Posts Tagged ‘Palestine’


A concert is being organised by Sarum Concern for Israel/Palestine on 27 June at Salisbury Methodist Church.  Tickets are £12 on the door or £10 in advance with students £5.  http://www.thelittleboxoffice.com/palmusic.  Also 01722 349740.

The performers are the Palmusic Ensemble and the aim is to raise money for Palmusic UK scholarships. Three out of four of these four talented young musicians are making a return visit to Salisbury at the end of June when they again will play a mix of Western classical and Palestinian music.

For those who were at Salisbury Methodist Church in February 2018, it was a very memorable evening.  Omar and Tibah are brother and sister
studying viola and cello respectively at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. They are Druze from The Galilee. In the past Omar was conscripted to serve time in the Israeli Army but as an Arab Palestinian refused, serving time in prison.  On this occasion they
are joined by Lourdina – another violinist – who has studied in Bethlehem (her home town), Paris and now at the Royal Birmingham Conservatory.

All three have been awarded scholarships through Palmusic, which is short for The Friends of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, a UK charity, which  supports them financially, so this is a fund-raising evening for them. Iyad who works with them is a Jordanian-Palestinian and already a professional pianist who has recently made a recording of Khachaturian’s piano music.  The concert will include Mahler Piano Quartet in A minor, Mozart Piano Quartet in G minor K.478 and Arabic folk songs.

Further details from http://www.sarumconcern.org or http://www.palmusic.org.uk

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Amnesty International South-West Regional Conference in Exeter 11 May 2019

These are some notes of the recent regional conference made by Salisbury group member Fiona. They are not an official record.

The keynote speaker was Emel Kurma, a Human Rights defender from Turkey, currently hosted by the University of York’s Protective Fellowship Scheme. She outlined for us how a Citizens’ Assembly works. Inspired by the Helsinki Final Act, these are low-profile bodies (no smart headquarters or logos) that aim to stimulate social and political discussion towards a peaceful and inclusive society, valuing democratic and environmental principles. The best response to a state’s limitation of individual freedom is to strengthen civil society at all levels, allowing ethical thinking to penetrate even closed structures. For example a liberal academic offered an opportunity to go to a conference abroad might instead hand it to a member of a state institution in order to broaden that individual’s understanding of human rights as practised beyond their country’s borders.

Emel Kurma is a brave individual and her stoical acceptance of probable interrogation and possible imprisonment on her return to Turkey is both shocking and inspiring.

Israel Palestine 

Two other reports (also by women) focused on Palestine and Eastern Europe respectively.
Penny Wilcox has for several years worked with the intriguingly-titled Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and the Occupied Territories.  Again in an unobtrusive fashion, they accompany vulnerable Palestinians at checkpoints (adults going to work, children to school, traders etc.) and, simply by acting as protective witnesses, aim to reduce the levels of conflict or anxiety so often experienced by this oppressed population.  This approach is also practised by various Israeli humanitarian groups who wish to offer support to trapped and threatened Palestinian communities.  Even simply to witness and record the bulldozing of ‘illegal” Palestinian structures (cow byres, olive trees) is an act of silent protest and solidarity.  One of the many ironies of this absurd and tragic occupation is that when sometimes belligerent Israeli settlers have gone into Palestinian villages to cause trouble, the Israeli army itself has been called in to defend the Palestinians residents.

The third report came from Central Europe co-ordinator Ulricke Schmidt, who traced worrying trends in the rise of racism and anti-Semitism in Hungary and, to a lesser degree, in Poland.

Hungary

In Hungary the usual targets are the Roma, but the influx of refugees has now made them the focus of anger.  This in spite of the warm reception originally given to those fleeing war, who were perceived as ‘passing through’ Hungary and in manageable numbers.  However attitudes have hardened and Ulriche quoted an acquaintance who got 6 months imprisonment for giving a lift to a refugee while NGOs risk being criminalised for helping them.  Additionally, resentment against global capitalism has contributed to a revival of anti-Semitism.  Huge posters crudely stereo-type George Soros as ‘an enemy of the people’ with his ‘army of leftist terrorists’.

Ulricke defines some of the underlying causes of xenophobia as relating to globalisation – seen as benefiting the few – and to a drift to the cities which has left a frustrated and impoverished rural population to grasp at the promises of the Right to restore Hungary’s romanticised past (sounds familiar, does it not?).

Poland 

Poland reflects some of these trends, but fortunately to a lesser degree. Some liberal teachers have been disciplined and protesters have had their personal data published.  But Poland has had a more recent history of resistance to authoritarian rule.  When an outright ban was placed on abortion thousands of women marched in protest to overturn it.  When a recent Independence Day march was joined by racist demonstrators, fourteen brave women entered the throng and unfurled a Stop Fascism banner.  They were beaten by some marchers, and subsequently charged and fined by the courts for ‘disrupting a lawful demonstration.’  But a recently published video has now prompted an Appeal Court investigation into the attack..

The European Union has triggered Article 7 against Hungary for imperilling European values and has also expressed concern that the judiciary in Poland is being politicised.  On a more positive note, 26 EU countries have recently seen powerful demonstrations against fascism, racism and anti-Semitism.

Death penalty

The Death Penalty workshop confirmed that our group is very well informed on relevant data thanks to the regular updates from group member Lesley. The new network now has two and a half thousand members.  An interesting recent survey estimated that it was actually more expensive to execute a prisoner than to simply keep them in prison.  The campaign is currently now focusing on Singapore and Iran, the latter for its practice of deferring punishment until a sentenced juvenile is old enough to receive the death penalty.  On a positive note – more and more countries are abolishing the death penalty – 106 in total by the end of 2018.

Many thanks to the regional representative Chris Ramsay for organising this meeting.


The fate of Palestinians and Gaza is in the news a lot recently and there is shortly to be a film shown called From Balfour to Banksy: Division and Vision in Palestine.

This will be shown at Sarum College on 27 September at 7:0 for 7:30.  It is free but there is a retiring collection.  The speaker will be Miranda Pinch.  Further information can be obtained from sarumconcern.org


Attached is the current death penalty report thanks to group member Lesley for the work in compiling it.  Grim news on several fronts with Sri Lanka thinking of re-using the penalty.  China leads the world it is believed in the use of the penalty although details are a state secret.

On the issue of China, readers may like to read the website of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders which charts the systematic denial of human rights freedoms by the Chinese government.  Links to many human rights sites can be found at the bottom of this site.

Report – June/July (pdf)

 

 


Silent Voices

We would like to draw your attention to a photographic exhibition to be held in January at the Methodist

Palestinian flags

Palestinian flags

Church in St Edmund’s Church Street Salisbury.  It is of a village in the occupied west bank of Palestine seen through the eyes of children.  It starts on 6 January and runs through until 31st and is open from 10 to 12 o’clock.

Silent Voices

 

#Palestine film

Posted: February 7, 2015 in Film, Gaza, Palestine
Tags: , , ,

A documentary film is being shown at the Studio Theatre in Salisbury called Open Bethlehem.  It is on Friday 13 March and details are on the attached flyer.  The phone number for tickets is 01722 349740 and they can be purchased in the tourism office in Fish Row, Salisbury.

 

Film, Omar

Posted: December 5, 2014 in Event, Film, Gaza, Human Rights Act, Urgent action
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Last night the Salisbury Arts centre hosted the film #Omar in the fourth of our collaborations with the Centre.  The film is a gripping story of love and betrayal in the occupied territories of Palestine and shows the grim realities of life for Palestinians living there.  Many people signed our cards at the end of the showing which concerned five individuals at risk of, or who have been, tortured (but not in Palestine).  A total of 103 were signed.

Several people expressed interest in the group and may come here to find out about us.  Details are to be found in the ‘About Us’ tab and we look forward to seeing you again.  ‘Every little helps’ is true and if you are able to help now and again at our events that is always appreciated.  From time to time we post urgent actions and if you can find time to write that is also a help.

We are possibly entering a difficult time as far as human rights are concerned with a concerted attack on the Human Rights Act by sections of the media.  It is fuelled often by misreporting of cases and the almost complete absence of reporting of the benefits the act has brought for ordinary people.  Hence the myth has become established that it helps terrorists, mass murderers and the like and it is all to do with the European Union imposing their beliefs on us.  The Conservative government have said they would like to abolish the act and replace it with a new version.


Each year we team up with the Salisbury Arts Centre and host a film which has a human rights element to it.  This year the Oscar nominated film is #Omar which is set in the occupied territories of Palestine.  Omar is a freedom fighter who is used to dodging bullets to cross the separation wall to visit his girl friend, Nadia.  After he is captured after a deadly act of resistance he is tricked to act as an informant. The film is directed by Hany Abu-Assad.

The film will show in the evening of 4 December at the Arts Centre and early booking is advised.


UPDATE: The full minutes are now available here

September minutes

We held our monthly meeting on 11 September and a number of items were discussed some of which will be separately posted [P].

  • the treasurer reported we had around £334 in the bank.  The funds promised from one of the school groups have not arrived
    Amnesty logo

    Amnesty logo

    however and he will chase this up

  • North Korea.  We have a speaker – Bona Shin – for the November meeting so we will hold it in Sarum College [P].
  • Lesley presented the death penalty report which will be separately posted.  Executions continue apace in Saudi Arabia, Florida and Texas [P].
  • Peter gave an update on progress with the Magna Carta celebrations next year and said that we have held our third meeting with Seif at the Cathedral and arrangements were proceeding well.  Caroline was hoping to prepare tapestry with all the regional groups contributing a panel each to illustrate an aspect of the Human Rights Act.  Fiona is working with S Wilts on the idea of a film.
  • Cathedral service.  Jonathan will liaise with the Praecentor about dates and a speaker.
  • there is to be a coffee morning on Saturday 20 September in St Thomas’s starting at 09:30.
  • the second Citizenship day is to be held next month on 23 October run on similar lines to last year.  There is to be a repeat of the competition with 3 prizes totalling £100 from a supporter.  Peter is to contact the sixth form colleges and schools in the area [P].
  • the forthcoming campaign against torture stall was discussed and will take place on 15 October in the Cheese Market [P].
  • the film will take place again on 4 December at the Arts Centre and will be on the subject of Palestine.  The speaker is Samiha Abdeljebar [P].

Full minutes will be posted soon.

#Gaza letter

Posted: August 17, 2014 in Gaza, USA
Tags: , , ,

We attach a letter published in the Guardian newspaper on 15th of August from survivors of the Holocaust.  It is an extremely moving letter, particularly bearing in mind the people who signed it.  It is unequivocal in its criticism of the violence by the IDF in GazaIt is worthy of a wider audience.

“As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide, we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonisation of historic Palestine.  We further condemn the United States for providing Israel with the funding to carry out the attack, and western states more generally for using their diplomatic muscle to protect Israel from condemnation.  Genocide begins with the silence of the world.

We are alarmed by the extreme, racist dehumanisation of Palestinians in Israeli society, which has reached fever-pitch.  Politicians and pundits in the Times of Israel and the Jerusalem Post have called openly for genocide of Palestinians and rightwing Israelis are adopting neo-Nazi insignia.

Furthermore, we are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history in these pages (advertisement, 11 August; Report, 11 August) to promote blatant falsehoods used to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of nearly 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children.  Nothing can justify bombing UN shelters, homes, hospitals and universities. Nothing can justify depriving people of electricity and water.

We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.  We call for an immediate end to the blockade of Gaza.  We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. “Never again” must mean “Never again for anyone”. ”
Hajo Meyer survivor of Auschwitz; The Netherlands, Henri Wajnblum survivor and son of an Auschwitz victim from Lodz, Poland; Belgium, Norbert Hirschhorn refugee of Nazi genocide and grandson of three people who died in the Shoah; London, Suzanne Weiss survived in hiding in France, whose mother died in Auschwitz; Canada, Felicia and Moshe Langer survivors from Germany, Moshe survived five concentration camps, family members were exterminated; Germany, Michael Rice child survivor, son and grandson of survivor; United States and 30 Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide and 260 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives of survivors
See full list at ijsn.net/gaza/survivors-and-descendants-letter/