Saturday, 28 November 2009
On Friday evening I was invited down to Resonance FM for Mining for Gold (thanks Johny Brown, www.bandofholyjoy.co.uk, www.resonancefm.com. I spoke a little bit about the convoy and a poet was there Nina Zivancevic and she spoke about a theatre company who had performed their play with Palestinian actors in Israel and Israeli actors in Palestine - I need to check who this was. She recommended mention of Edward Said's book Orientalism - he was a Palestinian rights advocate, writer and philosopher, see link about him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Said. And then we all read her poems and played mashups of banging hardcore techno with Turkish folk, 80's pop, reggae and disco at the same time. Gold was mined.
Did I forget to mention I have the vehicle now? Yeay! Now to fill it up. I have picked up some educational books already from a teacher called Suzi. Need to get CB radio installed, a cab heater is required too as mine's not working too well.
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Some people have offered to carry on the fun and have small parties of their own which is great.
Discussions at the table have of course included facts and history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. You might be interested in the following link where there is a timeline, history, maps and statistics of Palestine, http://www.interpal.info/the-palestinians
Also please check this Channel Four News report from Feb 3rd 2009
Friday, 20 November 2009
The phone is hot! I think I'm going to need a back up handset. The laptop almost killed me this week when the power supply apparently stopped and the screen went dead with all info and half written emails awaiting. Twenty minutes later a different plug... revival, breathe.
The Viva team and Group 1 are amazing all focused on getting themselves and everyone onto the road and very supportive. I've learned how to use a googlegroup.
This afternoon I met up with a member of London Palestinian Rights Group www.lprg.org.uk he offered not only aid but space for collecting, space for meeting and financial support to individuals on convoy. Spent an hour speaking about the need to question, challenge and be curious -a place he attends is the Zionist Federation where he has met a diversity of people whom we need to speak with. For balance I'd like to link you to their website: http://www.zionist.org.uk/
He also distributes Palestinian products by Zaytoun. I was donated some of these products by La Bouche in Broadway Market for a fundraising dinner. I have just had another one raising £65! Wow thank you so much folks.
The Zaytoun couscous was really fantastic see happy smiling faces above, hand rolled and sun-dried by a Palestinian women's co-operative, www.zaytoun.org
I popped in on my new neighbours upstairs briefly and they seem lovely. A couple, he works for a charity called Muslim Hands www.muslimhands.org, anyway we plan to catch up in January.
Countdown to leaving - today was vehicle registration deadline. Things are shaping up.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
ANNUAL LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT - NOVEMBER 2009
Every November, for the past several years, there has been a lobby of Parliament in support of Palestinian self-determination. Hundreds of voters arrange to meet their MPs and impress upon them the popular support for the rights of the Palestinians to their own free nation state. Over the years we have seen how this has greatly improved the willingness of MPs to sign Early Day Motions (EDMs); raise parliamentary questions; write to ministers or join bodies like the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group.
Please see the continuation of this campaign news on link: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/Index7b.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=3&l2_id=51&Content_ID=934
Just had the first fundraising dinner and I have to say a big thank you to my flat mate Nick who kept on top of the proceedings. And of course much gratitude to my guests who participated fantastically. I almost forgot to record the occasion. Anyway the discussions were lively and there was lots of laughing. Grilled goats cheese with warm tomato vinaigrette, chanterelle mushroom risotto with pan fried pork escalope, rocket and parmesan salad, wine, apple crumble, creme fraiche, ice cream. So we raised £40 and the Gaza Gastronomy starts. So now the guests have to host their own meal and invite their guests to make donations. A letter is sent to the guests which they can use to show shop or stall holders in their streets and with the donations they prepare a meal for guests who then repeat the process. I have to thank my mother for the idea! It must be how Tories have been fundraising for years (insider secret!). Thanks to Kat for her knowledge and eloquence. Lou for her ability to advocate for the devil. Nick for being the master of ceremonies and Sam and Simon for the humour.
Meanwhile plans have been continuing to take shape for the convoy. Main issue seems to be vehicles and the fact that a lot of people still have not organised them yet. I am intending to buy very soon. Getting to know the group and seeing things taking shape as well as the anxieties and concerns is good and exhilarating. Keeping up with the day job as well remotely logging in to check essential messages keeping me on my toes. Its going to happen though.
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Check out the items donated by Broadway Market stalls and shops today for use in fundraising dinner parties happening very soon!!! WOW! www.broadwaymarket.co.uk
The following stalls donated food:
Organic Chicken: Longwood Farm, Tuddenham St Mary, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP28 6TB. tel: 01638 717120, email@example.com
Lamb chunks: Tidimans, 57 Broadway Market
Smoked Mackerel: Channel Fish, Victoria Ballington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mozzarella, Parma Ham and Miller Damsels Charcoal Wafers: Romeo Jones, www.romeojones.co.uk
Organic Rocket and Salad leaves: Organic Food Shop
Balsamic vinegar: The Olive Oil Co., www.danilomanco.co.uk
Palestinian Couscous, olive oil and almonds: La Bouche, www.labouche.co.uk
Santa Rosa Chenin Torrontes: MacBlack & Vine, www.macblackandvine.co.uk
fuZion Tempranillo Malbec: MacBlack & Vine, www.macblackandvine.co.uk
Brownies: Ion Patisserie handmade desserts, 0208 257 5019, email@example.com
Flour, butter, brown sugar, cream, bottle of red. UMUT MARKET, grocery shop at the end near London Fields
Bramley cooking apples: Chegworth Valley, www.chegworthvalley.com
Handmade Hot Apple Chutney: The Pickle Man, Chris Smith 00447973 687376, www.thepickleman.com
Large loaf of bread: the bread man near the canal end
Mushrooms: the mushroom stall near the Cat and Mutton
Tomatoes: the tomatoes stall near the Cat and Mutton
Salami and mozzarella: the French man with salami and mozzarella at the end near Cat and Mutton who has no business cards!
The rest of the stalls were being manned by someone who wasn't the boss so couldn't give me stuff.
Apart from a joint stall of cakes and hot grilled sausage sandwiches who said it was owned by Israelis and giving anything to me was too contentious:
"We don't want to give money to Hezbollah. Its a shame they (the Palestinians) won't share the land 50:50"
[Incidentally Hezbollah originates in Lebanon not Gaza/ Palestine.]
I explained that the aid is humanitarian and consists of medical supplies, stationery, toys and the crisis has been caused by a blockade on Gaza borders but I was told the borders aren't closed. News to me! Perhaps they should read: http://www.map-uk.org/regions/
Friday, 13 November 2009
Oh dear, I had this email today from NOCHEX who have suspended my account for collecting donations, please see the text below:
Dear Account Holder,
After a recent company review process, a commercial decision has been taken by Nochex not to allow certain accounts, who are undertaking certain activities, to remain operational.
I'm a bit suspicious about this how about you??
please donate via http://vivapalestina.org/donations.htm
Thursday, 12 November 2009
This has been a fascinating week. I have just got back from the London wide meeting for those planning to go on the convoy. Sadly we could not get the projector to project. Typical, two laptops, a projector and a massive wall-hung TV and yet still a verbally delivered presentation. I'm not feeling so technical any more. I made some more contacts and was glad to hear about some useful potential vehicles someone has found (a man with 15 ex NHS ambulances!). Some views at the meeting were that Viva Palestina needed to get more info out quicker and some weren't clear on how donation/ vehicle-buying etc is to work. Personally I think they're doing a good job - people need to work to some degree autonomously and not expect directives on everything - they have produced a fair old amount of relevant info so far. The volunteers need to buck up and get their registration forms and documents in as requested before any complaints in my view.
On Tuesday evening I went to a book launch at Amnesty International (thanks 4 heads up Ez). 'Palestine in Pieces' was written by Kathy and Bill Christison and provides their accounts of places they have visited there in the occupied territories. One passage read from the book describes a village of settled Bedouin called Numan where 170 people live. It became part of Jerusalem in 1967 when Israel captured East Jerusalem and expanded the city limits. Most of its residents happen to have West Bank ID cards which did not particularly matter until 1993 when a system of closures was introduced restricting those without Jerusalem ID cards from entering Jerusalem. So the villagers are now technically illegally living in Jerusalem under Israeli occupation law and cannot physically move towards the North West. This might not have been completely difficult to live with because villagers used to be able to trade with their South East neighbours towards Bethlehem. However now there is the massive security Wall blocking their way. There is one exit and entry point to the village guarded by Israeli police at which there is a list of residents names. No-one else is allowed in. Five residents happen to have Jerusalem ID cards and these five are the only ones allowed to move a vehicle in or out. A weekly UN mobile medical clinic was barred. Any 50kg sacks e.g. of flour or feed, have to be decanted into smaller containers for inspection. Water and electricity supplies were cut off in the nineties. There is so much more to this story and that is one of many in the book. (No profit available from www.plutobooks.com)
The couple who wrote the book are quite elderly Americans and used to work for the CIA. They say that the Palestine-Israel issue in the States is just not yet in the conscious awareness of enough Americans and therefore not a priority politically. Perhaps this would be different if more Americans saw this website that I was forwarded this week: www.ifamericansknew.com, check it out for data, figures, links, history and interesting stuff like that. No really check it out!
This morning I felt a bit reflective because I spoke to a contact at Merlin (international medical charity) who advised me to speak to another organisation called Medical Aid for Palestinians. I spoke to them and we spoke about the difficulty of taking aid which might be inappropriate e.g. wrong language, out of date, not able to be used etc. Apparently she said George Galloway's vehicle that he took previously is still not usable. I start to think about him and posturing and really hope that what we plan to do is really useful. Viva Palestina have some contacts for proper medical aid though so I'm reassured. Also the MAP lady did say that crayons, exercise books etc would be very useful so we need to try and find some of those.
Monday, 9 November 2009
I can even copy this link in html into my page which enables people to pay money to me... oh no they can't my account was closed down in mysterious circumstances
But I am still collecting so please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
So maybe you want to know a bit more about what the money is for. I'm raising cash to buy a vehicle and drive it to Gaza over land during December with a convoy of vehicles all taking aid and making some noise to the Gaza Strip. In December 08 - January 09 lots of people, more than 1400, were killed, loads more injured in Gaza, as well as some Israeli civilians. For more info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_war
There have been crimes committed on both sides of the conflict. However the civilian Gaza population is under severe pressure due to the fact it is blockaded by land air and sea borders which are controlled by Israel. Gaza’s population of 1.5 million is currently facing hardships due to the Israeli blockade on Gaza’s few crossing points, destruction of Gaza’s only electric plant and Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenues, coupled with international donor aid cuts after the swearing-in of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority in March 2006.
All this was before the conflict last year! See:
Also of interest is recent report by Amnesty International about the water supplies in Gaza: http://www.amnesty.org/en/
In Gaza there is a need for medical humanitarian aid such as medical equipment, maternity and post natal supplies, school and educational stationary - crayons, paper, exercise books. I'm trying to collect any of this stuff so if you know anyone who could donate please get in touch.