can hear the bombs. We all wake up terrified. But ours don’t cause such a thing. I ask other countries to help make Palestine free. Stop the war, after that God will help us.

Maher 19- I am leaving Al Shifa hospital now. I am not able to see these scenes of murdered people any more. I am not able to hear grown men and women crying and screaming. They just want justice. Where is it?

Malaka- I hope this will not be our last conversation, the situation is burning.

My father-“Looking forward to surviving. If we don’t tell the whole world we were not militant. We have never been used as human shields. We were at home aspiring life and peace.

My family had to walk over the corpses of casualties. I can’t imagine my younger siblings’ feelings with the image of blood indoctinated in their minds forever. Will they even believe in fake peace negotiations that bring them to this state of nonsence?

Sadly in 2012, I did a post about children’s art from Gaza. At that time there was yet another assault upon the people there and bombs rained down on them again. I would like to share with you the link to that page again….this is what the children of Gaza paint and draw. This is what they have in their lives. By the age of 7 they have lived through 3 of these major attacks (and lots of other ones that never make our media). The average age in Gaza is 17…..what hope do they have?

https://shakingtheshadowsfromtheolivetrees.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/so-what-do-the-children-living-in-gaza-paint-about/

 

 

 

 

 

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Bloodied shades of grey.

Unless you have been living on Planet Zog (and at this moment in time, I really wish I was) you will have heard about the invasion into Gaza, which started off with airstrikes, but now has a ground invasion too. I am not going to write about the massacre that happened there last night, I am not going to post any pictures of the dead scattered about the street or the admissions into hospitals, these can be freely found on social media sites and are horrific. Something nobody should have to endure or see. But they are out there, and thank goodness for Social Media, because it is giving the Palestinians a voice. Those Gazan’s who can are sending out messages and are in contact with us here in our comfortable little worlds, we can offer little comfort to them whilst bombs are dropping liberally from the sky and ground troops are spraying bullets and god knows what into the air. But what we do and can offer them is the knowledge that they aren’t a forgotten people, and that other humans out there are caring about them and can spread their message to the world, even though our governments will try to ignore us completely.

Yesterday in London over 100,000 people took to the streets to call for an end to the barbaric occupation and treatment of the Palestinian people. Many in Gaza are refugees, originally displaced from their homes in the Nakba in 1948. These 100,000 people marched from Downing Street, through London to finish outside the Israeli embassy, which of course you can not get near to as it is through a gated street, patrolled by armed guards. I do wonder if any other embassies along that street, need that kind of protection?

I helped to organise a coach from Coventry to go down to the capital and on out full 61 seater coach were people from all walks of life from pensioners to small children, people who have been involved on all kinds of demos over the years, to those who have been outraged by what is happening out there and decided to join this one as their first. Whatever our background we all came together for the greater good and 100,000 people strode forth with the same purpose to show our government they do not agree with their stance on the issue of Israel/Palestine. The chants ranged from “David Cameron-Shame on you” to “BBC shame on you” to “Free, free Palestine” and many many more. There were thousands of placards and whistles and people in fine voice and on one of the hottest days of the year, we showed our solidarity with the Palestinian people as a collective.

protest

Spirits were high and I had nothing but admiration for all the Muslims there who were fasting. It was hot, humid and exhausting. We could nibble on food and drink water, but they had nothing. Such commitment!

protest2

There was a police presence, but not a high one and at the end of the day, not one person from the demo was arrested. To me this is what it is all about, one collective for peace!

free pal

However, news I had from a friend in Tel Aviv this moring was not so good. She was part of a peaceful protest there last night, which was infiltrated by people who support the far right and they attacked the anti-war protesters. Police apparently seemed unmoved by this, as if they expected it. My friend also thinks this may have been organised to stop any further anti-war demonstrations. For now it had worked as peaceful demonstrations that had been organised by and for women in Haifa (where they also saw violence erupt at their peace demo) and in Rosh Pina have had to be cancelled for their own safety as there is a lack of police protection.

I have asked for permission to post what she has written and so I am copying her words (English is not her first language, and this was written in haste, I have left in the typos)

several hundreds of us held a demo, only in tel aviv as a united front. surrounded by perhaps 1500 ultra rightwing fascists. like last week, when we started to disperse, the rightwing attacked only with far more violence, the police just left. huge blocks were thrown at the the anto war protesters. people were wounded. only after time the police intervened. the attack had been planned and it feels as if -which is the reason i’m posting privately- the police or some of them were part of this planning. i’m not sure,  yet there is also another part to it. the amazing ****** ******* (I have removed the lady’s name forher protection) went afterwards much afterwards to talk to some ofthe rightwingers who were still haning around. no placard, no tshirt just an elderly lady. she talked and what she wrote needs to be thaught of: individually what was most clear is that many of the rigth wind are mizrahi poor, where as the anti war protesters are well educated, not necessarily not poor (omst of us are, but considered “white”|. the break line in isareli society runs very very very deep.

i need to think about this in order to write publicly, but i just wanted to share with you. people on the left receive death threats on their private phones, and by mail. it is becoming scary. no way i want to compare it to what is happening in Gaza, but i think israeli sceity is doomed and falling apart quickly . it will be very violent.perhaps some in the world will be very happy, but i am a person of peace and loving this place in spite of all, it is my home- i am scared, because there will be much suffering. nothing justifies what is happening in Gaza. al of the future looks very bleak. also in Haifa the demo was more viol;ent than ever,the anti war demo, that is, attacked by ultra right wing thugs and no police protection…. , details are slowly coming in.”

I have to say this message this morning shocked me to the core. Ordinary Israelis are completely against this ‘war’ (I use the term war very loosely, as Palestine had no army, no airforce and no navy to defend itself with) I do not whatsoever condone the use of rockets by Hamas or whatever factions that have come out of Hamas, but you back someone into a corner so far, all they can do is surrender, or try to fight their way out.

I feel for all the innocents in this that are being used as a pawn for a bigger game. For all the soldiers brainwashed into thinking that ALL Palestinians are terrorists (like the 4 children playing on the beach last week that were gunned down by a Navy ship and killed) for the innocent people living in a hell hole, with poor sanitiation, lack of fresh drinking water and dodging bombs and bullets and for the innocent Israelis who like near the borders with no bomb shelters, and whose air raid sirens do not work well. None of them have been killed yet by the falling shrapnel that is caused by the great’ Iron Dome’ that intercepts the home made missiles.

This is not an ‘Israel Bad/Palestine Good, issue ans nothing is that black and white…but there are so many shades of grey here, getting greyer and greyer, with unfortunately lots of blood running through.

 

 
 

 

 

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Times repeated

This poem, I wrote a couple of years ago, and I have posted before in the past.

With the recent ‘goings-on’ in Palestine by the IDF…..I feel I need to post it again…..

 

Today my head is heavy with a thousand unshed tears

Today my heart is aching with the bloodshed and their fears

Today my mind is busy, with ifs and wondering why?

Today my soul feels trapped with all those souls who have died

I stare here from my window at my patch of concrete ground

I think of the life I choose to live and I have the life I’ve found

I am unchained, unbound by convention

I have freedoms and rights to self expression

I am lucky, I am free. I am feeling melancholy

For the rights of a people who have no voice

And for those who hear not as is their choice

A people the world will largely ignore

As the world has become Israel’s whore

I feel for those who have lost their rights

Not being fed by the hand that bites

Locked in a world filled with aid

When all they want to do is trade

Break down the walls, the barriers, the wire

Let’s stop thinking ‘the other’ is a liar

Let us reach out our hands to hold

Let’s stop thinking we have all been told

Let’s think for one of our fellow man

And live together, yes we can

No matter what religion, colour or creed

Let’s not allow more hatred to breed.

Can we be the ones to change the world?

Can we be the ones to make regime unfurl?

Can our voice join up and unite

And strengthen up in a peaceful fight

A beautiful choir we would be, changing the course of history

For those who say “who cares? This doesn’t affect me”

Please look into these eyes that no longer see

This heart that no longer beats

That hope they no longer seek

Then look at your own and see how you feel

And tell me then, that this is no big deal.

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Events in Coventry in June.

I have now become an active member of the Coventry Friends of Palestine group, where we organize events to highlight what is happening in Palestine. We have two quite big events coming up that I thought I would mention here for anyone who is local and would like to attend.

The first is on the 19th June. We have the director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin coming to Coventry University to give a talk and hopefully secure a booking in a local theatre for the Freedom Theatre to come and perform here next year.

http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/

The director is touring the country with various venues booked for the talks.

THE FREEDOM THEATRE PALESTINE

CREATION UNDER OCCUPATION

12rd – 23rd June

This June Nabil Al-Raee Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre Palestine will tour Britain accompanied by Zoe Lafferty Associate Director screening shorts films, documentaries and discussing cultural resistance.

The Freedom Theatre was built in the heart of the Palestinian resistance in Jenin Refugee Camp in 2006. The aim was to create a political and artistic movement of theatre and filmmakers who could fight the Israeli Occupation through art and use cultural resistance as a tool to fight oppression.

PROGRAM OF EVENTS:

NOTTINGHAM
TIME: 7pm
DATE: 12th June
VENUE: Cappuchaino Cafe 44 Carrington Street Nottingham NG1 7FG

GLASGOW
TIME: 6pm
DATE: 13th June
VENUE: Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3JD

BELFAST
TIME: tbc
DATE: 14th June
VENUE: tbc

LONDON – SOAS
TIME: 6pm
DATE: 16th June
VENUE: MBI Al Jaber Seminar Room, 12 Russell Square SOAS, Centre for Palestine Studies and London Middle East Institute, LMEI,

YORK
TIME: 7:30pm
DATE: 17th June
VENUE: Friargate Theatre, Lower Friargate, York YO1 9SL

LONDON – THE YOUNG VIC
TIME: 7pm
DATE: 18th June
VENUE: The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, London SE1 8LZ

(for Young Vic Genius Directors)

COVENTRY UNIVERSITY
TIME: 19th June
DATE: 6pm
VENUE: Jaguar Building, Room JA152, Coventry University.
Organised by Global Leadership Programme, Coventry University and Coventry Friends of Palestine.

LONDON – WILTON MUSIC HALL
TIME: tbc
DATE: 23rd June
VENUE: Wilton Music Hall, 1 Graces Alley, E1 8JB

 

Image

Our second event is on the 22nd June at Habibi Restaurant. This is part of Coventry’s Positive Images festival.

 Palestinians don’t always get a good press. In fact more often than not, they are faceless, nameless, ageless. They are the stone throwers, the terrorists.

As a matter of fact some Israelis would like us to believe that the land of Palestine was an empty land, and that Palestinians do not exist – either within Israel, in the West Bank and Gaza, let alone the millions of refugees living in other parts of the Middle East.

So, in this United Nations Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we would like to celebrate Palestine, her history and culture. We hope you will join us.

On Sunday 22 June, between 4pm and 7.30pm, as part of the Positive Images Festival, we will be sharing the food, poetry, photographs and music of Palestine, in Coventry’s very own Palestinian RestaurantHabibi. http://www.habibirestaurant.co.uk/

Located at the city end of Far Gosford Street, Habibi originated from a desire to bring to Coventry the experience, taste and atmosphere of the Middle East. People of all backgrounds, race and beliefs can be found dining, relaxing or smoking a fruit sheesha in authentic surroundings under the same roof. The word Habibi means “my beloved” in Arabic and it is a creation of love, peace, unity and tolerance.

There will also be Palestinian produce on sale – edibles, olive oil, soap, carved olive wood, embroidery.

Tickets are £5 for adults, children under 12 go free and are available at the restaurant, or can be booked through our Facebook page – Coventry Friends of Palestine Group. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coventry-Friends-of-Palestine-Group/348472765293519?fref=ts

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Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information on either of the events.

Apologies for those who read this post who are not local to me, but please check out the Freedom Theatre and their good work.

 

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Twice in one day

So you don’t hear from me in an age, and here I am back, twice in one day.

Many of you reading will be aware of the BDS campaign around Israel, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. http://www.bdsmovement.net/

A campaign such as this helped to end apartheid in South Africa, this campaign we hope will end it in Palestine.

One of the companies to boycott is a household name (many of the companies to boycott are actually household names) There was a lot of controversy surrounding this product a few months ago when they asked Scarlett Johansson to be their ‘cover girl’- Soda Stream.

Image

I saw this little montage this evening and I had to share it with you guys as this tells you EVERYTHING you need to know on why you should boycott Soda Stream.

http://www.burstthebubble.org/ (please click and watch)

 

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Apologies

Hello everyone, it has been far too long since my last post. Not because I haven’t had anything the write about, far from it, but because I was well aware that my beliefs and ideas were going out of the perameters of why I set up this blog.

I first started this a couple of years ago now when I started to learn about Palestine and what it meant within day to day life for a Palestinian. I wanted to know more about the culture and to try and understand the conflict. Two and a half years later, I understand it less than before. I fail to understand how violence is the answer. I fail to understand how stealing land, water and resources is right and just….I could go on.

I have become more ‘active’ in the cause for the Palestinians, having my eyes openned from two visits out there and daily contact with people who live there through Facebook. I have recently joined Coventry Friends of Palestine and we have set up a Facebook page with varying news and information articles added on a daily basis.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coventry-Friends-of-Palestine-Group/348472765293519

I still have stories from my last visit there, about 8 months ago now, and will continue to write them, but I will also probably be taking this blog in a slightly different way, maybe highlighting what we as Coventry Friends of Palestine will be doing and events we are holding and putting across the story of what is happening on a daily basis out there.

For any local people, we have a stall at the Earlsdon Festival on Monday 5th May, selling Zaytoun Products http://www.zaytoun.org/ and also olive wood pieces from Bethlehem. Please feel free to come along and ask any questions and buy some products and show your support.

Also we are putting together a cultural event on Sunday 22nd June, details to follow, but we will have poetry, storytelling and music (hopefully musicians) from Palestine…if you know any musicians who are willing to come along and join in, please get them to contact us through here or the Facebook page.

So, there we are, I am back, normalish service will be resumed with a mix of blog and information. I hope that suits you. Please give feedback to let me know what you want to read (it may help me focus a little more)

Thanks for your patience.

 

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