Jan 2-3: 400 internationals left…but we’re still here

Last night (Jan 2) E rode with the Palestinian Red Crescent in Jabalia, where attacks have continued to be very heavy, and was witness to the collection of three martyred folks – one was 24 year old caretaker of the American school, whose body was in a terrible state as a result of the school being bombed during the night.

Our Jabalia friends, F’s family, had further near misses during the night and were very distressed, so E went to see them this morning. She found that Israel had dropped leaflets in the area announcing that everyone must leave their houses because they will be destroyed. So F’s family have today left behind what must now seem like the comparative safety of their basement. But E met the neighbours, who have ten children, and are not leaving – because they simply have nowhere to go. And also, Sara’s husband from F’s family is not leaving the neighbourhood, though he won’t stay in the empty house. I guess he’s just had enough, and perhaps only wants to join his wife in paradise.

Our local colleague Mo told us of a teenager from his youth group who died yesterday. 16-year-old Christian girl, Christine Wade’a al Turk, died of a heart attack brought on by a severe asthma attack, resulting from the stress of the ongoing strikes.

Bombing across the road from me at the port this morning destroyed further boats, filling the sky with thick black smoke. One wonders what the point is. V and I will be with Jabalia’s Red Crescent Service tonight.

THANK YOU for today’s rallies! I’ve made a new section on on the blog called Gaza Solidarity Worldwide, please post any reports there you’d like to share.

Shortly after I got this far with this draft, we had to go to Ramattan for a press conference stating that though 400 internationals left yesterday, many of us are remaining to stand beside our Palestinian friends. And to state our belief that Israel wants no outside witnesses to its next actions, and perhaps no possibility of being called to account for the deaths of any inconvenient Westerners. At about 5pm the rumour reached us that the army’s ground incursion was about to begin, and we dropped everything else to run to the Red Crescent in Jabalia…

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3 Responses to Jan 2-3: 400 internationals left…but we’re still here

  1. Nav says:

    My friends and I attended the London demo (3rd Jan 2008). We were somewhere near the middle part of the back of the march. I was an awesome atmosphere, amazing since the demo was only called with 4 days notice. There was a wide cross section of society and groups. Unfortunately we couldn’t see any trade unions, my friend said this is most likely due to the short notice of the demo, and trade unions often require a long and protracted debate before giving their support to anything. One of the highlights of the demo was walking past the gates to Downing Street. At this point, the march was only allowed to proceed on the side of the road away from Downing Street. My friend took a picture and you can clearly see DOZEN’s of shoes lying outside the gate to Downing Street! In the spirit of the Iraqi shoe-thrower, people were throwing their shoes! Unfortunately, I didn’t see any shoes go +into+ Downing Street, and all the ones I saw thrown were quite feeble – I guess people didn’t want to throw them too far incase they hit one of the many coppers and riot police guarding the gate. Must try to get that pic and post it here.

    BBC News 24 says there were only 17,000 on the march. But that’s clearly bullshit! Because as we approached the end of the march, Trafalgar square, we were meet by people leaving the demo; but Trafalgar Sq itself was quite packed! My friend told me that in order to completely fill the square requires 50,000 people, and based on that we estimate there must have easily have been 70,000 people attending the march!

    I have no idea where the Beeb get their figures from, but its clearly not based on reality! They mainly concentrated on the demo outside the Israeli embassy, which was a far smaller demo, but packed solid! I attended both demo’s. There were times at the Israeli demo I couldn’t breathe because of the sheer number of people; everyone wanted to get closer to the Embassy, but the embassy itself is on Ken. High St, which is not a very wide street. It was pretty much a mob scene with people shouting, horns going off, and random slogans being chanted. I couldn’t stay there for too long – it was just so crushingly packed! But we heard later on that it all kicked off and the police got heavily with the protestors.

    Its clear that people in the UK are moved by the plight of Gaza. Its just a frikkin shame its so hard to get any detailed information. The only TV station I know that has a reporter and TV crew is Al-Jazeera. I suppose given the circumstances the coverage in the UK isn’t so bad. However, on the US side there’s constant Israeli propaganda. And at the end of the day, that’s the ONLY country that matters.

    You’re doing a very important job, I hope you make it alive through this so you can continue the work. I hope you are well and safe, remember that you mean a lot to us! And that’s no bullshit, I’d frikkin cry for days if anything ever happened to you! You’re more valuable alive than dead, one more civillian death in the middle east will not solve anything, it’ll just be another statistic. But for us, the light in our life would have been extinguished forever.

  2. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Palestine: “In Gaza our future is almost destroyed”

  3. Anon. says:

    Well done on staying! I’m a little surprised (shocked?) at the number of internationals leaving. Btw, when you say internationals, do you mean international activists of whatever variety who are associated with some solidarity group, or any non-Palestinian who was in Gaza for whatever reason? Are the activists leaving those who have families? In my personal experience, most internationals are youngsters like myself, without dependents.

    I guess part of me doesn’t blame them for leaving, but part of me thinks… Oh I don’t know, I’ll shut up – easy for me to judge sitting safely at home in London, isn’t it? Who knows what choice I’d have made had I been there. Is there even a ‘right’ decision in such a situation? You’ve certainly made a brave decision.

    All I’ll say, then, is that I think you and the other guys who have chosen to stay are continuing to do a great job, and the guys are leaving did a great job. It’s so brave of you to stay. I’m sure I speak for many when I say I feel useless just sitting at home writing letters, going on demos and stuff.

    All my best wishes!

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