in Sheffield’s Montgomery Theatre on Saturday 20th November - but Sharon's army has closed the borders. There is no way out of Gaza. The dancers - and the entire population - are imprisoned. But we will not give in to brutal oppression.
For more than a year members of Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign, together with supporters from Sheffield, York and Derbyshire have been fundraising to bring over Palestinian children living in the Gaza Strip for a folk dance tour.
The children live in Jabalia Refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. They have a wonderful debka dance troupe, Al Asria, and we have already supported them by buying costumes. The plan was for the tour to take place from the 11th - 27th November 2004 involving public performances in Shefield, York, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds - alongside workshops in local schools. These children have never had the chance to leave Gaza before and we hoped we could give them the chance to have a holiday and meet with English children.
All of this has now been wrecked by Israel’s decision to close the border between Gaza and Egypt - the only route that Palestinians can take to leave their country. There is no other way out. The children of Al Asria were all packed and ready to leave - we had secured their visas and plane tickets. They are distraught and so are we. But will not let Ariel Sharon dictate to us! We are still planning to bring Al Asria to the UK in the very near future . . . . in the meantime, all the performers listed overleaf have generously given us their support at very short notice so join us on:
Saturday 20th November
Institute for the Blind
* Sheffield Samba band
* Body of sound
* Bill Horrocks
* ...and more to come