(The below was written while I was in Gaza. I’m now back in the UK, studying fulltime, working, and available to come see you as part of my Gaza book tour...)
I used to volunteer regularly with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank. After Israel’s creation of a blacklist to prevent human rights workers having access to Palestine, however, I wasn’t allowed to return there via any Israeli controlled border. So in 2007 I went to volunteer in Al Shafa clinic in Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, during the attacks on Nahr Al Bared camp.
On August 23rd 2008, I was part of a project that made history by getting two boats to Gaza through Israel’s sea blockade – see the FreeGaza website, because my colleagues have just kept those boats coming! And now I’m posting from Gaza…my presence here almost entirely financed by small individual donations from people on my email list, which makes me feel pretty humble actually. I am now fully financed for the 6 months I hope to stay. This generous interest in my tales from Gaza has inspired me to expand to a blog…which you’ll have spotted I’m only just getting the hang of.
Some of the things I’m doing here: (this was written before Israel attacked Gaza in Dec/Jan, and I should update it)
with the ISM Gaza group, documenting Israeli attacks on Palestinians, which involves visiting hospital patients, bereaved families, and sites of attacks, and making reports on these for the ISM website among others, as well as accompanying Palestinians as requested, when they are threatened or attacked by Israeli forces while going about their daily lives – for example fishermen within Gaza waters.
attempting to publish some of this further afield (if you can help me get these stories into press near you, let me know)
reporting back to Sheffield Palestinian Solidarity Campaign with stories and photos of the projects they support via the Union of Health Work Committees
with E, visiting the child sponsored by 14 Friends of Palestine and reporting back to them
volunteering some time each week with the Union of Health Work Committees (who provide free health care to the increasing number who cannot pay) to assist with the English text for their Annual General Report and whatever other English they might need. They’ve also invited me to join in with Project Management Course they are running in English
working on arranging one day a week volunteering in one of the main hospitals, to be an extra pair of hands on call should the situation worsen
being on call to spend nights in regions that are experiencing increasing attacks
doing my best to learn more Arabic, to be more useful in all the above
…and of course writing for you, on this blog
PS I’m an anarchist.