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I have a parallel blog in French at http://anniebannie.net

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December 29, 2010

GAZAN YOUTH’S MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE

Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16’s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in; we are like lice between two nails living a nightmare inside a nightmare, no room for hope, no space for freedom. We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, homemade fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.
There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalizing this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope. The final drop that made our hearts tremble with frustration and hopelessness happened 30rd November, when Hamas’ officers came to Sharek Youth Forum, a leading youth organization (www.sharek.ps) with their guns, lies and aggressiveness, throwing everybody outside, incarcerating some and prohibiting Sharek from working. A few days later, demonstrators in front of Sharek were beaten and some incarcerated. We are really living a nightmare inside a nightmare. It is difficult to find words for the pressure we are under. We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. They did not get rid of Hamas, as they intended, but they sure scared us forever and distributed post traumatic stress syndrome to everybody, as there was nowhere to run.
We are youth with heavy hearts. We carry in ourselves a heaviness so immense that it makes it difficult to us to enjoy the sunset. How to enjoy it when dark clouds paint the horizon and bleak memories run past our eyes every time we close them? We smile in order to hide the pain. We laugh in order to forget the war. We hope in order not to commit suicide here and now. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the earth. During the last years Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. We are a generation of young people used to face missiles, carrying what seems to be a impossible mission of living a normal and healthy life, and only barely tolerated by a massive organization that has spread in our society as a malicious cancer disease, causing mayhem and effectively killing all living cells, thoughts and dreams on its way as well as paralyzing people with its terror regime. Not to mention the prison we live in, a prison sustained by a so-called democratic country.
History is repeating itself in its most cruel way and nobody seems to care. We are scared. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We are afraid of living, because every single step we take has to be considered and well-thought, there are limitations everywhere, we cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want, sometimes we even cant think what we want because the occupation has occupied our brains and hearts so terrible that it hurts and it makes us want to shed endless tears of frustration and rage!
We do not want to hate, we do not want to feel all of this feelings, we do not want to be victims anymore. ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want!
We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask? We are a peace movement consistent of young people in Gaza and supporters elsewhere that will not rest until the truth about Gaza is known by everybody in this whole world and in such a degree that no more silent consent or loud indifference will be accepted.
This is the Gazan youth’s manifesto for change!
We will start by destroying the occupation that surrounds ourselves, we will break free from this mental incarceration and regain our dignity and self respect. We will carry our heads high even though we will face resistance. We will work day and night in order to change these miserable conditions we are living under. We will build dreams where we meet walls.
We only hope that you – yes, you reading this statement right now! – can support us. In order to find out how, please write on our wall or contact us directly: freegazayouth@hotmail.com
We want to be free, we want to live, we want peace.
FREE GAZA YOUTH!

source

Christmas resistance activities in Palestine: The best Christmas ever

I have spent 26 Christmases in our homeland but never had a more meaningful one than this one.   In the traditional 12 days of the holiday season, we finished with class work at Bethlehem University.  My masters’ students and my undergraduate students did very well throughout the semester as they evolved their critical thinking and analytical skills and developed admirable self-confidence.  Then the holidays came and with them came people
from around the world to join in our struggle for freedom.
In particular 73 French activists joined with others to attend and participate in a number of direct actions that challenge the colonial structure.
Starting on 22-23 December in Jerusalem, the group participated in direct action and other
events in Shaikh Jarrah, Silwan, and ethnically cleansed villages behind the
green line. After two nights in Jerusalem focusing on the increased
pressures to isolate and destroy life for the remaining inhabitants of this Palestinian city, the activists were to come to Al-Walaja village (a village that suffers from colonial settlement activities on the small percentage of its land that remains after Israel took over 75%).  The Israeli apartheid army tried in vain to prevent the event from happening from preventing a bus company from transporting activists to blocking the road to the village to threatening people in the village.  Strong will and creative on-the-spot triumphed maneuvers frustrated the army’s maneuver and all did in through
other means to hold a huge demonstration of at least 200 people
(Palestinians and Internationals including some Israelis). Not allowing empty buses to come to pick the demonstrators, we still managed to get everyone out safely to go the manger square for the traditional Christmas procession. With over 50 volunteers wearing bright yellow vests (Handala and Free Palestine prominently printed on them), we distributed over 2000 ‘Christmas Cards’ to the Christian pilgrims.  The cards referred to the wish for peace with justice and linked to the Kairos document, a call by Palestinian Christians issued a year ago (see http://www.kairospalestine.ps

Later in the afternoon, we traveled to Beit Jala where we shared putting-up a Christmas tree at the home of Abu Michel, a Christian whose land was taken over for the apartheid wall.  Then onto Aida refugee camp for a meaningful Christmas Eve with refugees. Christmas day was spent mostly in Hebron old city including in a demonstration against the racist settlers who continue to attempt to destroy the old city.  The occupation authorities used tear
gas and stun grenades and kidnapped two internationals (French and a Scottish, both released later at night). Some Internationals joined us in the candle light march in the Shepherds’ field that evening (over 2000 attended, a marvelous event; here is a video of it

The next morning, activists went to Qalandia checkpoint and protested the Israeli army preventing Palestinians from entering Jerusalem.  A Palestinian and nine French activists were detained and many were beaten and injured (video here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCpB54gcvUc ).  
That afternoon, a tree planting event near the wall in Bil’in was met with Israeli tear gas and
stun grenades (video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6uqb9ZuuCY ). 

Later in the evening, we had an evening of camaraderie and solidarity despite attempts to politicize the event by some. The next day, the
delegation visited Nablus (see photos at
http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5724 ) and on the way back stopped by Beitil and had a demonstration against the closure of roads inside the west bank to Palestinian travel (photos at
http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5721 ). Two were detained and several injuries were reported due to the Israeli assault on the peaceful demonstration.  All detained in these various demonstrations were mistreated
but were eventually released.

I urge all to come visit us and see what is happening in the “little town of
Bethlehem”: 170,000 people nearly half of them are refugees crowded into 13%
of the original district size of Bethlehem and surrounded by 27 ft high
walls and electrified fences.   Many people describe it as a Ghetto or a
Bantustan (and the Israeli government calls such remaining Palestinian areas
in the Negev and elsewhere as concentration areas).  But on the positive
side, the pressure of the occupation and the test of us make us better human
beings. The hundreds of internationals that participated in these activities
told us how honored and leased they were by having shared a meaningful
holiday season with us. Energized, we now planned much bigger activities for
this summer (stay tuned).  Similarly, the Palestinians who participated in
the demonstrations or who even simply hosted internationals in their homes
or who even saw us on TV or read about us in newspapers all felt a sense of
hope and empowerment.  For me personally, having a house full of
internationals sleeping everywhere eating together, working together, being
attacked by occupation authorities together was the best Christmas gift.
Come to think of it, that is what the message of that prince of peace born
over two millennia years ago was about. We are the descendents of those
first believing Shepherds who saw the star and believed in Jesus. Jesus born
in a country called Palestine was thus Palestinian by birth but when he grew
up he also challenged a Jewish ruler (Herod) put in place by a Western
government.  History does repeat itself although with some variation but the
message of love and peace will eventually triumph. This Christmas from here
in the Shepherds’ field just down the hill from the Church of Nativity, we
sang “this in my heart, I do believe.we shall overcome someday” .. Merry
Christmas.
——————-
My wish this Christmas by Saed Bannoureh http://imemc.org/article/60149
Peace on Earth, even in Palestine! By Mazin Qumsiyeh
http://www.qumsiyeh.org/peaceoneartheveninpalestine/
Palestine: Yet People Celebrate (Christmas 2010)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0wpyhHFOTg
Another Christmas under Siege in the Holy Land By Father Dr. Faisal Hijazin
(Parish Priest of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Ramallah)
http://windowintopalestine.blogspot.com/2010/12/another-christmas-under-sieg
e-in-holy.html

For more on us Christians here, please visit
http://www.qumsiyeh.org/christianlinks/
——————
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Author of “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of hope and
empowerment”
http://qumsiyeh.org

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