Many groups, one aim – end the occupation.

It has been a very busy week since I arrived, but with really little “exciting” blog worthy news.  I’ve been spending many hours drinking tea or strong coffee, while I network and connect with as many of the groups and people of Gaza.  

To start, I met with almost all the internationalist activists in Gaza, which one can apparently count on just two hands.  I’ve been spending many hours in meetings while I try to learn from the locals and understand what makes Gaza function, survive and even thrive.  I met an extremely well spoken and open minded class of humanities students at the Islamic University.  I also toured through their very impressive medical labs and research facilities.  I’ve stayed a night with “Fatah” farmers in Khuza’a in south eastern Gaza, and listened to Israeli tanks roaring around out in the darkness. Today I stood with Hamas supporters at a rally outside the UN office, demanding the Israelis release the 4000 illegally detained Palestinian political prisoners, in particular hunger striker Samer Assawi, who is near death after 206 days without eating.  A macabre world record.  I spent an afternoon intensely debating and discussing world politics with the youth wing of the People’s Party of Palestine, one of the oldest Communist parties in the World.  I was gently swarmed by a class of kindergarten kids, while I described the events on the Mavi Marmara and showed them photos of the toys and school supplies on board, that were destined for Gaza, which the Israeli troops trashed.  Then there were the meetings with the Agriculture ministry, Information ministry, Human Rights commission, United Nations office, Palestine parliament members, Farmers and Fishers union reps and just regular folks on the street and in the coffee shops.  And it seems like almost every second person has a bullet wound or serious injury to show and describe to me.  Most gut wrenching for me were the many little kids using hearing aids due to the blast effects from Israel’s 2008 “Cast Lead” shelling and rocketing of Gaza.

I expect things will soon get more “interesting” for me, as next week I am to tour the “kill zone” along the Israeli border, as well as take a trip with some Gaza fishers to help them set their nets in the Israeli navy’s off shore “shooting gallery”.  

The most harrowing event for me so far was when I inadvertently stepped into the front lobby of a fitness center…during it’s “women’s only” time.  No serious damage was done and no protocols broken, as the receptionist very quickly got her point across, with no translation needed!  Never a dull moment in Gaza.

I have no photos to share yet, as I tend to only use my camera as a tool for my observer work, but that is coming soon.

Goodbye for now from Gaza City.

 

 If you want to get a real insider’s view of Gaza, as opposed to my ramblings, I’d strongly recommend following my fellow Canadian Eva Bartlett’s blog, “In Gaza”, at  http://ingaza.wordpress.com/

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Colin Smith on February 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    You write extremely well Kevin. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re doing really important work. Keep going and writing.

    Reply

  2. Asalaam awalaikum Kevin! Thanks so much for your updates, – I am participating vicariously in your experience! -may you be successful in helping to alleviate the great sorrow and injustice being perpetrated on the good people of Palestine. Please let them know that the ‘progressive’ (I yearn for better terminology) people of Canada, -a majority, I believe- are appalled by the violent and genocidal behaviour of the State of Israel.

    Reply

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