by ***** (removed as per author's request) 18/07/06
The emergency conference called by ‘Stop the War’ on the crisis in Palestine drew a packed house. Speakers varied their addresses to the audience; the relationship between Israel and the US, the links between Israel and Iran, and the damning of the UK’s silent complicity, were high on the respective presenter’s agendas. These areas are important but I was there to meet with people and discuss forms of direct action that would reflect the courage Palestinians have shown for decades. None of the speakers opened the floor out for discussion about forms of direct action. What we were given were the following options, a candle vigil in Parliament Square and a march in London. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti’s speech available on ‘War on Wants’ web-site asks for international support, asks that we organise forms of civil disobedience, and asks that we bring the truth of what is happening to Palestinians out into the public domain. A protest march, one that follows well worn routes, past fluttering flags and the eyes of watching police is a ‘state sanctioned march.’ It is what those in the Middle-East laughingly call a ‘Hyde Park democracy’ where the English are allowed to march by the state. What I would like to see are forms of civil disobedience that reflect the courage of Palestinians. The courage that bears witness to a people’s resistance of an occupation on a daily basis over decades. In order to reflect that courage we must step out of our comfort zones, take inspiration from those activists before us. Get creative organise die-ins, get your cars and ram the roads outside MPs homes, surround houses, buildings with bodies, people, cars, fences whatever comes from your imagination. Why must we now do something different? In July Dr. Juma Al Sakka (2006) from Gaza stated, “the Israeli military are using new forms of chemical warfare. “Israeli bombings are entering the body and fragmenting, causing internal combustion leading to up to fourth degree internal burns, exposing the bone, and affecting the tissue and skin." The doctor added, "These tissues die, they do not survive, which obliges us to perform arm or leg amputations, and there are fragments which penetrate the body and do not show up on X-rays. When entering the body they spark like a combustion firearm, but not chemically. They seem radioactive.” This is one of the hideous realities of Gaza. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti ended his speech by stating, “There comes a time when people can no longer endure injustice that time has come to Palestine.” Let us all reflect the integrity of these words through the actions we now take.
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