TH Palestine Solidarity holds successful events to commemorate Nakba Week

To commemorate Nakba Week in May, we held two successful solidarity events in Tower Hamlets.

Roman Road Market Stall

On Saturday 13th, we held our fourth stall on the Roman Road Market, selling Zaytoun Palestinian produce (olive oil, dates, almonds, and maftoul), which again proved to be very popular.

Profits from the sales contribute towards a range of solidarity work, including future local and cultural exchange activities. Recent examples of donations to groups based in Jenin, the city we hope to one day twin with Tower Hamlets, were reported on here.

Sales of Palestinian produce though is just one benefit of our Roman Road stall. We also secured more than 40 signatures supporting the child prisoners campaign; ensured the Palestinian flag was proudly visible; had many conversations with people who knew more or less about the situation in Israeli occupied Palestine. We also promoted the Monday night event.

Film showing and talk

On Monday 15th, we held a public film night and stall at the Brady Centre, with almost 50 people attending. We screened the British documentary ‘Firefighters Under Occupation’, which was introduced by Lucy Masoud, an official from the Fire Brigades Union, who has witnessed first-hand the experience of fire fighters in occupied Palestine.

The film follows fire fighting units in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jerusalem and the additional challenges they face with limited equipment having to contend with Israeli armed checkpoints and vehicle searches.

The film was followed by a short presentation by Sybil on her recent experience at the Bethlehem Marathon. The evening concluded with a Q&A with both Lucy and Sybil reflecting on what we’d seen and discuss other topical events in Palestine – particularly the hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners, which has since been suspended after securing many of their demands.

Thanks to everyone who participated or helped to organise these events. If you would like to get involved in future events – helping on our next Roman Road stall or on local Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions engagement with shops selling fresh produce on the Roman Road are two live examples – please contact us.

Portrait of Palestine Proves A Popular Sketch of Palestinian Life!

Thank you to everyone who attended our popular art exhibition at Four Corners Gallery, Bethnal Green.

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From Tuesday until Saturday last week, we opened the doors of the gallery to those from afar as well as from our own community, to experience Tim Sanders’ unique portrait of Palestine sketched during The Freedom Ride earlier this year.

We were humbled to host over one hundred and twenty people at the opening of the exhibition where guests enjoyed Palestinian cuisine whilst browsing the illustrations and listening to our speakers. Al Jazeera broadcast the evening’s events live! The first speaker to address the audience – international and in house – was Mo’min Swaitat, a graduate from The Freedom Theatre, the institution which organised The Freedom Ride. He spoke passionately about The Freedom Threatre, cultivating individual talent of Palestinians and the importance of protecting the cultural life of Jenin, our twinned city. He shared the lamentable news that Cinema Jenin was to be destroyed to make way for a shopping arcade. Mo’min emphasised the value of art in shaping, not merely a response to oppression, but articulating a vision of a more hopeful future.

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We owe a great debt of thanks to Zaytoun for their enormous contribution to the exhibition. Wesam Tayboub, social relations manager for Zaytoun also spoke at our opening, delighting us with the details of the ancient olive harvest in the West Bank and giving mouth-watering descriptions of Palestinian cuisine produced using ingredients such as Palestinian Medjoul dates. Zaytoun produce, which supports Palestinian farmers to continue to make a living despite the obstacles of occupation, was snapped up in great quantity during the week, especially the ‘liquid gold’ olive oil!

Tim Sanders, with his characteristic humility and humour, shared insights and inspirations that helped form the reportage style of his illustrations. He spoke movingly of the deeply affecting scenes that he witnessed, albeit it briefly, hoping that ‘the images would speak for themselves’. One of the illustrations he captioned ‘To Exist is To Resist’, for him this was the most evocative slogan of life in Palestine, capturing so much experience in so few words – something he wished to replicate with his art.

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We are delighted that many who visited the exhibition throughout the week not only enjoyed the experience but said that the illustrations enhanced their awareness of Palestinian life and struggle, just as Tim intended.

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We are enormously grateful to those who made the exhibition possible, including all the individual donors and unions who sponsored Tim to attend the Freedom Ride 2016 (NUT, Unite Housing Branch, NUJ, Unison, UCU); Zaytoun;  those involved in production and logistics including Four Corners Gallery, Ginger White company, print 101, Riverside Printers, Smith+Bell; as well as all the activists from our Tower Hamlets Palestine Solidarity group who, with no previous experience of this type of undertaking, worked over many months to put on our first ever exhibition.

Zaytoun Stall at Organic Pop-up @Roman Road Market

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Saturday 10th September 2016

10am – 4pm

On Saturday 10 September, thirty of the UK’s top organic food and drink producers along with organic beauty brands will give the Roman Road Yard Market an organic makeover.

The Soil Association will join forces with the brand new Roman Road Yard Market, which happens every Saturday in the car park of Roman Road and St Stephen’s Road. Featuring street food, live music, and a fantastic array of tasty organic food, people can get involved in the action from 10am to 4pm.

From organic artisan bread to gourmet coffee, flavourful fruit and veg to melt-in-your-mouth cheese, Londoners can taste the best of organic and discover green from the inside out with organic beauty and yoga workshops throughout the day.

We will be selling delicious Zaytoun produce including organic olive oil, Medjoul dates, Za’tar as well as gorgeous olive oil soaps – all in aid of Tower Hamlets Palestine Solidarity and our upcoming exhibition of Tim Sanders’ work. This exhibition will be on at Four Corners Gallery, Roman Road, opening on the evening of 29th November and running until 3rd December.

A big thank you to Zaytoun for this amazing opportunity. Please come along, support us and pick yourself up something delicious and fair trade for a good cause!

For more information on the Pop-up Market, visit here