Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The Gaza Strip: still suffering from a 23-day war and the ongoing siege


The Gaza Strip: still suffering from a 23-day war and the ongoing siege

“I have no home left” – Deir Al Balah Refugees camp

By Ayman Quader.

Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestine

Gaza, December 22, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) One year has passed since Israel’s cruel 23-day war on the 1.5 million people of the Gaza. 1,400 people were brutally killed and tens of thousands were seriously wounded. It was 23 days that violated Palestinian human rights and put justice further out of reach. It was a war that utilized ‘state of the art’ phosphorous missiles to achieve levels of suffering and destruction that had not been seen in a generation. Tens of thousands of Gazans were made homeless and schools and hospitals were directly targeted.

The horrific 23-day bombardment of Gaza finished last January. However, the siege of Gaza and the suffering of its people continue. While UN and NGO reports describe the bombardment of Gaza and its aftermath in the abstract, talking to Gaza’s children provides an important reminder of the human side of the pain inflicted by Israel.

Anas’ Experience

Anas, a 9 year-old boy living in Bureij Refugees camp, narrated his own experience during the war.

"It was such an unbearable 23 nights of hell. Sometimes I had to hide forcibly staying under my mattress for almost 4 hours or more. I was terrified each time my father went to fetch bread for my family. My mother had to shout at my older brothers not to go outside our house so they wouldn’t be harmed by the continuing attacks. We were without electricity for up to five days at a time which made things even harder.”

“One day I woke up in complete shock, with my father’s voice shouting at us to close all the windows because an Israeli warplane fired a phosphorus missile that landed just by our home. My mother brought us pieces of cloth to cover our mouths so we didn’t breathe in the toxic chemicals.”

Research by the Gaza Community Mental Health Program shows that more than 70% of the Strip’s children remain traumatized and display symptoms of serious psychological difficulties. Understandably, Anas has found it difficult to adapt to life after the war.

He explained, “Recently I have had dreadful nightmares about the war. When I got back to my school in Bureij Refugees camp, I noticed the bad smell of gunpowder and missiles. I was really upset when I found out that five of my mates were killed and lots were gravely wounded”.

Like all of Gaza’s children, Anas is also fearful of the future, “It would be catastrophic if the Israeli government launches another war on us. I keep dreaming of a calm future for me and for children of the Gaza Strip. I hope this bad experience will never happen again".

Diana’s Memory

Diana, a 13 year-old girl, has also spoken about her experience fo the war.

“The war was very hard for our family because our house is made of asbestos. An Israeli missile hit our neighbor’s house and completely destroyed it. The shrapnel from the explosion was falling down around our house like rain and was flying around inside as well".

One year on, Diana has little hope for the future, and she does not look at her house as a place of safety and security. There are many children who have lost their houses and their source of comfort and security.

A war against humanity

During the military offensive, at least 280 schools and kindergartens were severely damaged, and 18 schools were destroyed. Six of the destroyed schools are in North Gaza alone, affecting almost 9,000 students who had to relocate to other schools according to UNICEF, UNRWA. Furthermore, six university buildings were destroyed, and 16 were damaged. Because of the ongoing drastic siege on the strip, it has been hard to rebuild the damaged schools.

According to Dr Hasan Zeyada, a psychologist with GCMHP http://www.gcmhp.net/ ‘children are victims of aggression with all its forms; killings, injuries, imprisonments, loss, and economic & physical siege. The generations of Palestinian children have accumulated, through years of exposure to long term traumatic experiences, negative psychological and behavioral reactions that pose a significant threat to their psychological well-being. http://www.gcmhp.net/

The harrowing experience of the siege prevents the children of the Gaza Strip from having any kind of normal childhood. Children become more acquainted with the names of the dead rather than the names of games.

Anas and Diana are two examples of children whose only crime was being born Palestinian in the Gaza Strip. They hope and dream of a time when they can live in peace and stability with a right to their childhood.




New house but made of fabric with no heating or real shelter.



His bag remains, all that is left of his home.




“Here is what we have to play with…destruction” – Nuserate Refugees Camp.


Thursday, 17 December 2009

3 Ds in Gaza (Desperate, Deprivation, Depression )







Ayes Of Little Poor Girl Tells Her Story, Deir El Balah Refugees Camp


Pictures taken:
Ayman Quader
Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestine

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Video: Christmas for Palestine


When celebrating Christmas, it would be a good idea to think about the birthplace of Jesus. What is like in the Holy Land under occupation, injustice and racism? How does Christmas feel when the Holy Land is under siege? .


video

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Smiles In Gaza as the Quest for Freedom Continues









Smiles In Gaza as the Quest for Freedom Continues


(by Ayman Quader and Andrew Felluss)

Gaza City, Palestine – October 13th, 2009. Steadfast in their smiles of innocence, children of Al-Maghazi refugee camp, in the middle of the Gaza Strip, enjoyed the launching today of ‘Quest For Smile’, an after-school event of performance and entertainment organized in Gaza and sponsored internationally. The celebration was attended by an estimated 200 children, who eagerly immersed themselves in the festivities, sharing moments of joy and friendship, and forgetting awhile the recent violence that has plagued their place of residence.

Less than one year ago, during the 23-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, 3 children living in Al-Maghazi camp were killed, and over 30 were critically wounded. All of these children in the camp, which was established in 1949 to shelter refugees of the Palestine War, are recovering from the psychological trauma of the latest attacks.

The Quest For Smile event was organized by the Unlimited Friends Association in Gaza and co-sponsored by Artists Against Apartheid and No More Ignorance, both international arts activist groups. Funding for the event was provided by generous contributors through fund raising drives by the organizers and sponsors, and demonstrated the will of the international community to lend support for youth activities in Gaza.

The initiative also prompted the co-sponsors to draft a message to the children, who endure ongoing human rights violations, both as the subjects of recent violence, and through their inherited struggle as Palestinian refugees. In the message of solidarity, the co-sponsors strongly stressed that the children of the Gaza are not alone, and people around the world are actively supporting their quest for freedom and equality.

“No words can express joy experienced by these children during the event”, said one audience member, noting how the children couldn’t stop clapping and dancing with the costumed performers. The young audience enjoyed several activities and performances, including dancing, group games, a trivia contest, and others, as well as spending some leisurely time outside with friends.

EventPhoto

Two of the children read aloud the ‘Message of Hope from Abroad’ that was sent from the co-sponsors, both in English and Arabic. During the reading, the children listened intently, as if the voices were coming directly to their ears from outside Gaza. This message had great influence on the children, who immediately reflected upon their situation. Ahmed, who is seven years old, said “I am here so as to practice my childhood that I am being prevented to do so. Therefore I join this event today to share happiness and play with my same aged children and friends”. Salwa, a 9 year old girl, was critically injured during the recent war on Gaza, narrowly escaping her house with her family before the main municipality was directly targeted and completely destroyed. She expressed her deep pleasure upon hearing the message, which reads:

Message of Hope from Abroad to the Children of Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp, Gaza:

Dear Children of Al-Maghazi, we are a group of artists and activists who wish to send you a message of hope from around the world. We come from many countries, and all support your struggle for freedom and equality.

When bombs fell on Gaza earlier this year, we wished we could take you in our homes, to protect you from the cruelty you were forced to endure. Still, you have endured: you are alive to hear this now, and we are in awe of your strength.

We want you to know that you are not alone, and we have not forgotten what has happened to the people of Palestine. We will not rest until you and your families are free, and allowed to live in peace.

We hope you have enjoyed today’s event, and we send our warmest regards to all of the performers, speakers and organizers who have shared this afternoon of smiles with you. We hope these moments of joy will be everlasting.

After listening intently to the message, the children directly signed down their names and ages as joyful witnesses, and taking their own copies of the document.

Here today, in this small refugee camp in the heart of Gaza City, this group of innocent children were overjoyed by a rare opportunity: a chance to “just be kids”. Day to day life in Gaza is trying, as basic human rights and sustenance are hindered as the collective punishment of the siege persists. But for an afternoon, this ‘Quest For Smile’ was a success.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Rhythms, music... over Israeli occupation...

Rhythms, music...over Israeli occupation...

Ayman Quader

10 October 2009
















Gaza, October 10, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)Still the people of Palestine live under the cruel Israeli occupation which creates severe suffering for the people. The suffering of the people living in the Gaza Strip has been greatly increased as the nearly 4-year brutal siege suffocates all aspects of life in the Strip. The situation on the ground is dire as 1.5 million residents of the Strip have been denied their basic daily life needs, food, and freedom of movement.

There have been, internationally and locally, many activities carried out by people who always love and express solidarity for the people of Palestine and the Gaza Strip. These activities reflect the kind-heartedness of those people to shine a light on the ongoing abuse of human rights on the Gaza Strip and attract attention to the situation there. Indeed, the act of non-violent resistance is very effective as a means of creating change and working for social justice.

In a recent article I wrote with my friend Sameh Habeeb, http://peaceforgaza.blogspot.com/2009/08/non-violent-action-in-gaza.html, we examined the non-violent activities that have been successfully launched in the Gaza Strip, focusing on the results of these efforts, which have helped to bring the situation of the Gaza Strip to the attention of the international community.

Once again the voices of people and artists are supporting the besieged Gaza in a unique event that will take place soon in Dublin, called, Two cities – One Concert . On 16th October, Dublin will extend the hand of friendship to the city of Gaza when a very special concert will be transmitted live from Tripod in Dublin and beamed LIVE to Gaza City – Two cities, One concert.

Great Irish musicians will join this concert to celebrate and raise voices toward what's going on in the Gaza Strip. Celebrated musicians Irish Liam Ó Maonlaí, Lumiere, Kíla, Naisrin and Zahara El Safty will be joined on the bill by Palestinian singer Shadia Mansour,

and Dublin based Discovery Gospel Choir, who will perform with renowned Iraqi/English Rapper MC Lowkey. A night of brilliant music with a big message, the concert will be broadcast live on a big screen in Gaza city allowing the people of Gaza to enjoy the concert in Dublin and they in turn will say something to the Irish audience.

William Nassar is a renowned Palestinian composer, songwriter and performer. He's been active in the struggle for Gaza through concerts, writing articles and demonstrations. He received the Order of Merit of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture

The organizers of this event stated that this evening will celebrate culture by the use of music to unite both the people of Gaza and the people of Ireland. Additionally, the organizers of the concert try to send a clear message that Gaza is not alone and there are many people around the world expressing solidarity with its people. The main goal of this concert is to raise funds needed for the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip.

In another step to show solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip, there will be international groups marching to Rafah border in coming December. The great FREEDOM MARCH will include hundreds of international dignitaries and human rights activists who will come to Gaza to express comprehensive solidarity with 1.5 million Gazans living under the siege.

The March aims to strengthen international solidarity toward the daily Palestinian suffering and to put moral and legal pressure on the international community to take its responsibilities in alleviating the Palestinian tragedy, enable them to rebuild their own homes, and to live in peace & security.

To raise a voice is better than to keep passive. The resistance of the words is a very powerful tool for change. As we are people of Palestine living under the Israeli occupation, we have the complete right to resist and to gather international voices by the means of non-violent approaches. We will never give up till we are free.

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Ayman T. Quader
Blogger Based on the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599448628
E-mail: ayman.qauder@gmail.com
ayman.quader@yahoo.com
Skype: peaceforgaza
Facebook: ayman.quader
Web: www.peaceforgaza.blogspot.com
www.paltelegraph.com
http:picasaweb.google.com/ayman.qauder
=============================

Monday, 28 September 2009

Obama after Cairo


Obama after CairoText Colour

September 28

By Ayman Quader





Palestine, September 28, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)“It is the time to change” a statement that was spontaneously delivered when I followed Obama’s speech in Cairo University the last June. It was a speech full of encouraging words especially to the Palestinian people towards regaining part of their deprived rights. I strongly argued with my friends that the upcoming future will be partly bright to solve the Palestine-Israel conflict as Obama had raised the slogan Change We Need in his campaign. When it comes closer for the Palestinians, they were cautiously watching TVs during his speech in Cairo. We had amazingly been moved with the gentle and strong speech of Obama in Cairo. The supporters of Obama in his election campaign were massively raising Change We need flash cards sending massages to the whole world that justice and freedom will finally prevail. As for me, I directly uploaded Obama’s word and the audio and started listening to his speech once, twice..

Time has changed people even President Obama. My mind gets confused as to how people would dramatically change. Nothing has been implemented from Obama’s speech. Therefore we determined that it was just a speech with no action. We were considerably manipulated with Obama’s speech in Cairo thinking that the new American administration will be completely different from the previous one and actual actions will noticeably be taken.

In Gaza, everything was targeted, homes, schools and human beings. More than a thousand Gazans were savagely killed and thousands more were seriously wounded. Young children still feel unsafe and are suffering from severe psychological problems. The scenes of death means of Israelis will never leave from our minds.

Mohammed Abbas, the present of Palestine and Palestinian Authority and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were invested by Obama to a summit with an obscure goal. Obama distanced himself from the injustice and the change he aspires to achieve in the middle east. Palestinians are being violated daily with a world that looks on in silence. Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem has also violated by Israelis and this is really black and dangerous indications for the future of Al-Aqsa.

People of Gaza haave been obfuscated from the promised change of President Obama’s position in the recent meeting in Washington.

All we need is our freedom and justice that must and will prevail one day.

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Ayman T. Quader
Blogger Based on the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599448628
E-mail: ayman.qauder@gmail.com
ayman.quader@yahoo.com
Skype: peaceforgaza
Facebook: ayman.quader
Web: www.peaceforgaza.blogspot.com
www.paltelegraph.com
http:picasaweb.google.com/ayman.qauder
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Saturday, 26 September 2009

Gaza to Obama: "Mr. President, our justice still denied, Our wounds are still open”


Gaza, September 24, 2009, (Pal Telegraph)- Dear President Obama: Our wounds in Gaza are still open, our justice still denied. Israel's 23 day offensive (28 December 2008- 19 January 2009) has left our children afraid to return to school, and feeling unsafe in their beds.

The war, and the continued closure of the Gaza Strip, has undermined the capacity of mothers and fathers to act as protectors and providers. As a community, we will struggle for decades to live with the consequences.

Along with our children we feel that justice has been too long abandoned. For many reasons we Palestinians have felt that the world has ignored us. The international attention following the war on Gaza gave us hope. The investigation led by Justice Goldstone was a cause for optimism. We felt that this respected judge and prosecutor - who has served at the highest level and consistently demonstrated his independence in upholding the rule of law - was one of the few people who had the credentials and experience to take on this legally complex and politically charged mission. We came to believe that the world actually cared. The statement of your ambassador to the UN, Ms. Susan Rice, sent a different message: that the world, or at least the United States, does not care.

Ms. Rice suggested that the focus should be on the future and not the past and that the task at hand must be to cement progress towards the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. This separation of justice and peace is misguided; the two are intertwined. If there is one thing that history teaches us, it is that when the powerful are allowed to escape accountability, they will continue to violate the law, and innocent people will pay the price.

In Cairo you said that "America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own." You also spoke of the desire for the rule of law and the equal administration of justice, stating that these "are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere". These were welcome words, but they demand action. Accountability and criminal responsibility are fundamental components of justice. All those responsible must face trial; victims' rights must be upheld; suffering cannot be ignored.

President Obama, as you once said quoting Dr. Martin Luther King: ‘the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice, but it doesn't bend on its own unless each and every one of us puts our hands on the arc.'

Support the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission.

Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj

President, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Participating in a Youth Conference

Participating in a Youth Conference



Gaza, September 20, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)-The "Youth…. the Ability to Change" Conference has been held in Gaza City 17/9/2009. It mainly shed light on the ability of young people to create changes even in very harsh conditions.

On September 17, 2009 I participated in a conference called "Youth…. the Ability to Change", which was organized by the Catholic Relief Services – CRS - in GazaCity.

The conference has very clearly stressed the role of young people in making changes in any society. Most of the participants also were from young people who spoke about their own experience to the audience. Mr. Jung Geng, director of operations for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, spoke impressively about the crucial role that the Palestinian youth is playing in these rough conditions. He added that young people are the means of any change in any society as they are the most dynamic and vigorous group in the society. He expressed his belief that the youth of Gaza would be able to defend its legal condition, to get justice and to break the unlawful siege imposed on 1.5 million people. “The Palestinian people are being supported internationally - they are no alone", Mr. June ended his speech.

"No one can deny the role of young people in any society and they are the tools of development and of creating a change" - by this sentence I started my own speech. I then talked about three main initiatives that have been organized by group of young activists. Those people who believe in their just cause have the ability to make a difference. These three initiatives have appeared as a result of the ongoing drastic siege in order to shed light on the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The three initiatives I presented are:

~ Many Personal Blogs

~ The Gaza Concert - www.gazaconcert.com

~ The Palestine Telegraph - www.paltelegraph.com

I first talked about my own experience about my blog and how I have developed it day by day. The story of my first blog "Black Rain on Gaza" apparently impressed the audience strongly. My goal in this Blog is to bring the reality of what is going on the ground in Gaza to people who are eager to listen. Young people, women, old men, children… - everyone is suffering day by day. People around the world should know the day-to-day reality of our people here in Gaza. Therefore, the personal stories I regularly write show these sufferings and shed light on the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

Then I mentioned the well-known Gaza Concert that took place on November 27, 2008 in Gaza City. This concert was organized and supervised by group of young people who aspired to show the World the real face of the Gaza Strip. This concert is considered as a significant event of non-violent resistance.

Finally I talked about the first online newspaper, The Palestine Telegraph. The first English newspaper that tries to show the international community the reality of the daily suffering all over Palestine.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Branches of Olive Trees

Branches of Olive Trees

Ayman T. Quader
9/9/2009




Gaza City, Sept. 9, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) It has been 9 months since the devastating War on the Gaza Strip, which left thousands of people either killed or wounded.

Today I was invited to take a Ramadan breakfast in my friend Jumaa’s house. He lives in Al Maghzi Refugee Camp where people still are suffering miserably from the impacts of the War on their houses and streets. Basically, most of the residents of the Gaza Strip are already refugees and during the War they were once again forced to evacuate their houses and flee. I asked my friend to take me around in the camps small pass-ways, as I wanted to be closer to the people actually living there. Indeed, this made me feel strongly how much the people in the Refugee Camp are still in real pain. In the middle of the Al Maghzi Refugee Camp there is still a completely destroyed building – impossible to ignore by the people living in the Camp. I found little children playing on the rubbles of this building which really made me sad. But THEY didn’t mind and seemed to be really happy.

We reached my friend's house after the round through the camps passages. My friend showed me several pictures he took during the War, showing what the people had to experience during the War. I saw four of the pictures he took: - a picture of a wounded little girl, a picture of smoke breaking out from a house, one of people sheltered in one of the UNRWA school and a forth picture… that I’ll describe separately:

In this picture I saw little kids carrying branches of olive trees. Those little kinds had to flee from their homes to one of the UNRWA school in the Al Maghzi Refugee Camp. I wished I could be there at that time to ask them why are they were carrying these branches?

It is well-known that olive branches are a symbol of peace. It seemed as if those kinds were trying to convey a message from the hardship of their condition at that time.

Kids of Gaza are still aspiring peace and stability - even in times of WAR!!!


it's appeared on the Pal telegraph


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Ayman T. Quader
Blogger Based on the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599448628
E-mail: ayman.qauder@gmail.com
ayman.quader@yahoo.com
Skype: peaceforgaza
Facebook: ayman.quader
Web: www.peaceforgaza.blogspot.com
www.paltelegraph.com
http:picasaweb.google.com/ayman.qauder

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