Bearing Witness

Week 15 in Gaza > Media > Refurbishment > Products > Goodbyes

Well this will be my last weekly update from Gaza, as my four months in the Strip is almost over. As I write this entry I only have four days left and I am sad and excited all at the same time. Sad to be leaving behind all my new friends, as I unsure when I will get to see them again : [ However excited about my travel plans and knowing that I am on my home to my family and friends, who I have missed so much : ]

After we sent out the email introducing Gaza’s Ark to her share holders and supporter, we felt it was time to introduce her to the media. So this Sunday at 11am in the Port of Gaza we will hold a media event to show Gaza’s Ark to the world. This has meant that I have spent the majority of this week complying a media list, drafting and sending out emails and spending more time on the phone than I care to mention. However it looks like we will have good variety of media in attendance, insharlla, to conduct interviews and witness the initial stages of the transformation of our fishing trawler into a cargo vessel that will attempt to export products Palestinian products from Palestine via the only mediterranean port closed to international shipping. Here is our media advisory for the event > http://www.gazaark.org/2013/06/05/media-advisory-come-and-see-gazas-ark/

While I have not spent a whole lot of time in the port this week, I am pleased to report that the refurbishment process is moving along nicely. We have finished the sanding of the vessel in preparation for the fiber glassing to begin and the last pieces of the winch structure will be removed on Sunday while the media event is underway. You can now follow the progress of the refurbishment process on our website > http://www.gazaark.org/2013/06/05/gazas-ark-photo-album/

There has also been movement on the solidarity item that will be sold through the Gaza Ark project, we have received the prototypes that were commissioned last week and now the products committee have the difficult process of chosing between the wrist band with the Palestinian flag or the wooden brooch in the shape of historical Palestine, with a keffiyeh pattern burnt into the wood or my favourite the heart-shaped brooch painted with the Palestinian flag.

Unfortunately with the media event, work on the solidarity item, documenting the refurbishment process and finalizing plans for my work on the products and civil society endorsements to continue in my absence – my work load has only increased this week, not giving me the time I would have liked to say proper goodbyes to my Gaza peeps. The Gaza Ark Steering Committee have well and truly got their last pound of flesh from me, for month and a bit anyway. However I have had a chance to catch  up with most of the peeps who have supported, encouraged, advised and inspired me during my time in Gaza > Sukran ictir my Gaza peeps, I miss you already!

Myself with Habibi Awni and two of his young cousins : ]

Myself with Habibi Awni and two of his young cousins : ]

June 7, 2013 Posted by | Gaza's Ark | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 14 in Gaza > Palfest > Products > Refurbishment

This week in Gaza was great, Pal Fest came to town, the refurbishment process is now moving along well and my last couple of product tasks are progressing nicely : ]

Palfest in Gaza was fantastic, Susan Abulhawa of “Mornings in Jenin” fame, Lina Attalah former Egyptian Independent journalist and fellow Tahririan, Nora Younis producer of “Reporting a revolution” and Ali Abunimah co-founder of the Electronic Intifada all came to town to do presentations, run workshops, present documentaries and help inspire the already inspirational Palestinian youth activists. Everything from BDS to hasbara to humanizing the Palestinian cause was discussed, debated and argued about. I attended workshops with Ali Abunimah and Susan Abulhawa on the first day of the festival, saw a presentation by Lina Attalah, Susan Abulhawa and Ali Abunimah at al-Aqsa University on the second day and also checked out Nora Younis presenting her film “Reporting a revolution” on the third day. Unfortunately Gaza Ark commitments meant I could not attend the closing concert, which celebrated Palestinian culture old and new, with performances of Dabke through to hip hop. Thank you to all who organised Palfest in Gaza, it helped me get my focus back on the big picture and away from the daily struggles of being part of a rather large international solidarity project.

On the Gaza Ark product front we have commissioned the production of two small solidarity items that will soon be available through Gaza’s Ark. These items will be instantly recognisable as Palestinian and have a price point around the $5 mark. They will be targeted at international solidarity groups, who will hopefully buy them in bulk to sell at information stalls and protest rallies, we have already had some expressions of interest in these items from groups in South Africa, Canada and Australia. We have also started the production of English labels for our agricultural products. We now have 7 agricultural products for sale through the Gaza’s Ark project, including Dugga, Za’atar,Maftoul, Debes, Honey, Ajwa and  Makhtom. Plus soon to be announced Olive Oil from the Olive Tree Protection Society > so what are you waiting for, go forth and buy into the hope Palestinians have for an independent economy > http://www.gazaark.org/products/

The refurbishment process of the Ark is also moving along nicely, this week has seen sanding of the boat in preparation for the fiberglassing to begin and the removal of the last parts of the winch structure. We are also preparing for the boat to be removed from the water so the major structural work can begin. The removal of the boat from the water will also hopefully see the start of filming for the Gaza’s Ark documentary. Everything seems to be starting to come together and while it has been a long difficult process to get to this point, as no one has ever tried to sail from Gaza against the blockade, I am now feeling more confident every day about the success of the Gaza Ark project. Not to mention I now have an even greater appreciation of what the those pioneers in the Free Gaza Movement went through when they attempted to do what no one else had done. I just hope we have the same result as they did back in 2008, but that will not be possible without your support. Go to http://www.gazaark.org and donate and spread the word, Palestinians don’t want hands out they want their freedom !

The Ark refurbishment continuing at pace

The Ark refurbishment continuing at pace.

June 1, 2013 Posted by | Gaza's Ark | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment