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Home arrow Blog arrow December 2008 arrow December 9, 2008

December 9, 2008
WAWA Blog December 9, 2009: Introducing Sam in Gaza and the Music of Nonviolent Resistance Blowin' outta the Strip UPDATE 1:30 PM EST @ end

[Gaza City, December 9, 2008] My boots on the ground and eye witness in Gaza is Sam Habeeb, a twenty-something photo journalist, humanitarian worker and also my contact for entry into Gaza that I had hoped would help me get into Gaza during my last trip to occupied territory a few weeks ago.


However, reality changed my plans, for I realized that although I could get into Gaza, getting out would be more of a struggle than I had the time to sacrifice.

Instead, I expressed my solidarity at the Erez checkpoint with a few other justice and peace seeking activists who rose up in solidarity
Read more...   with the 1.5 million open air prisoners-most all refugees expelled from their homes by Israel in 1948 and 1967.



60% of the population of Gaza is under the age of 18 years old, and it was while gazing at a few of Sam's photos of them, that I intuited a kinship with Sam, whose photos of the little one's could break even the hardest of heart.


Sam Habeeb is not just a humanitarian worker and photo-journalist, he is a harbinger of some good news regarding the harmonious Non-Violent Resistance Movement blowin' outta Gaza and catching fire in all areas of the occupied Palestinian territories.


 
Ever since 'civilized' white men dumped their guilt over The Third Reich's atrocities upon the indigenous Palestinians-and 750,000 fled their homes for fear of their lives from Zionists who grabbed more than their share between 1947-48, there have always been Palestinian nonviolent resister; but those actions have been blown off/ignored for decades.
 

Unbeknownst to most American's the first Palestinian uprising was literally stones and pebbles thrown by the indigenous David's of the Holy Land in response to mighty Goliath Israeli tanks and armed soldiers that took over their lives in 1948 and made things worse in 1967.
 
During the second Palestinian Intifada the unreported non-violent and peaceful resistance movement re-shaped with support and of International activists, such as ISM, especially in the West Bank.
 
Global resistance has succeeded to expose to the world the collective punishment Israel inflicts upon Palestinians through word of mouth and written reports on the World Wide Web.

The International presence in solidarity with nonviolent Palestinian and Israelis such as with Anarchist Against the Wall, also effectively hindered the stealing and annexation of fertile Palestinian agricultural land by the apartheid wall.

In Gaza, all hearts still turn to the altruistic young American, Rachel Corrie, who is credited with being the first of many citizen journalist-activists who leave their comfort zones in order to go, seek and report the truth.


Sam reported the following via email from Gaza:


Many Palestinian solidarity groups working against the Israeli siege on Gaza created a human chain action on the ground this past February.
 
Over 60,000 civilians; children, youths, elderly men and women took part in the action near the Israeli borders. The chain extended from Rafah to Bait Hanon cities for around 38 kilometers.
 
The Israeli Forces responded to this nonviolent community action with an emergency call up of thousands of troops!
 
Thousands of dollars and bad publicity is all Israel received for her knee-jerk action to SECURE Israeli borders from unarmed nonviolent civilians, whose only weapons are the truth.
 
According to the organizers of the Popular Committee against Siege/PCAS, success was theirs by highlighting the issue of the immoral siege.
 
Uncounted hundreds of phone calls and emails poured forth in solidarity with PCAS from International press and Israeli as well.
 
 
Another action was a candle lit vigil after a total power blackout hit the Gaza strip early in 2008.
 
Thousands of civilians rushed into the streets to protest this unjust action by Israel. The next thing that occurred was the spontaneous breaking of borders with Egypt.
 
In August 2008, Palestinians and Internationals hired two wooden sailing boats to carry them from Cyprus to Gaza. They not only symbolically broke the siege on Gaza by sailing through international waters, the nonviolent activists are all a conscience for the world.
 
Recently, a Libyan boat sailed but was banned by Israel before entering into Gaza. More boats are scheduled to sail despite the risks and costs, proving that peaceful resistance is addictive to trouble makers who get off on exposing BS and embarrassing bureaucrats.
 
 A week ago a group of young Palestinians organized the first ever music concert in Gaza, Gaza Concert 08, was their response to the awful situation in the Gaza strip.
 
These young people sang for freedom and peace just as fervently as they cried for an end to the unjust siege inflicted upon the voiceless, who will not be silenced!
 
Thousands attended the concert and several media outlets highlighted on the event which was a first in Gaza. Palestinian Dabka dance, Rapp and national songs were performed calling for lifting siege and ending Israeli occupation.
 
A touching gesture seeking reconciliation occurred after many songs of freedom and peace.
 
Ahmed, a Dabka dancer who lost his hand in an Israeli military operation in 2006 at Jabalia camp, sincerely said, "I came here to express my readiness and willingness of having peace, I lost my hand but I still desire a just peace with Israelis if they give me my full-rights."
 
Hatem Shurab, 24, one of the concert organizers and singer based in Gaza, is another victim of the Israeli siege. He was accepted to go to America for school, but his training was stopped last October due to the closure of Gaza which has trapped him.
 
Hatem told me, "I came here to sing for peace and freedom. I came here to make the suffering of people heard through songs and music. I sang for Sarah who was sick and unable to get treatment due to siege. The words of my song say: A girl called Sarah…innocence on her eyes…because of no medications she is about to die…Don't let Sarah feel the pain…let her fly like a bird in the sky…take the siege away."
 
 
According to the International Palestinian Campaign to lift the Gaza siege, this action is intended to convey the message of a people whose voice is not heard in the international dialogue.
 
Coordinator of the campaign, Nadine Rajab said the concert was planned to be across Gaza, West Bank and occupied territories 48 lands. But due to the Israeli siege it hasn't been allowed out of Gaza.
 
"The occupation banned us from having our brothers from the West Bank. We overcame this as they have sent us a video of their songs. Next year we want to make it regional so our voice would be heard widely. All in one, we have succeeded to achieve our aim of telling our story. Many people do think we are savage and terrorists but the concert of today would prove the opposite. Many people abroad are fed up of our news but through this way they will know what's happening."
 
 
Palestinians are stronger than any siege and more persistent than any occupation.
 
Palestinians are a reflection of sadness and joy; death and life.
 
The Israeli empire has totally succeeded in blocking the borders of Gaza but they can NOT block the hopes, dreams, wails, hymns and rhythm of young Gazans!
 
The Gaza strip is witnessing an ever increasing severity in conditions due to the Israeli siege which has brutalized 1.5 million civilians-60% are children under the age of 18-for nearly two years now.
 
It turned even harsher on the 4th of November when Israel totally closed the borders preventing all life requirements form getting into Gaza.
 
Desperately ill patients were refused the right to travel for treatment to save their lives.
 
The very basics of life, such as flour, sugar and rice have vanished from sight in Gaza. [end Sam]



An ever increasing stream of creative nonviolent activism is responding to the cruel siege of Gaza with persistence and imagination.


After Mark Regev, spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, made the following statement:

"Free Gaza is a cool idea, but free them from what? If they want to free Gaza they should take out women who fear for their lives, Christians and gays. We want to free Gaza from this terrible Taliban regime.  This terrible Taliban regime is oppressing women, Christians and gays."

The rapid response from Free Gaza spokespeople was:


Dear Mr. Regev,

Thank you for your recognition of our efforts to break Israel's inhumane and illegal siege of Gaza. We also think that "Free Gaza" is a very cool idea.

With respect, Israel's siege is directly preventing all the people of Gaza from accessing clean water, electricity, adequate food supplies, and freedom of movement to seek essential medical care, educational development, as well as from being able to freely visit with family and friends.

Israel's siege is indiscriminate, and unjustly affects everyone in Gaza - including, but not limited to, the women, Christians, and gays that you speak of. These denials all stem from your government's policy of collective punishment, in direct violation of international law and basic human dignity - both Israel's and that of the Palestinian people.

All of the people of Gaza have reason to fear for their lives due to the Israeli army's reckless use of force, bombing civilian areas, bulldozing homes, shelling civilian areas using flechette shells, and terrorising young and old with the frequent use of sonic booms which have resulted in the permanent deafening of children. The perpetual threat of a ground invasion and escalation of aerial bombardment is both an immediate and continuing threat, as well as an ongoing form of psychological torture. The humiliation of those trying to exit Gaza for medical treatment, the visitation of loved ones and for the right to pursue education also creates the fear of never being able to develop, to learn, to survive, to live, and to love.

We will be leaving Cyprus this evening on our fourth voyage to Gaza, in order to symbolically break Israel's siege, in particular drawing attention to the generation of Palestinians denied the right of self and national realisation and advancement through education - a right not a privilege, for the youth of every country in the world. We also aim to draw attention to the humanitarian catastrophe the siege has caused, and inspire deeper and more sustained political action across the world to end the illegal and inhumane Israeli occupation.

Mr. Regev, we urge you and other members of your government to join us in this vital mission, see first hand the brutal affects of Israeli policies on the families of Gaza, and work with us to end Israel's siege of Gaza and the ongoing Occupation of Palestine. We appeal to your humanity and once again echo a point of evident agreement between us: Yes, Free Gaza is a cool idea - now let's put into practice.

Sincerely Yours,
Ewa Jasiewicz
Ramzi Kysia
Lubna Masarwa
Free Gaza Movement
http://www.freegaza.org/



Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?

Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?

Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Out from the Gaza Strip
 



Sameh A. Habeeb, Photojournalist & Peace Activist
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599306096
Tel: 0097282802825
E-mail:

Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook Sameh A. habeeb
Web: http://www.gazatoday.blogspot.com
Daily Photos:http://picasaweb.google.com/sameh.habeeb  



UPDATE:
Dignity to Gaza: "We're Back!" - Fourth Successful Voyage Breaks Through Siege of Gaza



(GAZA, 9 December 2008) - The Free Gaza Movement ship "Dignity" successfully broke through the Israeli blockade for the fourth time since August, arriving in Gaza Port at 2:45pm, Tuesday 9 December.

The ship carried one ton of medical supplies and high-protein baby formula, in addition to a
delegation of international academics, humanitarian and human rights workers. Three earlier missions made landfall in Gaza in August, October, and November through the power of non-violent direct action and civil resistance.

The Free Gaza ships are the first international ships to reach the Gaza Strip in over 41 years.

Ewa Jasiewicz, a Free Gaza organizer, journalist, and solidarity worker, pointed out that, "Tomorrow is International Human Rights Day, and it's high time the world turned its rhetoric on human rights into reality. We mounted this mission to give our solidarity to the people of Palestine and to
highlight the strangulating conditions Israel causes in besieged Gaza.  The inhumane effects of this siege threaten to stunt an entire generation - both in terms of physical and mental growth due to malnutrition, terrorization by bomb attacks, incursions and the use of sonic booms - but also in terms of the generation of students which have won places at academic institutions around the world but cannot fulfill them, and those undermined on the ground in Gaza by a lack of food, medicine, electricity, materials, and the peace and space to make use of them in."

For over two years, Israel has imposed an increasingly severe blockade on Gaza, dramatically increasing poverty and malnutrition rates among the 1.5 million human people who live in this tiny, costal region. The World Bank recently warned that the entire banking system in Gaza may soon collapse resulting in "serious humanitarian implications." Already, over eighty percent of Gazan families are dependent on international food aid in order to feed their children.

Lubna Masarwa, another Free Gaza organizer and the current delegation's leader, pointed out that, "The Palestinians of Gaza don't need charity. What they need is effective political action that changes their lives and ends the Occupation. We can't bring electricity to Gaza on our boats. We
can't import freedom of movement or safety. But we can get into Gaza and we are intent to keep coming. We will come again and again and again until the world breaks its silence and we shatter this siege once and for all."



   
 
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