On December 27, 2009, on the one-year memorial of the major Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, concerned people from around the world met in Cairo to travel to Gaza, despite the siege, for the Gaza Freedom March, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza. Only 100 marchers were allowed into Gaza; protests in Cairo generated international attention. Over 150 solidarity actions occurred around the world including Israel, the West Bank, Switzerland, New York, and Minnesota.
What will you do to help lift the siege of Gaza? Take action at http://www.codepink.org and http://www.gazafreedommarch.org. This video includes the voices of Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, Palestinian teacher and activist Dr. Mustafa El-Hawi, Ret. Col. Ann Wright, Center for Constitutional Rights president Michael Ratner, CODEPINK and Global Exchange cofounder Medea Benjamin, and others.
The famous song, Va pensiero by Giuseppe Verdi was first performed in 1842 when the Northern part of Italy was under the thumb of the Austrian empire. It is a song about the plight of the Jews as they are assaulted, conquered, and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar).
The song has become a plaintive cry for freedom for all occupied people and is dedicated to the Palestinian fight for justice, from the Occupied West Bank to besieged Gaza. Supporters from around the world marched on December 31, 2009 and January 1, 2010 to demand of their governments, “Break the siege on Gaza, let them live in peace and with dignity”
NEVER BEFORE CAMPAIGN
PRESS TV LONDON
Haitham Al Katib
Protests in Israel and Egypt mark the first anniversary since Israel’s attack on Gaza last winter
Over the weekend, a march of thousands of Israelis through Tel Aviv marked the end of 10 days of protest in the region against the siege on Gaza. Activists in Cairo, the port of Al- Arish, Tel Aviv, the Northern border with Gaza, and in the Occupied Palestinian cities of Nablus, Ramallah, and Bethlehem brought global attention to the current situation and the effect of the ongoing closures on the Gaza strip.
Philip Weiss is the co-editor of Mondoweiss, a news website covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective. He is an investigative journalist who has written for The New York Observer, The Nation, New York Times Magazine, and Harper’s Magazine among others. He also wrote the 2004 book American Taboo: A Murder In The Peace Corps.
SOMETHING ODD, almost bizarre, is going on in Egypt these days.
About 1400 activists from all over the world gathered there on their way to the Gaza Strip. On the anniversary of the “Cast Lead” War, they intended to participate in a non-violent demonstration against the ongoing blockade, which makes the life of 1.5 million inhabitants of the Strip intolerable.
At the same time, protest demonstrations were to take place in many countries. In Tel-Aviv, too, a big protest was planned. The “monitoring committee” of the Arab citizens of Israel was to organize an event on the Gaza border.
When the international activists arrived in Egypt, a surprise awaited them. The Egyptian government forbade their trip to Gaza. Their buses were held up at the outskirts of Cairo and turned back. Individual protesters who succeeded in reaching the Sinai in regular buses were taken off them. The Egyptian security forces conducted a regular hunt for the activists.
A year since the war in Gaza
The siege continues those responsible were not questioned
1,400 Gazans killed, most of them civilians
terrible destruction carried out indiscriminatingly
The Goldstone Report has determined war crimes were committed by Israel
Though the fighting stopped, the siege goes on, Gaza was turned into one big prison
Gaza is cut off from the world, Gazans from their families and their people
End the Siege of Gaza!
Those responsible must stand trial!
by Mary Hughes-Thompson, part of the GFM convoy that has been trying to get into Gaza.
01 January 2010
In about an hour the Gaza Freedom Marchers in Cairo will be meeting in Tahrir Square to celebrate the beginning of 2010. January 1st will be the fifth day of my hunger strike.
All around us we saw other small groups receiving the same reception. After sitting on a bench in front of the Nile Hilton for half an hour, with half a dozen police standing close and trying to persuade us to continue walking away, we suddenly saw a surge of people crossing the street a few yards from us, and we quickly rushed to join them. Free Gaza signs appeared, chants of “Free Gaza” were heard. Passengers in cars and buses gave us a wave and a smile. We were immediately encircled by several hundred policemen who placed barriers around us and began to push us more tightly together. We tried to keep space around Hedy, as we were pushed and squeezed. I feared my ribs would be crushed as I was squeezed tighter and closer to people around me. A few people fell or tried to sit in the middle of the circle and the police went after them.
Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers flew kites
for the people of Gaza
photo by Hakim
At about 1pm Afghanistan time ( 10.30 am Gaza time when the planned Gaza Freedom March was supposed to begin ) on the 31st of December 2009, the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers had a tele-conference with these friends (the conversation with Baseem and Yaniv was short but priceless).
USA Douglas Mackey, Jody Tiller, Cindy Corrie, Josh Steiber, Margo, Andrea Le Blanc, Al
In the telephone conversation, we encountered the human souls in each other through our voices and we encouraged each other towards peace and those beautiful and important things in the hearts of all humanity. Thanks to all!
In a press conference conducted earlier this evening, the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced some threats, warnings, surprises as well as some good news. The press conference that aired on Egyptian official TV a few hours ago was boiling with Aboul Gheit’s very firm and angry answers to the journalists’ questions who did not spare him a topic. They asked about the peace process, Hamas, Rafah tunnels and the Iron Wall besides the questions about the Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina.
To my surprise, it seems that the mainstream media are so far ignoring this press conference and no one has published any of the surprises or the good news which he carried for the Gaza Freedom March and the surprise he had for Viva Palestina. Not even those directly concerned, the activists themselves. Instead, searching the mainstream media today you will only get news about Egypt’s arrest of activists in Cairo, the activist hunger strike, Viva Palestina’s redirection to Syria, and so on.
Sam Husseini is in Egypt, accompanying the “Gaza Freedom March,” which has assembled in Cairo, Egypt with hopes of visiting Gaza on the year anniversary of Israel’s bombing last January. He is writing for The Washington Stakeout.
One of my friends, Joshua Smith, just texted me from Cairo and said that some U.S. citizens of the Gaza Freedom March went to the U.S. Embassy today there to try and implore the staff there to intercede on behalf of the March to help get them into Gaza–they were not so warmly welcomed.
Recently, almost 1400 people from around the globe met in Cairo to march into Gaza to join Gazans in solidarity and to help expose their plight after years of blockade and exactly a year after the violent attack in what Israel called “Operation Cast Lead” that killed hundreds of innocent Gazan civilians. So far the Marchers have been denied access (Egypt closed the Rafah crossing) and their gatherings have become increasingly and more violently suppressed.
A crew of all women are driving in a 200 vehicle convoy from the UK to Gaza. They aim to reach Gaza on December 27th 2009 with donations of humanitarian aid, ambulances, wheelchairs and more. Following the Israeli bombing in December 2008, Gaza has been suffering and this convoy hopes to give some hope. More on http://swanseapalestine.org/