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

The Dark Corners

Since returning from the Middle East I have set up The Dark Corners [TDC], a fundraising organisation to support small NGO’s around the world that have no existing support networks in Australia and are working with marginalised young people – giving them services, opportunities, skills and most importantly hope for the future. TDC will rase funds by putting on events “Music for the Dark Corners” and “Dinners for the Dark Corners”. Each event will promote awareness of the circumstances and issues facing the young people that the NGO works with, while also rasing funds to help with their valuable work.

It has been a longer process than I expected, setting up TDC, however it would have taken even longer with out the help of Anne Cregan from Blake Dawson. Anne has helped me navigate each step of the way and supported me through an incredibly step learning curve. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anne and every one at Blake Dawson for their advice and support.

For more information on TDC and to stay informed about up coming events join “The Dark Corners” Facebook group @ http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=113511167451

In recent news the US has back flipped on its demand that Israel stop all expansion of its settlements in occupied West Bank before peace talks could resume. This is disappointing news as Barack Obama promised a change, not more of the same. As Akiva Eldar wrote in Haaretz, ”U.S. presidents seem to treat the settlements just like the weather: an interesting topic for conversation, but impossible to change”.

The need for a holt to settlement expansion is clear to anyone who followed the, so called “peace process”, during which Palestinians were willing to negotiate an end to the occupation, while Israel continued to change the demographics of the land under negotiation and annex more of the land planned for a future Palestinian state. That is how we have gone from 109,000 settlers – not including East Jerusalem – when the Oslo Accords were signed 16 years ago to more than 300,000 today.

The US backflip on settlement expansion has only strengthened my view that the best hope for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine is the BDS campagin. The BDS campagin is modeled on the strategy that the anti-apartheid struggle used against South Africa very successfully in the 1980s.

“The way I see BDS is that this is a tactic that we are resorting to because of Israeli impunity. There is an absolute unwillingness to apply international law to the Israeli state. Our governments have failed, the United Nations has failed, the so-called international community is a joke. We have to fill the vacuum” – Naomi Klien.

For more information on the Global BDS campagin check out: http://www.bdsmovement.net/

November 9, 2009 Posted by | My Thoughts | , , , , , | Leave a comment