Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, January 2009
Twenty-Six Ways to Help Gaza
By Haitham Sabbah
Sabbah, January 2, 2008
So far hundreds of civilians have been killed in Gaza. Five sisters in one family, four other children in another home, two children on a cart drawn by a donkey. Universities, colleges, police stations, roads, apartment buildings were all targeted. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian areas issued a statement that "The Israeli air-strikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war."
Twenty-five things to do to bring peace with justice:
(1) First get the facts and then disseminate them. Here are some basic background information:
If Gaza Falls: http://tinyurl.com/a53ujd
Gaza massacres must spur us to action: http://tinyurl.com/8dfxee
(2) Contact local media. Write letters to editors (usually 100-150 words) and longer op-eds (usually 600-800 words) for local newspapers. But also write to news departments in both print, audio, and visual media about their coverage. In the US http://tinyurl.com/2jxwf You can find media listings in your country using search engines like google.
(3) Contact elected and other political leaders in your country to urge them to apply pressure to end the attacks. In the US, Contact the State Department at 202.647.5291, the White House 202-456-1111 the Egyptian Embassy 202.895.5400, Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Obama Transition Team 202-540-3000 (then press 2 to speak with a staff member). (4) Organize and join demonstrations in front of Israeli and Egyptian embassies or when not doable in front of your parliament, office of elected officials, and any other visible place (and do media work for it).
(5) Hold a teach-in, seminar, public dialogue, documentary film viewing etc. this is straightforward: you need to decide venue, nature, if any speakers, and do some publicity (the internet helps).
(6) Pass out fliers with facts and figures about Palestine and Gaza in your community (make sure also to mention its relevance to the audience: e.g, US taxpayers paying for the carnage, increase in world instability and economic uncertainty).
(7) Put a Palestinian flag at your window.
(8) Wear a Palestinian head scarf (Koufiya)
(9) Wear Black arm bands (this helps start conversations with people).
(10) Send direct aid to Gaza through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). http://www.un.org/unrwa/
(11) Initiate boycotts, divestments and sanctions at all levels and including asking leaders to expel the Israeli ambassadors (an ambassador of an apartheid and rogue state). See Palestinian call http://tinyurl.com/94aafw
(12) Work towards bringing Israeli leaders before war crime courts (actions along those lines in courts have stopped Israeli leaders from traveling abroad to some countries like Britain where they may face charges).
(13) Calling upon all Israelis to demonstrate in front of their war ministry and to more directly challenge their government
(14) Do outreach: to neighbours and friends directly. Via Internet to a lot of others (you can join and post information to various listservs/groups).
(15) Start your own activist group or join other local groups (simple search in your city with the word Palestine could identify candidate groups that have previously worked on issues of Palestine). Many have also been successful in at bringing coalitions from different constituencies in their local areas to work together (human rights group, social and civil activists, religious activists, etc).
(16) Develop a campaign of sit-ins at government offices or other places where decision makers aggregate.
(17) Do a group fast for peace one day and hold it in a public place.
(18) Visit Palestine (e.g. with http://www.sirajcenter.org)
(19) Support human rights and other groups working on the ground in Palestine.
(20) Make large signs and display them at street corners and where ever people congregate.
(21) Contact local churches, mosques, synagogues, and other houses of worship and ask them to take a moral stand and act. Call on your mosque to dedicate this Friday for Gaza actions.
(22) Sign petitions for Gaza, e.g. http://tinyurl.com/8nt5on
(23) Write and call people in Gaza, they need to hear from the outside world.
(24) Work with other groups that do not share your political views (factionalism and excessive divisions within activist communities allowed those who advocate war to succeed).
(25) Dedicate a certain time for activism for peace every day (1 hour) and think of more actions than what are listed above.
(26) Urge your local radio talk shows and news editors to call any of us here in Palestine to report live what is happening on the ground.
For support and contacts of people in Gaza or to volunteer, please contact the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People, via email@example.com, or call +1-989-607-9480 (from the US and Canada) or +972-2-277-2018 (from other places).
Please feel free to suggest more actions to save Gaza.
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