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Red crescent declares state of emergency. Fear and tension rises in the Gaza strip as the threat of yet another onslaught intensifies.The world, the same voices who reiterated the words ‘NEVER AGAIN ” yesterday, obviously were being selective as to who they spoke for. #eyeswideshut #israeliimpunity#eyesongaza
Love, solidarity, eyes, ears and my heart is with you all. #palestine #gazastrip

Irish in Gaza paypal link:    http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

 

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Photo credit: Bashar Taleb

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36890691_10212150310576262_2653229344322748416_nI, like so many others worldwide, have watched and hoped, and thanked the bravery of the rescuers in Thailand for the successful ending to the young football teams saga. But, I like others still cry for the hundreds of other children worldwide who die needlessly in war, conflict,  for the ignorance, and arrogance of politics, greed, and corruption. Derek and I  have personally carried the bodies of young children and babies to their graves, We have seen the body parts of victims of war scattered apart from the young souls of way too many, been handed lifeless bodies wet from a perilous sea journey, a journey fraught with danger and with a likelihood of death but which was still the safer option than staying home.

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Sadly, this is not a blog post on past events, it still happens. There are over 2,138 deaths in this year, 2018 alone. 2,138 is the official figure up to July 11th but I promise you, I know, there are so many more never recorded, never counted, never named but somewhere, someone will mourn.

We have spent the last few months in Ireland, for differing reasons, but now we need to get back to offering whatever help we can. We know what we do is not massive, not brave nor groundbreaking, but we will continue to do so as long as we are needed or physically can. We still believe that we as a nation, we as internationals, we as humanitarians or simply we as humans have a right,  a duty or just enough of a conscience to want to do the right thing, to better ourselves, our world for our own children, grandchildren , for all our families to come, and regardless of geography, religion, skin colour language or belief we are or should be all in this together.

Smile and feel relief and sheer happiness for the young football team in Thailand, their teammates, their families. Feel proud to be part of a world who still have people strong enough, brave enough, good enough to do the right thing, then perhaps wonder why it’s not the same for all children. It should be, It can be…

If you are in a position to support us once more, Our plan is to head back to the refugee camps in August. We have always asked for and thankfully received your support and help. All your donations go directly 100% to where they are needed in the camps, nothing is used on advocacy, administration and definitely not spent on us, we cover our own expenses and over the last 12 years have learned to live very simply to keep our own costs down. We would really appreciate any and all help you can give us once more, either via donation, by sharing the post or by simply staying in touch with us via facebook, twitter, email or blog.

As always, with thanks, Derek and Jenny

https://www.gofundme.com/cyprus-camp-campaign     GO FUND ME

http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by       PAYPAL

Or get in touch for bank details.

 

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Last 3 pictures by Chios Eastern Shore Response Team – CESRT

 

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11/june/2018, Galway County Council offices.

So proud to have been in Galway today as Galway County Council became the fourth Irish local authority to support BDS after Derry, Dublin and Donegal.

The motion, moved by Cllr. Billy Cameron of the Labour Party, in full: “The state of Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights and has refused to comply with international law; noting also that Israel continues to illegally occupy and colonise Palestinian land, discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, imposes an inhumane blockade and siege of Gaza and denies Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes, Galway City Council fully supports and endorses the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for freedom, equality and justice.”

 

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The world and its conscience has once again let down the Palestinians of Gaza. Their lives, their homes and their lands are being  ripped apart, destroyed by a callous and highly backed occupation force of which the leaders of the world are backing and again capitulating to. The Palestinian people, as with all nations, have a right to defend themselves. Resistance to an aggressor , an aggressor made of steel and bombs, is human nature, an inbuilt instinct in all of us, to defend our loved ones, our homes and our lives. The slow genocidal killing by 17 hour electricity cuts in 40 degree heat, the polluted water system, shortage of fresh foods, low or no wages and a high percentage of post traumatic stress related ailments, high cancer and diabetic statistics with a constant shortage of medicines and medical equipment is now compounded with an above average,( even for Gaza) need for medical attention after a six-week onslaught by Israel during the great march of return. I refuse to call it clashes at the border, as one would assume from using the word “clashes ” there would be injury or death on both sides… there isn’t.

Palestinians : 118 dead and over 13,190 injured
Israeli :1 slightly wounded[7]
(as of 21 May 2018)

And to use the word “Border” when speaking of Israel? what Border? Israel have never defined their border? Any of their borders!

 

Most of us feel useless, wondering what if anything we can do? Is it ever enough? My answer is always NO. It will be enough once Palestine is free. For now though, despite feeling like this, we can’t and shouldn’t give up. The resilience of the Palestinian people, their determination never to give up should be ample encouragement to continue to do what little we can. Make your voices heard, write, blog, shout, find a platform, wave a flag… and always always Boycott.

 

Derek and I have left part of us in Gaza, We will return as soon as it is remotely possible which it is not now. We have been in Ireland now for a few months, family was the priority for us in the last while but feel now is the time to get back to doing what we are good at…. and we are only good at it because of the massive and unyielding support of so many.

KOFINOU REFUGEE CAMP’

Kofinou refugee camp in southern Cyprus is pretty much an all but forgotten state-run camp, rarely mentioned,rarely documented. It was opened in 2004 to host a maximum of 120 people but now hosts ( badly) a minimum of 400. Most of those seeking refuge there are middle eastern , quite a percentage being Palestinian, and African. There is no determined time limit on their stay and so many have been there, quietly fighting the system but coming up against NGO and state red tape, for months or years.The living conditions are well below standard acceptance with raw sewage running between tin containers, freezers in winter and hot boxes in summer.The raw sewage is an ongoing problem with a pond of stagnant water next to some of the “Houses”. The Cypriot authorities have admitted to the isolated camp being a “mistake” in interviews but despite this nothing has been done to rectify, improve or move the camp.

Kofinou camp is situated as far away from the rest of society as possible, by chance or design I dont know, but after being in other camps, none surrounded by a opportunity to integrate or feel welcome too easily, I do wonder..

And so, we prepare to travel, to offer whatever assistance we can, to at least let the world know what is still happening, to let at least those in this camp, regardless of nationality, know some of us care, some of us are listening and some of us are aware. We have some ideas of what we can and want to do there, but we always remain fluid to adapt to circumstances once we get there. We expect the usual bureaucracy and resistance of authorities on arrival but feel sure we can be of some little help so will do whatever needed to get into the camp and remain for as long as possible.

No dates are set yet, but sooner rather than later. We will again set up our paypal account and go fund me page and will plead and pray for your support once again as together we take on another mission .

We will update further as we make plans and set dates etc, Though we will remain in Ireland for a few weeks yet. Thank you in advance for all you have already done for us, and we hope we can continue to support each other in any way possible,

Derek and Jenny Graham.

GO FUND ME:  https://www.gofundme.com/cyprus-camp-campaign

PAYPAL          :  http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by    Paypal     ( jennygraham7@gmail.com)

If you prefer direct bank transfer, please email or pm Facebook ( jenny Graham) for details

Thank you ….

 

 

 

 

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Picture and Sculpture by Mohamed AbuAmro, One of Palestine’s Martyrs, 30/3/2018

Palestinians did not die in Gaza, Land day 2018. Their lives, like their lands , were stolen from them. Their blood and the blood of the hundreds of injured seeped in to a ground already drenched with the blood of so many , the sweat of their forebearer’s, the tears of their children and the cries of so many.

The world watched again as Israel targeted, shot, maimed and killed. Snippets were shown or mentioned on mainstream media channels with wording such as, “clashes on Israeli border”. The truth is Israeli occupation forces rained down tear gas, used live ammunition, snipers chose their prey and in a deliberate and obvious breach of International law, cowardly dropped tear gas canisters from remote controlled drones onto Palestinian land and  so it continued, all day. Palestinians were standing, marching , chanting for their right to their lands, villages, homes.  Stolen…Taken… Destroyed.

Israel did so with total impunity, there will be no consequences apart from a few meaningless statements , no expulsions , no tribunals, no sanctions, Nothing.

But, What the world seems to forget is they are up against the resilience of the Palestinian people. Palestine runs through their blood, the blood in their veins and the blood spilled yesterday and on so many other yesterdays.. It nourishes the ground, the foundations of all they are and it provides the strength to continue to resist, to insist on right of humanity, right of peace, right of homeland and #RIGHT OF RETURN.!!

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I do not have the names of all the Palestinian’s martyred yesterday but those I do have deserve I name with honour.

Mohammad Al-Najjar
Waheed Abu Sammour 
Ameen Abu Mo’mar
Mohammad Abu Amr
Hamad Ouda
Mahmoud Ruhmi
Eyad Andellal
Jehad Farena
Abdelfattah Abdelnaby
Ibrahim Abu Shaa’r
Jehad Al-Najjar
Abdelkader Al-Hawajry
Sary Abu Ouda
Hamdan Abu Amsha

According to the ministry of health in #Gaza:
Types of injuries in the first day of #GreatMarchofReturn:
– 758 live bullets.
– 148 Rubber.
– 422 Tear gas inhalation.
– 88 Other.

 

All pictures are taken from the facebook pages of

Nader R Abdelnaby,

Walid Mahmoud

Shehab news Agency

Mohammed Matter and

Mohamed AbuAmr.

 

 

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#saltwaterchallenge In solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. Samos refugee camp, Greece, 2017

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I have watched for years now as people pick up a clipboard, put on a badge and a vest and turn humanity into a business using people seeking refugee or help as a commodity for business. I see the intolerance and impatience shown to those merely asking for help. I hear the numbers being called instead of a name, I see the queues been formed for the daily conveyor belt of something resembling food to be handed out without even looking up, the muted or very sharp conversations being held through wire fences with those seeking assistance on one side and those with the option to help, usually with hot coffee in one hand and a G4S security man beside them, on the other side. I see the woman fighting to do her best for her child. She has fled war and unimaginable atrocities so standing her ground to get what she needs is not going to deter her and certainly not by the person with the clipboard who has now donned a pair of disposable gloves and a surgical mask because the child’s hair is not shiny, or her nails are not clean or the clothes she is wearing have certainly seen better days.  Or the man with his wheelchair bound mother who he has just pushed up the steep incline of Samos camp as her name had been called out over the inaudible tannoy system, just to be told by someone he is too late and come back tomorrow. So we sit with them, if possible get them what they need, play with the child, ask their name, make a cup of tea for the woman in the wheelchair and promise the man we will come back to help him the next day…because this is what I would expect someone to do for me or mine…

There are always people in need. Although many of the problems of the camp are the same and not something we can fix, there are also individuals. They are people not just numbers en masse! Different stories, hopes, dreams, nightmares, needs, problems, worry concerns. There are medical problems, psychological problems, family problems, there are bad days and good days, there is the hopes dashed, the little hope left for the next interview, the chance of a phone call from home after weeks and weeks. There is the sadness at the death of another family member back home, the joy/sadness of the birth of a new baby whom you may never get to see. There are daily concerns of not having enough to feed your children, the embarrassment of having to ask for sanitary products that may be needed on a day not allocated for them. There is the annoyance of being handed documents in a language you don’t speak and without an interpreter present to help.

We have come through yet another cold wet winter together and will now face into a hot, humid Greek summer. The camp residents are still “living “in canvas tents or in metal container boxes. The heat inside in the summer, as opposed to the freezing cold and wet of the winter, is unbearable. Some of the containers have 20 to 25 people inside; it is the kitchen (for those with a one ring stove and some food), the bedroom, the living area…. It is a tent or a metal container. There is no dressing it up as anything other than that. There is no privacy, little hygiene, no comfort and no way for people to be forced to live for a month or a year. As with previous years, we will be surrounded by hundreds of mosquitoes, the water will be off regularly in the camp, there is little to no shelter or shade from a scorching sun, except of course over the NGO and authorities area of the camp.

We now have a rise in the number of new arrivals. These numbers for sure will rise even further in the next few weeks. Our youngest in the camp at the minute is a beautiful one month old little girl. We have more children coming each week. We also have people in the camp who have now entered their second year of these living conditions… 12 months of living in limbo for daring to ask for help, 12 months of separation from loved ones, 12 months of not knowing if today you will be sent back or someone playing God decides you can live again, but  will decide where…

Because the weather has improved, our café nights are now back to a more social aspect with people finding a chance to sit together and talk. During the wet nights, we literally went tent to tent or container to container to offer at least a hot drink for the terrible nights. Now we are back to juice and games for the children, and groups of adults being able to sit on stools ( there are no stools or chairs in the camp to sit on except for the ones we lay out on these nights) and speak to us, to each other and enjoy a decent cup of coffee with dignity.

But last summer was also the time when these café nights became the place for the new arrivals to integrate into the camp with a bit more dignity than is offered when they first arrive and  given a blanket, a bottle of water and a number stamped on their hand and told to find a tent. Summer time is also the time when the smugglers make most their money by overcrowding not fit for purpose boats leading to many lives being lost at sea. For those of you who have been with us for a while now, even from afar, you will remember the posts we had to write regarding the funerals of the 3 little children, or the families torn apart and lost at sea, the young girl left alone as the only survivor of a shipwreck, the fathers forced to decide where to bury their wives while trying to tend to their grieving children. The nights we sat cradling young distressed children who had witnessed the deaths of loved ones at sea or the night we finally retrieved the bodies of a father and son lost at sea days earlier and so much more unbearable memories.

So we will continue, Derek and I, for a little while longer on this journey with them. Many of you have travelled with us, offered support, at times financial at other times emotional, moral, and physical, some of you since Gaza some of you since Greece. And we need you again, we don’t brandish clipboards or masks ( we do have a to wear a badge for ID in the camp) , and we have always relied on the kindness and support of you all. If you still believe in us, trust in us, we ask for your help once more but desperately and urgently. Our funds are diminishing but the need for help has not.

Can you help, Will you help once again? We have options for donations, PayPal, Go fund me or email us for bank details. We do not spend money on administration; we spend your donations totally on the needs of those you have offered to help. Our expenses are covered by ourselves and are kept to an absolute minimum.  Your support too in sharing our posts, following us online or just staying in touch is also immensely important to us.

So once more, please donate /share /support to help us help those we can.

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https://www.gofundme.com/https-no-more-borders-no-more-tears-2tuhg

http://wp.me/PsaGo-1by

Derek and Jenny.

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