Why are we taking action?
People are dying. Lots of people are commenting on this page about where the ‘blame’ really lies and that I’m not mentioning Hamas, or the history of the area. People are saying I’m demonising Israel and suggesting we shouldn’t take action unless we understand everything to do with the conflict. To those people I say; these are humans, people just like you and me, and our children. They are the neighbours of the Israeli people. I appeal to you to look at this from a humanitarian standpoint and think with your heart.
See this message from the people of Israel. Beautiful people protesting for peace:
This goes beyond the killing, and beyond the fact that thousands of people will now need to live with life-changing injuries. The latest reports from Oxfam and the UN talks of around 475,000 relying on shelters. This is causing a public health emergency which could see many more thousands dying. Furthermore, the UN says that over 360,000 children will need psychosocial services to deal with the trauma they have experienced. I highly recommend reading the UN OCHA report – so that you can see the scale of this emergency.
United Nations OCHA Sit Rep report: ‘At least 326,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support (PSS). Children are showing symptoms of increasing distress, including bed wetting, clinging to parents and nightmares.’
Oxfam: ‘Many people are getting as little as three litres of safe water a day, far below international emergency standards. Massive destruction of water and sewage systems and electricity supplies has reduced water supply to Gaza’s entire population of 1.8 million people. Spills of raw sewage threaten to contaminate water sources and the threat of disease is rising. There are already reports of 30 cases of meningitis, as well as skin diseases among children and cases of gastroenteritis.’
Take action! 20 things you can do!
In an age where we are connected to one another as never before, there is always something you can do; some way to be heard, to build towards peace.
This is a collaborative page full of ideas submitted by people taking action in their own way. Please read, share, and tell us about your own action for peace and equality!
1) Join a protest
National protest in London, UK on Saturday 9 August. Stop the War is organising transport from around the country.
2) Petition the UK government to send a fully stocked hospital ship (moored off Cornwall) to provide urgent medical aid to the people of Gaza.
“We started up a campaign late on Saturday to send state-of-the-art British hospital ship RFA Argus to Gaza. She is currently moored in her home port of Falmouth here in Cornwall. We have a petition which has already got 567 signatures. Please also like our Facebook page. . Our local MP has written to the Ministry of Defence, the local paper has run an article and Pirate FM is doing a news broadcast tomorrow” – Veronica Vickery
3) Send messages of love, peace, hope and support to people in Palestine. The simplest way to do so is through Twitter. People in Gaza are tweeting less due to lack of power, but there are plenty still going when they can. Find them via the hashtags #supportgaza, #gazaunderattack and #icc4Israel. I follow several, so you can also look at my list @fullerbobs.
4) First, let me take a selfie; visual petition to Downing Street “I’ve started a campaign on Facebook. An online petition of people’s ‘selfies’ with them holding a sign or a message to the government asking them to stop being neutral about this situation, implement sanctions and protect the innocent victims of this conflict. We want both the people of Israel to live in a state where they feel safe and the people of Gaza given equality. Presently the people of Gaza need more help as their casualties and collateral damage far exceeds Israel’s. Visit http://www.facebook.com/itcouldbemeingaza and send your pictures, I want thousands and I’ll present the petition book to Downing Street. Against this? Put your face to it! ” – Gemma Dietrich
5) Boycott. Boycott. Boycott. Boycotting and sanctions worked effectively against the apartheid regime in South Africa, and is being strongly encouraged against Israel. There is the BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, whose website provides lots of information about how to boycott effectively (it would be, as many have said, hard to boycott in a blanket way – the BDS tell you how to do so for best effect) and lists companies to avoid. There’s also the Academic & Cultural boycott; academics (including Professor Stephen Hawking) writers, film makers and musicians refuse to visit or support Israel.
Here’s what some of our contributors is doing to boycott:
“My niece has some stickers asking people to not buy products/ fruit and veg that come from Israel. she sticks them on while shopping in her local supermarket.” – name omitted to protect the phantom stickerer! You can get stickers from here: Palestine Solidarity Campaign
“I’ve emailed the Presidents office at the White House to say that I will be boycotting all American goods and companies, given their prompt rearming of Israel, as well as contacting the CEO’s of various large companies in which I would normally shop (M&S, for example) to ask them for a swift statement and reminding them of the increasing boycott movement that is taking off online.” – Michelle Durrant
6) Support Fair Trade good from Palestine
“Get local shops to stock fairtrade palestinian goods. Although it wont end the genocide, it helps the living to live.
Zaytoun are a good starting point.” – Farzana
7) Sign petitions such as those advocating the UK stops arming Israel and starts imposing sanctions, and petitions insisting upon a ceasefire proposal that includes a fair deal for the Palestinians – like the removal of that bloody wall. Takes seconds to do this. Here are a few to get you started (you’ll probably find loads more):
8) Write to your MP urging them to support your views in the House of Commons. You can find your MP and read transcripts of debates at They Work for You,The debate about Gaza makes for an interesting read. Especially the part where Caroline Lucas (Green Party) challenges David Cameron about the ongoing occupation of Gaza/Israel’s constant breaches of international law, and he responds by suggesting she’s a Hamas supporter.
See my previous post for my own letter to my local MP. Feel free to copy bits of it if you wish.
9) Organise a protest or vigil. This could be as small as a group of friends gathering to meditate for peace and to memorialise the victims, or a larger event to raise awareness. Be inspired by groups like If Not Now When – American Jewish peace organisation. (The photo below is from a recent #ifnotnow vigil.)
10) Performers: be a clown! One of the people heading to the protest on the 9th is looking for some creative people to join her:
“London! Trying to organise an army of clowns! We need humans that care. Performers, clowns, physical actors, musicians, artists of any kind or people that care about this plight. Sensitive people that are able to give this a go in the London protests Saturday the 9th of Aug. and after until this genocide stops. Please email me
http://vimeo.com/11767255“ – Naomi Bonafoux
11) Make a noise!
“Please consider a Cacerolada.We are trying to organise a mass banging of pots to make a noise and let governments know that we condemn the killing if innocents. See more and join here:
12) To quote a favourite author of mine ‘Make Good Art’. Use your creative skills to make a statement for peace. Get your children – maybe even their school? – involved in creative projects. Some inspiration from one of our contributors:
“Hi, my response to this (and not only the conflict in Gaza) is to draw 500 victims of war and sending them to our Taoiseach Enda Kenny, you can see more on the bloghttp://creativenonviolence.wordpress.com/“ – Astrid Walsh
13) Have some friends round!
“We are holding a fundraiser at our house. Doing a clothes swap, book stall and food in exchange for donations.” – Joanne
14) Make a film. This could be interviewing people for their views about the situation, it could be a film of your vigil, a film of people holding cards to show messages of peace, or anything else you feel moved to do. Here’s something put together by my friend Dominic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHa-ewSjFFw
15) Hold a stall in your local shopping area. You can use this to gather signatures on petitions and names against a letter to the local MP.
16) Share Jon Snow’s moving short film of his experience in Gaza. He appeals to all of us to do whatever we can. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do something. Anything. No matter how small an action it seeams.
17) Turn the statistics back into people and keep their memory alive. Spread awareness of the ongoing atrocity by reminding everyone that these are human beings, not ‘collatoral damage’ or unfortunate causalities of war. These are victims of a massacre. Visit the #gazanames project, watch the moving film, find a name from the very long list of people who have died, take a photo and share over social media. And then see what you can find out about the person you have chosen to memorialise. I selected Nizar Fayez Abu Sneina, aged 38. I have so far discovered that “Three members of the Abu Sneina family were killed in a strike on their home in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and three others were injured. The dead were named as: Faysal Abu Sneina, 32, Emad Faysal Abu Sneina, 18, and Nizar Fayez Aub Sneina, 38.”
18) Take part in a fundraising challenge, or sponsor one. Inspiration from the MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians) Facebook page.
“Maria is 5 years old and today she did a 2 km walk to support MAP’s Gaza Emergency Appeal. So far she has raised £795, 159% of her original target. Well done, Maria! You can help her achieve 200% of her original target by sponsoring her walk here: https://www.justgiving.com/samah-abbasi/
Instisar and Yusra are self-funding a trek up Kilimanjaro later this month, with all support going to MAP. They aim to raise £5,000:https://www.justgiving.com/ProjectGaza/
Aodhan King is running the 293 km Transalpine Stage Race across Germany, Austria and Italy at the end of August. He is aiming to raise 4,000 euros https://www.justgiving.com/911-gaza/“
MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians) are also organising a UK bike ride in September.
19) If you don’t fancy a sponsored event, or prefer to give direct, then you can donate to charities working to provide aid to the people of Palestine. As well as the support they are providing now (whilst risking their own lives) when the bombs finally stop falling, NGOs will be vital in supporting the people of Gaza to rebuild their lives. Be cautious about donating, as bogus web pages have sprung up purporting to be for Gaza. Here are some suggestions that should be ok:
20) Submit your own ideas in the comments for this page, and the list can grow! Creative and peaceful ideas welcomed.