Bearing Witness

Since we last spoke

Well I think it’s been over a year since we last spoke, so to bring you up to speed, I have established the Engaging and Motivational Program of Activities Targeting Homeless Youth or EMPATHY Project – unfortunately I can’t take credit for coming up with the acronym. As the name suggests the EMPATHY Project is about trying to re-engage young homeless people in education and the boarder community.

The Dark Corner [TDC] has run it’s inaugural fundraising event for Project Hope Nablus, the event was at the Commons in Darlinghurst and was well supported with over fifty punters who all enjoyed a night of great food and company. TDC quickly follow their first event with a second in support of Australian contingent sailing with the next freedom flotilla to Gaza. This event was at the Gladstone Hotel and saw some of Sydney’s premier selectors, producers and purveyors of good times strut their stuff in support of a Free Gaza ! On the line up was Edseven, Jonny Faith, Prize, Sophie Loizou, Western Synthetics, Shantan, Victim and BC SWAT – and just quickly, massive to props to them all for donating their time and incredible talents to the cause.

So to date the TDC has raised $2485  to support NGO’s  working to help end the oppression and occupation of Palestinian’s in the West Bank and Gaza. Thanks to everyone that attended the first of hopefully many TDC event’s and an even bigger thanks to Dad, Ed‘s and Damo form the TDC Board for all their assistance..

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla Working Group in Sydney was formed in response to the tragic and horrific end to the firstly Freedom Flotilla, where 9 unarmed peaceful humanitarian activist were killed, and another 54 wounded, in a hostile military assault on the flotilla. After this tragedy the Free Gaza Movement and others called for larger flotilla’s to continue to sail to Gaza until the siege, and the collective punishment that it enforces, ends.

I should declare that I am actually a member of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Working Group in Sydney and am currently in the drop zone to go. The Sydney working has partnered with several other countries including Canada to fund a boat, as raising enough for a whole boat+ crew + aid was just not possible. Because of this partnership arrangement places per country are decided by a percentage of overall contribution, I.E. if we hit our target of 30,000 euros we get 4 spots and I go, if we come up short we only get three spots and bo boo for me : /

But big picture, either way we will have let the world know that the Australian Government does not speak for all Australian’s when it comes to the of issue of Palestinian human rights – while also drawing attention to the humanitarian crises that Israel’s brutal siege of Gaza has created in the last 4 years.

Well that’s about it, well at least for the sanitized rose-coloured version of the last 12 months.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, re: the flotilla or event better still make a donation at:

Bendigo Bank Palestine Relief Fund Inc,
BSB: 633 108; a/c no:141120758;
PLEASE PUT NAME IN REFERENCE.

Or by post at:

PO Box 542 Leichhardt 2040

April 22, 2011 Posted by | My Thoughts | , , , , , | Leave a comment

ISRAELI PM THREATENS NEXT GAZA FREEDOM FLOTILLA

 

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threatened to “act firmly” using “force” against the Freedom Flotilla from 22 countries due to set sail for Gaza next month. It will be joined by an Australian contingent in partnership with Canadians and others.

Organisers are extremely concerned considering Israel’s use of lethal force against civilians on last year’s Freedom Flotilla.

Netanyahu has also asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to help stop the Freedom Flotilla. The Secretary General has responded saying that Israel should end the blockade of Gaza.

“Netanyahu’s statement is tantamount to a death threat against participants in the Flotilla. In spite of this, all intending participants from Australia have declared that they will not be deterred. The siege of Gaza must be broken and the Freedom Flotilla will sail ahead as planned.” said Rihab Charida of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Working Group in Sydney.

In June 2007, Israel and the so-called Quartet, the US, the UN, Russia and the EU, imposed a siege on the people of Gaza after all Palestinians had democratically elected Hamas to form Government. Since then the 1.5 million people of Gaza have been shut off from the outside world, trapped within the world’s largest open-air prison in an act of collective punishment.

Essential food, medical, building and other supplies have been prevented from entering the tiny coastal strip, impoverishing its people and destroying its economy. The easing of the siege in response to the last Freedom Flotilla has been cosmetic only with no materials for manufacture permitted, nor exports, nor free passage of people.
“In the face of the shameful failure of governments to defend international law, the people of the world will break the unlawful siege of Gaza,” said Ms Charida.

The Freedom Flotilla sets sail for Gaza in the second half of May 2011. †It consists of more than 11 boats from over 22 countries including Canada, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, USA, Britain, Greece, Turkey, Australia and France.

Article by James Godfrey.

For more information on the activities of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Working Group Sydney check out: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=127042173984253

April 22, 2011 Posted by | Freedom Flotilla Two, Media | , , , | 2 Comments