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Archive for March, 2012

On Sunday 19th March, We travelled to Rafah area of Gaza to remember Rachel , whose 9th Anniversary fell on March 16th. Rachel  was a 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on 16 March 2003, while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition. We first attended an olive planting ceremony attended by Palestinian schoolchildren and organised by the Ministry of Sport and Youth. A speech was read by Nathan , on behalf of the International Solidarity Movement  which included excerpts from Rachel’s letters home in which she portrayed her admiration and love of the Palestinian people. The school children sang song’s and held  up posters of Rachel and messages of solidarity.

In the afternoon, we went to the Rachel Corrie Children’s  Centre, also in Rafah.

After Rachel’s  untimely death in March 2003, the Union of Health Work Committees named their clinic and children’s center after her. The Children’s Center is dedicated to building relationships between the isolated children and youth in Rafah and their peers in other countries.

The Children’s Center provides creative and educational opportunities to the children of Rafah City and Rafah refugee camp. They hold art classes, summer camps and a variety of after-school programs.The children attending range from 6 -11 years old, boy’s and girl’s.  They work , through play to help children, perhaps withdrawn or falling behind in school due to  the experience of living under a siege, They also work frequently with mothers of the children to better help them  to help their children open up about their troubles through  interactive role playing and projects.

In December 2003, The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)  ,   provided start-up funds to purchase furniture, art supplies, and computers for the new center. Since then they have supplied back-packs with school supplies for the children at the center and continued to support their diversifying programs. In 2007, they  bought educational toys and games and new furnishings for their children’s playroom and donated the books for their children’s library.

We joined in as they cut out and decorated banners with posters of Rachel glued in the centre, We divided in to teams for their game of ” Sharks and Fishes”. Slowly throughout the afternoon , the children themselves became less shy and little hands would sneak in to mine, or tussles would begin to see who got a turn to sit beside us or on my knee, slightly more confident ones would insist jeff took their pictures, others wanted to be on Derek’s team, some of the little girls wanted to come home with me, even the smallest, most timid,  little girl of the group made her way finally over to me and ended up sitting on my knee and kissing and hugging me . The children put on demonstrations, songs and games for us and invited us to join in. The children’s only outdoor play  area is a small playground in Rafah, very close to the tunnel and border area so they do not manage to use this area very often.

My heart would break when ever I would remember the atrocities these kids have already seen in their short lives, the nightmares some still have and the possibility that each day could bring more bad images and memories, but the help and support  centre’s like this can offer gives us all some hope

As always, sadly, more and more children require the use of  a facility like this and funds and equipment are always needed. These children opened up their centre to us, laughed as we tried our best to fit in with their games, gave us the privilege of spending a few hours with them…… wore us out basically !!!!

It was an Honour and a Privilege to be part of their lives  as it was an honour to be In Gaza on the occasion to commemorate not just the Death, but the life of a young Activist, Rachel, who will never be forgotten by Palestinian’s young and old and by those of us who never met , but came to know her through her stories of Palestine and her own life story.

R.I.P Rachel ..

Pictures by Jeff Bright

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Happy St. Patricks day,

to Irish and friends of Irish everywhere, from Irish in Gaza !!

 

Sásta naomh Pádraig lá go Gaeilge agus cairde na Gaeilge i ngach áit as gaeilge i nGaza

 

 Happy saint patricks 
لاصدقاء ايرلندا في كل مكان ..من ايرلنديين في غزة
Derek, Jenny and Jeff

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Many Thanks to the wonderful Sabine in Germany for sharing.

 

Please take a listen……..Music and video are both powerful.

In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called “The New Black”. The song is taken from The Mavrix’ upcoming album,”Pura Vida”, due for release in June 2012.

 

 

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Wednesday 14-03-2012,

A little good news and Nice photo’s . Do you all remember the New Gaza sailing school?        http://wp.me/psaGo-tv

Needless to say, there has not been too many classes this week but the 3 students who left Gaza began their training in Cairo before heading of to Algeria.

The boys had very little practical experience, and what they had was in a Catamaran that’s in much need of repair, BUT, their instructor in Cairo was well impressed with their knowledge of boats, their awareness of the sea and the rules of racing and was even impressed at their ability to incorporate what they had learned in to the practical aspects of sailing!

Mahfouz, Derek and myself are very proud of them and wish them all the best in Algeria !!

As always, your support in all ways for these projects in Gaza is always appreciated, to get in touch , email  jennygraham7@gmail.com, or to donate to help the sailing school or any other of our projects there is a donate/paypal button on the top of each post or contact the email address for bank details.

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IS IT ENOUGH YET?

Monday, 12-3-2012,

Monday Morning, the start of a new week in many countries, saw no new start in Gaza. After a brief calmness last night, the skies filled with the buzzing sounds of many drones and the roaring sounds of the F16’s. Loud explosions were heard clearly signalling the resuming of fresh attacks. Standing on the balcony,I saw the sky flash in to a blaze of orange, this was quickly followed by a report of a large explosion in Jabalia. A four storey house had just been hit, up to 25 people, mostly women and sleeping children and babies had been injured, Medic’s  described the scene in Kamal Adwan hospital as distressing., and this is from medics who have seen many terrible things.

REPORTS COMING IN:

Red Crescent building in Jabalia suffers severe damage.

Early morning reports of  at least 2 more injured in east Gaza.

A 15 year old boy Nayif Shaaban Qarmout,  killed in a  playground near his school in  Beit Lahiya,  as a result schools in Northern Gaza are now closing until further notice.

A 65 year old  father and his 30 year old daughter killed in BeitLahiya, confirmed, death toll at lunch time Monday has reached 23 with at least 65 injured !!

IS IT ENOUGH YET?

Further reports throughout the day of  explosions and rocket attacks , Palestinian resistance fighters fired grad missiles towards southern Israel. In Gaza city, 2 young men killed, one 20 years old, one 21 years old.

10p.m. Monday night, fresh attacks on Rafah, a town near the egyptian border.  Medics report 2 more killed in east Gaza city.

Israeli Tanks line up along the border at Erez as Ynet newspaper reports that Israel is prepared for a ground offensive

“The IDF is prepared for any development, including a situation where we are forced to launch a ground operation,” the IDF official said. “We have everything we need and are ready to step it up if needed. There are many measures that we haven’t employed yet.””

Total number of martyrs and wounded since the start of the aggression so far: 25 martyrs and more than 85 wounded, including 27 children, 13 girls and five elderly people, in more than 37 air raid on the Gaza Strip since Friday evening.

Children are now being hurt and killed, schools must close because of fear for their safety, their childhood is again being filled with memories of war, destruction and violence………… WHEN IS IT ENOUGH !!?

Pictures by Jeff Bright, Facebook Page, Jeffrey Bright Photojournalist

WARNNG : EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGES, VIEWERS DISCRETION IS STRONGLY ADVISED.

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(Previously)..Generator fuel runs out at 1.00 am, so we get a few hours restless sleep until we are shaken from our beds again by a huge bang …………………………………….. the destruction somewhere in  Gaza continues….

The situation in Gaza , the Aggression on Gaza, the destruction and killing in Gaza  continued in to Saturday. From early morning reports came in of attacks all over, not that any of us has to wait for a report, Gaza is such a small area that nobody misses the noise of the bombs, the buzzing of the drones, the explosions. By early morning , the death toll had reached 13 with more than 21 injured.

At  lunchtime a  drone attack  targets a motor cycle in Khan Younis leaving  2 more martyrs.

An hour or so later, a plea goes out online : “Gaza blood bank urges citizens to donate blood urgently!” ( This is an ongoing plea to anyone in Gaza!)

As we are preparing to head to the Hospital to donate blood, a Massive explosion literally rocks our living area in our apartment, from the kitchen window we see a huge plume of smoke, we run to the roof and see another massive plume of smoke rising, this explosion was on the beach road ,report of  3 killed!

Medics report  1 martyr and  a number of injuries including critical situations in the  targeting of a motorcycle near a school in Rafah.All day the reports continue, bombings in the west or  shelling in the south, explosions in Gaza city, rockets in the north.The numbers of the dead and injured rise regularly as the families of those killed Friday begin to bury their dead.

But even here, in a time of grief and unimaginable pain, the attacks continue. As  mourners were taking part in the funeral procession and burial ceremony of some of those killed in Israeli air raids, 4 Gazans were injured by Israeli gunfire near the Martyrs cemetery east of Gaza near the border fence. Gaza is not even allowed bury their dead in peace.

The funeral takes place of the martyr Ahmad Salem 24 years old, killed in tank shelling in Gaza……Ahmad had only been married for 2 days.

Israeli warplanes carry out mock air raids over Gaza. Drones are flying in the sky. The F16’s constantly break the sound barrier causing ” sonic booms: (A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion.) 

For the rest of the day and into Sunday rockets fly from Israel to Gaza and from Gaza to Israel. Drones hover low in the skies, Planes break the sound barrier, apache helicopters  open fire .

Sunday morning, 7 a.m, as Ayyoup Asaleyah and his 7 year old cousin were making their way to school in Jabalia camp, Ayyoup was killed by an Israeli raid and his cousin badly injured………..Ayyoup was 12 years old!

Since last Friday, Israeli warplanes have carried out 24 air strikes, killing 19 people  and injuring over 35 so far.
Over 100 retaliatory projectiles and rockets including long-range Grad type have been fired from Gaza by Palestinian resistance groups.

As we write, rockets and projectiles from both sides  are much less frequent and for now a calmness  seems to be over Gaza as talks  circulate about a ceasefire mediated by Egypt.

Viewers may find some images disturbing.:

Picures By Jeff bright. FaceBook: Jeffrey Bright Photojournalist:

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March 9th 2012, Gaza

Approximately,  4.00 p.m  First  Drone attack in Tel-el-hawa area of Gaza city, 2 confirmed dead, 2 injured, but this is just the beginning of a day of slaughter, murder and destruction,

By 5.30 p.m., after another drone attack in Zeytoun area , Gaza city, the death toll reaches 4  and will continue to rise….

A day of bombardment from air , sea and land, The martyred and injured taken to Al Shifa. To  the North,  South,  East and West and everywhere in between, no where escaped. Loud explosions constantly rattled the windows and shook the building. Sirens pierced the already filled Gaza skies. Tomorrow will be a day of funerals, repair, and most likely despair, assuming it is not another day of mass killing and destruction of an already hurt land and people. Those of us still safe enough to post online do our best to keep everyone informed as we are not so foolish anymore to believe the “mainstream media” will give us any news time !

A  CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS.

To add to the pressure, we lose power by 10.30, some of us were lucky enough to have gotten a small refill for the generators, but others are not. So , not only can Gazans’  not report their stories, share their fears or spread word of an attack, many can now no longer keep check on friends and family members. At Al shifa hospital the injured keep coming……..but the power outage now hinders the treatment of the injured.

Al Shifa Hospital: Friday 9th march 2012, A continuous stream of Ambulance carries the bodies of the Martyrs to the morgue.  Outside the morgue was a scene of chaos, coupled with grief and anger, .

The father of one of the Martyrs sits on the ground outside, oblivious to the crowds surrounding him, his eyes vacant and empty, he will never see the world the same again.  His other son stands near him, shaking violently, protecting his father from the journalists and reporters, a bottle of water is the only form of comfort Derek can offer him, there are no words in any language that will make tonight acceptable.

The injured arrive by ambulance, by car and in the arms of family and friends, as the bombs continued to land within metres of the hospital.

By 9.30,  Confirmed death toll reaches 5…

At Al Shifa hospital the injured keep coming……..

Does nobody care?  When did the wanton killing and destruction of a land and it’s people become acceptable?  Since when is it ok to scare children, deny them sleep, safe haven or a decent childhood?

By 11.30, Confirmed death toll reaches 6….

The hospitals in Gaza are  already in dire need of medicine and equipment , blood supply runs shorter,  the water is polluted, the fuel has all but finished, the electricity is intermittent at best, the siege is strangling the people and now this.

By 12.00 am , Confirmed death toll is 7…

The drones fly low over the night sky, the explosions are now less frequent but nobody is relaxing or being lulled in to any false sense of security, Gaza is awake and will not sleep tonight

2 more loud explosions to the west, medics report difficulty  reaching the injured and possible dead because of the power outage.

12.30 am, The Area close to Palestinian Legislative council building has just been targeted, 3 dead many more injured. Gaza city under repeated attack Warplanes  now attacking northern Gaza.

12.45 , Confirmed death toll now reaches 10

Large explosion close to  El Nuzeirat refugee camp , home to 66,000 refugees.

1.00 a.m. Confirmed Death toll reaches 12

Generator fuel runs out at 1.00 am, so we get a few hours restless sleep until we are shaken from our beds again by a huge bang …………………………………….. the destruction somewhere in Gaza continues.

Photographs by Jeff Bright. FB: Jeffrey Bright photojournalist.

Some viewers may find images disturbing.

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