Solidarity with Gaza

13 01 2009

2 minutes for Gaza stop work adopted in Cape Town starting 13 Jan 1130am

A range of organizations in Cape Town including the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu), Anti-War Coalition, Anti-Eviction Campaign, Building Women’s Activism, Al Quds Foundation, Workers International Vanguard League, Plaestinians Solidarity Group, have formed a front called WE ARE ALL GAZA. The first priority is to take immediate action that assists the plight of the Palestinians under fire. The first call is for all in the country to stop work at 1130am and to pause for 2 minutes, starting Tuesday 13 Jan 2009. Workers are encouraged to come out onto the streets and form a human chain, declaring WE ARE ALL GAZA. People in communities are encouraged to go to major intersections in their areas. Each day that goes by an extra 2 minutes will be added.  People are encouraged to form WE ARE ALL GAZA committees whereever they are. One of the main areas in Cape Town tomorrow (13 Jan 2009) where those in the Cape Town city centre are, will be the corner of Adderley and Darling street, where WE ARE ALL GAZA human chain will be formed.. All are welome to come and join in.

The main demands around the 2 minute campaign are:
1. An end to the slaughter of Palestinians and the complete withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza
2. The immediate lifting of the blockade of Gaza
3. The immediate setting up of a war crimes tribunal around the atrocities committed by the Israeli attacks on Palestinians
4. All Israeli goods should be boycotted
5. No worker in coal and diamond mining and transport sectors should allow any shipments to go to Israel
6. An immediate boycott of all Israeli goods.
7. The Egyptian and Israeli ambassadors should be expelled with immediate effect;
8. The SA ambassadors to Israel and Egypt should be withdrawn.
9. The SA govt should immediately take steps to prevent SA citizens from being part of the Israeli army.

A call was made that when schools open, parents go to schools and form mass pickets every morning. The morning pickets, starting at 7am, should be expanded to as many areas as possible. People should take their own initiative.

A committee was set up which was tasked to bring in more organizations. The SA Council of Churches has expressed positive support for the campaign and are presently discussing it in their ranks. We expect and answer soon.

The campaign is expected to start in Cape Town and from there spread throughout the country. Developments will be announced as soon as they occur.  Cosatu nationally is expected to take a national decision on Wed 14 Jan 2009.

For further comment

Shaheed Mahomed
ph 0822020617

Jean Beukes
ph 0837213966

Mike Louw
0844777104

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5 responses

16 01 2009
Jade Lennon

Beyond Protest: It is Time for Action – We Need a Coordinated Global Solidarity Campaign in Defence of People of Gaza.

Pandaemonium is the Palace of All the Devils. Its building began c.1660.
It wll never be finished – it has to be transformed into Jerusalem.
The building of Pandaemonium is the real history of Britain …

Humphrey Jennings, 1942.

In view of the situation in Gaza, so dreadful that words cannot be found, exacerbated by the current blockade – even of UN relief – of any goods being allowed into Gaza, I am writing to you my reader as a brother and friend to consider that the current and persistent onslaught on the Palestinian people is surely unbearable and an unacceptable wound on the conscience of humankind.

What I am proposing that those who want to do something but are not sure what to do, to focus our energy and thinking on revitalising and channelling, if you will, the very real sympathy of the working class and oppressed people around the world for Gaza, by undertaking a bold and unprecedented humanitarian international mission led by the friends of Palestine, workers and concerned people from all parts, to bring solidarity and aid directly and physically to Palestine, by whatever means possible.

Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Gaza, to our children and the innocents in the throes of hell on earth in this evil hour. I am calling on the social movements of the world, environmentalists and the anti-war movements, all thinking people and activists everywhere that we connect up our support for the people on the ground. We must build a new kind of campaign by going much further than just protest, because as much as it is needed, the urgency of the moment requires that our response must surely go beyond critique of the evils being committed – we who love humanity, must move towards a practical effort and resolution based on the support of the masses worldwide, including above all what remains of the real working class’ organisations. In order to defend the Palestinian people against colonial occupation and to bring to a halt the genocidal policy of Israel we have not merely to protest as we did since 2003 against the attack on Iraq, because it proved ultimately fruitless in the face of such stubbornness on the part of the aggressors. To remain silent would be a crime. This is a call to Action!

We have to take positive and creative action on an international scale by weighing with organised support into the balance with the necessary and intelligent and coordinated international action in solidarity with the dispossessed and besieged Palestinians. Our renewed global campaign should be taken to a higher level of scope and intensity drawing in ever wider layers of people, so that it registers global debate and indeed should to some extent set the tone of the discussion by clarifying or opening up the principal concerns and festering sores underlying the current malady, such as the right to self-determination, to self-defence, the right of refugees to return and at the heart of it, we have to face up the destructive and potentially apocalyptic consequences of the continued rule of the global system of Capital itself.

What I am proposing is that we who are in solidarity with the children of Palestine who are suffering the brunt of military chauvinism, we must urgently find a way to initiate the humanitarian campaign and raise the resources and build the alliances to coordinate and untertake an international mission led by the workers and ordinary people of the world and in this way to build up broad support against the war on Gaza, for independence and self-destermination for Palestine. We can build support in the schools and universities, workplaces and residential areas and in cyberspace. Set up action and collection committees far and wide.

We need to listen to the pleas of people inside Palestine and Israel, students, with workers, with doctors and nurses, community activists who know the situation on the ground. We should listen to the case of the workers, students, academics and professionals in Palestine and Israel speaking out against the genocide and give them voice. In this way we are able establish some sense of the situation and assess what forms of humanitarian support are most urgent. There must be a programme of action developed throughout the UK and Europe with support from the workers organisations and community movements.

With a clear plan of action and a principled stance on the question of international working class solidarity we can win the support of serious trade unionists, journalists, academics, students, school-goers, artists and initiate thus a high profile UK wide petition campaign with mass based support. This support can be raised from and by the workers and students and pensioners. Many international volunteers will surely undertake to physically deliver the materials to the hospitals, schools, workers’ associations in the Palestinian territories. We can make it possible for the material to be delivered, despite the intensity of the conflict, by building up a series of internationally coordinated mass actions, to coincide with our arrival at the border, by heightening international attention.

Such a path as I have briefly outlined is fraught with danger and tension but also the possibility of moral and political victory that can act as a signal and beacon for future struggles. The alternative would be to anaesthetise ourselves against the cries and despair and do nothing. No thinking person can tolerate apartheid, dispossession and ruthless colonisation, nor should we accept its genocidal conclusions. As Einstein before his death, the threat of general annihilation looms ever nearer on the horizon.

So we will have to be brave, we the tiny little people who must inherit the earth. If we do not claim our inheritance, there may be nothing left of it. For too long we, the people of the world, have stood aside and allowed this desperate tragedy to unfold. We must therefore press on all fronts for the rights of the dispossessed and exiled and besieged people of Palestine and elsewhere and so establish a principled basis for truly human relations and conditions of life worthy of humans. Failing to act in the face of the obvious and self-evident mutilation and extermination of a people must make us all of us watching complicit in murder. To remain silent would be a crime against humanity. Only the most concerted effort to oppose this injustice can free us from that charge of complicity in the day to day murder of several generations of dispossessed people and from the burden of responsibility which weighs like a nightmare upon the conscience of all thinking people.

Through this bold action, for which there is an obvous precedent in the work of those Free Gaza Movement, which have led several humanitarian missions to Gaza, even amidst the onslaught. These people have to be saluted and their courage celebrated. These people must be supported. New possibilities for real solidarity and friendship open up, barriers can be smashed by the force of our growing collective will and organisation, if we are courageous enough to cross the barrier of our own fear and inhibition, we can overcome the inertia and numbness and despair, we have to get up and go the distance, yes all the way to the battlezone, even if it means marching through the desert again; but we can and will impact on the resolution of the present crisis by addressing it as a priority in our time, as we must, to bring the necessary pressure of mass action to bear where it must.

This will be the true test of our humanity. We have to redouble our efforts and bring our people out in numbers.

Your friend Jade

28 01 2009
Jade Lennon

Just to Let You All Know International Solidarity Is Alive and Well

Galloway Launches Aid Convoy Launched for Gaza

RESPECT MP George Galloway has said he is “determined” to take 100 vehicles loaded with aid from London to the Palestinian territory to help those affected by the recent conflict. Speaking at the Gaza Conference in Rochdale, Mr Galloway, who is also vice-president of the Stop the War Coalition, said: “I am here to gather support for the convoy.

“There is an urgent need to get aid to the Palestinian people. The convoy will also demonstrate that Britain is not Gordon Brown, it’s not the BBC, but to show that, I believe, millions of people care deeply.

“It is an emergency and we have to react in a suitably urgent way and that is what we are doing.” Mr Galloway said that the convoy so far included 24 trucks, six ambulances and one fire engine.

He said: “No-one will send a vehicle that is not filled with items including pyjamas, clothes and blankets. I’m determined we will have 100 vehicles.” He said the convoy was supported by trade unions and community organisations and would leave London on February 14 and said he would be there when it leaves.

On Saturday the BBC was criticised after it said it would not screen an emergency appeal for Gaza, after ITV, Channel 4 and Five all announced they would show it.

BBC director general Mark Thompson has rejected a plea from International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander to screen the appeal, warning that a broadcast could compromise the impartiality of the BBC’s reporting from the Palestinian territory.

Article from (c) Press Association Ltd. 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Details on Solidarity Aid Convoy for Gaza Leaves on Valentines Day – details can be found on this page: http://vivapalestina.org

10 03 2009
Jade Lennon

THE SIEGE IS BROKEN…
ON THE DAY THE PROPHET WAS BORN

Viva Palestina Update
15.30 (GMT) Monday 9th March 2009

And they entered side by side like heroes, some on foot some in their vehicles, tears, smiles, hugs, flowers. It was historic, it was legendary. Gaza we are here. We have fulfilled the promise – Viva Palestina! The lifeline from the people of Britain to you, the people of Gaza, has arrived.

We have broken the barriers, we have opened closed borders, we have defied the odds,we have overcome the challenges across thousands of miles and three continents. We are here to be with you, to embrace you, to share your tragedy with you.

After another morning of intense negotiations, a deal was reached to allow all of the members of the convoy to go through. In the end, Viva Palestina had to make the sacrifice of agreeing that some vehicles will have to cross the border from the Al Ouja Israeli controlled crossing point. This includes our mascot, the fire engine and the boat. This was due to the restrictions imposed by Egyptian law governing the Rafah Crossing.

A tearful Talat Ali told me that ‘Rafah is the most beautiful crossing in the world’, he also said that the time , effort and sacrifices put in by all the Viva Palestina family meant that history has been made today – on the day the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was born.

George Galloway made an emotional speech thanking the people of Gaza for the wonderful reception and assuring them that for Viva Palestina and in our millions, “WE ARE ALL PALESTINIANS!” George also reiterated that the people of Palestine have voted and that their voice should be respected.

Today the convoy will head along the Salah Eddine road towards Gaza City witnessing along the way the destruction and death caused by the Israeli war machine. Along the way they will be greeted by the people of Gaza who will know that Viva Palestina is here and that they will NEVER BE ALONE.

Farid Arada

10 03 2009
Jade Lennon

BREAKING THE SIEGE
THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

Viva Palestina Update
00.00 (GMT) Tuesday 10th March 2009

The Viva Palestina convoy drove slowly along the Salah Eddine road leading to Gaza City taking in the atmosphere around them and savouring the moment of history they had just created.

Along the way, thousands of Palestinians, the other heroes of this beautiful story of resistance, defiance and hope approached every vehicle kissing, touching, hugging the bravest of Britain. They handed their babies, their young children, to the convoy members so that they could be embraced, as if the angels were in town. Drenched in flowers, tears were flowing on both sides.

Further up the road, they could see people coming out of their tents and the ruins of their destroyed homes running towards them, rubbing their eyes in disbelief that the siege has been broken and they were not alone.

In Gaza City, it was jubilations and celebrations tonight where the guests of honour did not want to be considered as guests – but as part of the ever-growing Gaza family. The Gaza authorities have organised a rally in honour of Viva Palestina and a program of activities that includes a tour of the damaged areas including schools, hospitals and other amenities.

Some support members of Viva Palestina who managed to cross on foot after a ten-hour wait at the border are staying at Rafah tonight as guests of the Gaza governing authorities. Unfortunately, some other members are still awaiting permission to cross. They are hoping that the Egyptians will allow them to join their friends tomorrow.

An eventful day, with a roller-coaster of emotions, is drawing to an close. Tomorrow Viva Palestina will tour Gaza to see, at first hand, the plight of one and half million people in the densest concentration of people per square kilometre on the globe.

They will report on the scale of the calamity in what, in reality, is the world’s biggest concentration camp, where people have endured a never-ending siege and where they have nowhere to run when the F16s decide to play their deadly game with the children of Gaza.

Farid Arada
http://www.vivapalestina.org.uk

10 03 2009
Jade Lennon

We are All Palestinians

Yes my friends, what started as a far-fetched proposal two months ago to physically take the humanitairan aid to Gaza in order to higlight the plight of the people and to create the momentum to break the siege, the convoy finally crossed into Gaza Monday 8th March. The material aid delivered yesterday is surely not as significant as the political significance of this act of defiance and show of international solidarity, because surely the international volunteers have created a new precedent, have hoisted a new beacon and raised the standard. They have shown that we are not powerless and we are not reduced merely to protest against the injustices of this world. We can and will fight back, Long Live the Palestinian cause! We, the resistance movements of the world must bring down the Wall, must permanently undo the siege, must build the necessary solidarity and links to advance out struggle. Let not forget that the movement was initiated and led by the socialists. To the ‘vanguards’ who rejected the proposal and refused us the political support, we can only say with that elusive rebel, Commandante Marcos, that ‘I shit on all the self-appointed vanguard of the worlds’.

Forward to the victory of the working class.




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