On Friday the Freedom Ride spent the day at Nabi Saleh where villagers hold a weekly protest against the theft of their land.
Sybil sent this report:
“Today we joined the weekly demonstration against the theft of Palestinian land and the settlement that overlooks Nabi Saleh. We marched down the hill and were met by a jeep load of occupation forces, armed to the teeth. They fired dozens of tear gas canisters at us. Some of us managed to walk around the stolen fields.”
“We were very pleased to be joined by several Israeli activists, who come every week.
“We also heard extraordinary stories from the Popular Resistance Committee, many of whose activists are women, including the world’s youngest journalist – Jenna Jihad (9). She has 23,000 followers on Facebook…Join them!”
The activists were then treated to a fantastic spread by the residents of Nabi Saleh where they shared stories and made new friends.
For more information and pictures on the protest check the official blog that’s updated each day.
For more information on the Freedom Ride you can also follow the official blog, which features more detail of what they’re getting up to along with some beautiful pictures by Bryan MacCormack.
After the day’s activities the Freedom Riders and local Palestinians in Fayasel were treated to some playback theatre where actors reenacted personal stories.
The first show was called Platform that the FT had previously performed in the US about a Palestinian-American visiting Palestine for the first time following his travails through airport security, life in the West Bank and his encounters with the Israeli military.
Platform was followed by a performance by the Indian acting company Jana Natya Manch about violence.
And finally the night was finished off with some Playback Theatre where the FT acted out stories that the villagers had experienced including one about a father being unable to buy his daughter a wedding dress due to Israeli checkpoints and another about a woman who hid Palestinian fighters from Israeli soldiers.
Mary Brodin, one our Tower Hamlets campaigners on the Freedom Ride, sent this report:
Large tracts of the Jordan Valley have been falsely declared military zones. Warning signs are erected forbidding entrance to this land. The original farmers are evicted and any that stray on to the area are shot at.
The stolen land far from being used as a military zone is then taken over by settlers and covered in greenhouses producing grapes, flowers and chilli peppers or is planted with mile upon mile of palm trees producing dates.
An elderly couple whose families have lived in the village of Yarza more than 400 years have been shot at. The man still has the bullet lodged in his body. Yarza now has only 60 people living there and has lost its school and transport links.
Every three days low-flying planes monitor to see if the Palestinians have installed new water tanks. Last month they destroyed a hilltop water tank and pipes servicing a couple of villages.
Villagers have to rely on small rusty underground water tanks. They are not allowed to repair the ageing tanks which hold increasingly low levels of water because the water has been diverted to the settlers’ houses and greenhouses.
* To keep up with the Tower Hamlets Palestine Solidarity tour with the Freedom Theatre you can follow this blog by entering your email on the right hand side of this post.
First up was brightening up the community centre the Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) Campaign had built. The idea was to not only make the building look a little brighter, but to get the kids involved with the creativity too.
Tim Sanders, our very own cartoonist, began getting a few ideas down in his sketch book, which soon got the kids’ attention.
Then it was time to try things out for real. So after painting a white canvas on the side of the hut the kids got started. Usama, from the Freedom Theatre, explained to the excited kids that they should paint stories from their lives: friends, family, the animals…
And with a little help from Tim, things started to take shape. But after a while the kids enthusiasm got the better of them and the paint began to fly.
So Doug, our six-foot hackney-based actor, put his height to good use; and held the paint up out of reach.
Once things had calmed down and the kids went off for tea, Tim and Orajit, one of the Indian actors that has flown over from Delhi, finished their artwork in a more orderly fashion.
Tim described the kids as having an “extraordinary and uncontrollable creative energy”. Sybil told us by phone last night that Tim’s artwork and creativity is going down a storm wherever he goes and had made lots of new friends as he sketches everything in sight.
We look forward to seeing the fruits of his work when he returns. We’ll be publishing the best of his work in a series of postcards, posters, prints and a calendar.
Don’t miss this international cultural exchange event!
Featuring: Specially video’d work from young people in Gaza
Scenes of war and peace by UK-based actors
Live video link up with Gaza
Tickets :£10/£8 concessions
Telephone: 020 7613 7498
Book online here or email: email@example.com
This a part of a ten-year (2009-2019) partnership between Az Theatre (London) and Theatre for Everybody (Gaza)
On Friday 9th October, THJFA held a very productive meeting with Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs, Deputy Mayor Rachael Saunders, and Speaker Abdul Mukit.
They all listened with great interest to Yousef Awad from Jenin , who told personal stories about the effects of the Israeli occupation on his life, and we reflected on the current violations that Israel is perpetrating on Palestinians who live under military occupation.
We discussed, in some detail, strengthening the links between our communities, and all were invited to visit Jenin and Palestine. See pictures of the visit here.
September has already been a busy month for THJFA and THPSC activists. We have been protesting at the world’s largest arms fair in London, in which Israel was unsurprisingly prominently featured with its “field tested” missiles, protesting the visit of war criminal Binyamin Netanyahu to London, and at the Wales vs. Israel Euro 2016 qualifier, in which activists demanded that Israel be banned from UEFA until it ends it shameful occupation of the Palestinians.
Local UNISON steward and activist Katie Griffin is taking part in ‘The Big Ride’ – a 9 day bike ride from Edinburgh to London in August to raise money for the Middle East Children’s Alliance, who work with children in Gaza – providing emergency aid, and encouraging participation in play, sport and other activities. If you would like to sponsor Katie go to her just giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/Catherine-Griffin3
On 30th May at 12pm at St. Barnabus Church, James Godfrey from the Campaign Team of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza will be talking about the Freedom Flotilla and how people can support the campaign. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find more details about the event from the Facebook page by clicking here.