Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pictures Speak Louder Than a Thousand Words!

Protests spreads in the Middle East
Courtesy of: The Big Picture (
January 26, 2011

The issues in Tunisia, Lebanon, and Egypt differ, but yesterday anger boiled over in all three countries as grievances were brought to the streets. In Tunisia, where protests have already overthrown President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, continued demonstrations sought to depose his allies still in their positions. Meanwhile Tunisia's interim government has issued an international arrest warrant for the former president and members of his family. In Lebanon, Sunni supporters of ousted Prime Minister Saad Hariri took to the streets in a "day of rage", burning tires and blockading roads in Tripoli and Sidon. It was in Egypt where the most dramatic events unfolded as the largest protests in a generation rocked Cairo. Demonstrators, many inspired by events in Tunisia, called for an end to nearly 30 years of rule by President Hosni Mubarak. Collected here are photographs from all three countries. -- Lane Turner (34 photos total)

A protester carrying an Egyptian flag runs through clouds of tear gas at a demonstration in Cairo January 25, 2011. Thousands of anti-government protesters, some hurling rocks and climbing atop an armored police truck, clashed with riot police in the center of Cairo in a Tunisia-inspired demonstration to demand the end of Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30 years in power. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Demonstrators surround a water-canon truck used by police to disperse a protest in central Cairo to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and call for reforms January 25, 2011. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images) #

Demonstrators clash with police in central Cairo during a protest January 25, 2011. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images) #

Smoke from tear gas canisters fired by police drifts over central Cairo during protests January 25, 2011. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images) #

Protesters are confronted by riot police as they demonstrate in downtown Cairo, chanting against President Hosni Mubarak and calling for an end to poverty. (AP Photo/Mohammed Abu Zaid) #

A protester scuffles with a riot policeman during demonstrations in downtown Cairo January 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Mohammed Abu Zaid) #

An anti-government protester waves Egyptian flags during clashes with police in downtown Cairo January 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #

An injured demonstrator is helped in Cairo January 25, 2011. (AP Photo) #

Demonstrators move away from a cloud of teargas in Cairo January 25, 2011. (AP Photo) #

Anti-government protesters clash with police in downtown Cairo January 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany) #

Anti-government protesters clash with police in downtown Cairo January 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany) #

A boy runs from a column of riot policeman during anti-government protests in downtown Cairo January 25, 2011. Egyptian police fired tear gas at protesters gathered in the city center, and earlier used a water cannon in the same location. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh) #

A man runs from a police water cannon in Cairo January 25, 2011. (AP Photo) #

Men throw tear gas canisters back towards a police vehicle in Cairo January 25, 2011. (AP Photo) #

Egyptian demonstrators pray in central Cairo during a protest to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and call for reforms January 25, 2011. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images) #

Egyptian demonstrators protest in central Cairo January 25, 2011. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images) #

Anti-government protesters gather at Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo January 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany) #

Lebanese soldiers fall back as protesters wield sticks and pursue them during a protest in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon January 25, 2011. Sunnis protested the rising power of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah as Lebanese lawmakers gave the militant group's pick for prime minister enough support to form the next government. (AP Photo/Ahmad Omar) #

Supporters of the Future Movement rip a poster of Najib Miqati during a demonstration in support of the caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Tripoli January 25, 2011, as hundreds of people took part in a 'day of rage' over the likely appointment as prime minister of Hezbollah-backed tycoon Najib Miqati. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images) #

Lebanese soldiers patrol a street in Tripoli after protests by Lebanese Sunni Muslim supporters of Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri January 25, 2011. Telecoms tycoon Najib Miqati, who is backed by Hezbollah and its allies, was appointed as prime minister-designate. (REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir) #

Supporters of the Future Movement torch a vehicle belonging to the Arabic language al-Jazeera satellite television station during a demonstration in support of caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Tripoli January 25, 2011. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Lebanese soldier bandages the head of an injured colleague during a protest in the northern port city of Tripoli January 25, 2011. (AP Photo) #

A Lebanese soldier runs past burning tires lit by Sunni Muslim supporters of Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the main road connecting Beirut to southern Lebanon in Sidon January 25, 2011. (REUTERS/ Ali Hashisho) #

A protester carries a picture of outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri and a Lebanese flag in Sidon January 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari) #

Soldiers advance towards stone-throwing Sunni Muslim supporters of outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri near Tariq al-Jadidah in Beirut January 25, 2011. (REUTERS/Hasan Shaaban) #

A masked protester poses in front of burning garbage containers in Beirut January 25, 2011. (AP Photo/Grace Kassab) #

Tunisians continue their demonstrations outside Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi's offices in Government Square in Tunis January 25, 2011. The government square has become a makeshift camp as protestors defy the emergency curfew and sleep on the ground. Many vow to continue until the interim cabinet resigns. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) #

Protestors restrain and eject a man (center) with opposing political views from outside Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi's offices in Government Square in Tunis January 25, 2011. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) #

Tunisians climb government buildings outside Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi's offices in Government Square in Tunis January 25, 2011. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) #

A resident of Kasserine, Tunisia cries as he holds a portrait of his brother Mohamed Mbarki, who was killed during clashes with Tunisian security forces in December, as he demonstrates in front of the government palace in Tunis January 25, 2011. (FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images) #

Tunisian pro-government demonstrators hold a national flag during a protest on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis January 25, 2011. Hundreds of people taking part in the first rally backing Tunisia's new interim government were chased away by protesters calling for the leadership to resign. (FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images) #

Protesters from Tunisia's poor rural heartlands chant slogans outside the prime minister's office in Tunis January 25, 2011. Protesters demonstrated in the capital to demand that the revolution they started should now sweep the remnants of the fallen president's old guard from power. (REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra) #

A protester from a rural area camps out overnight with others outside the prime minister's office in Tunis January 25, 2011. (REUTERS/ Finbarr O'Reilly) #

A Tunisian man pauses as protestors continue their demonstrations outside Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi's offices in Government Square in Tunis January 25, 2011. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) #

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Palestinians - The Last Victims of the Holocaust!

Palestinians are the last victims of the holocaust and
Germany now has a responsibility to them! 
It is true! Guilt is garbage. 
Act instead & stand with Palestinians! 
Make a difference now!!! Nun aber los Leute!!!!!!!

(video, but not the comment above originally posted on Twitter by @WRH_Mike_Rivero)

~ Sofia SmithGordon Duff Veterans Todaypduf's Channel

Friday, January 21, 2011

Facebook’s New “Feature”| Customs Department | Please Line Up and Hold your Passport Ready! | Muting Palestine Posters & Bloggers

Jan 21, 2011 by OccuppiedPalestine

Yesterday Umm Hajar’s Facebook page was disabled again. For the third time.
Kindly notice, the pages seem to be visible on FB, but not accessible for Umm. She is receiving a lot of friendrequest which are send to the email linked to the account but is not able to access to post nor confirm.  Appreciating all your support highly!
I express my concern about FB disabling the accounts for no reason. FB’s supposed to be a social site and it defeats the purpose of the service when the accounts of popular and active users are randomly disabled, thus cutting them off from their network of contacts and destroying irrevocably what they have spent months and/or years building up here: photo albums, notes, groups, personal updates via facebook mobile and all the information of a personal nature stored in the mailbox, etc.
Previously it was (and that page still is disabled) on Dec 4, 2010 a friend and brother created a cause for the disabling of the Facebook account of Umm Hajar and of all those sharing news about Palestine which seem to be continuous target of deactivating, muting, restricting ordisabling by Facebook, trying to mute the truth and freedom of speech or to show solidarity with all people victimized by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on ALL sides.

Below the appeal on the cause as posted by one of her Friends

Her personal profile was disabled on Dec 3, 2010,no reason stated at all.
Almost 8 months daily work lot of hours, lost over 25.000 newspost (of already in media published nothing new) and contacts and messages of almost 5000 friends, groups, pages, notes, religious knowledgenotes/sites. Hence, even the Eid/Holiday cards she received are all gone.
She can use our help, to stay protesting for the cause (Peace for all!) please invite your friends to her pages.
In may 2010 She started resharing news for Palestine with 0 friends.
September 2010 She almost reached limit of 5000 so started new page
Oct 23, 2010 She reached 7456 people with the newsposts
1 Page was deleted, lost 2515 friends and started again
Nov 26, 2010 she reached 7882 people with the newsposts
Yesterday the personal profile was deleted, so – 5000
-25.000 newsposts, all notes, sources, personal and other mail about religion, the cause, and all information lost.
63 Years of Occupation, massacres and Al Nakba is enough. Share the word, the pictures and the news. Awaken the world in honour of the death of these massacres, may Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala grant the martyrs Jennatul Firdaus and protect our brothers and sisters in Palestine and elsewhere in the world, and all those living in oppression or violence or danger. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabb
Update from Umm Hajar: Friend Requests and Messages Blocked for 4 Days
To prevent you from contacting people against their wishes, your friend requests and your ability to send messages to strangers have been blocked for 4 days. Friend requests are more likely to be accepted when you send them to people you already know, such as classmates, friends, family and coworkers. If you use Facebook to communicate with strangers, they have the option to report that they don’t know you or to mark the communication as spam. If this happens repeatedly, you could be viewed as violating Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
Than i got message had to agree all pending friend request or add will be blocked and pending ones deleted or i will be disabled again. So far suggested friends… even from FB itself….

Below a overview of the friends and disabled pages:

This is an overview of the results of daily updates posting about Palestine since May 2010, and how the pages and interested friends on non public (!) profiles get zapped all the time by discriminatory Facebook rulings:

To show the interest of Umm Hajar’s updates on her pages insights of her fanpage (Jan 15, 2011)

Over 1 Million views:

Emailing Facebook

So Umm send an email to facebook, not able to receive the by Facebook required code by SMS and sends them the phonenumber (which is wiped out of the image below) to verify. Also complaint about the previous disabled accounts.

Almost day later she recieves the message below, in which Facebook is demanding a FULL COLOUR COPY of ID/Passport, anyway, something issued by a GOVERNMENT and in full color as well:

Now. Privacy and law, copyrights on passports mainly prohibit making copies, definitely when it is not for own use, or for the purpose/use by governmental institutions or persons like notaries, solicitors, banks and government departments etc. These kinds of requests, or better mark them as “demands”, are even a violation of privacy, hence, full colour copies could be abused for fraude and so on.
Besides this. it seems that the policy of Facebook is quit discriminating, for no one gets these demands and loads of people use nicknames in stead of their own name, and no one is asked about their passport (in full color mind you!)
Last but not least, Facebook not seems be willing to answer the question in previous email about the blocks and deactivating  of pages at all….

Maybe they should rename FACEBOOK into FAILBOOK

Thursday, January 20, 2011

#BDS: Macy Gray is waiting to hear from you: Shall I perform in Israel?

Macy Gray left the following post on her official fan page on Facebook:
I'm booked for 2 shows in TelAviv. I'm getting alot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians. What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting, but I wana go. I gotta lotta fans there I dont want to cancel on and I dont know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has dedicated a whole article to urge Israelis and Zionists to tell Macy they're waiting for her in Israel, so let's unite our efforts and ask her to join the international BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) Movement!

Please like Macy Gray's page then leave her a comment asking her not to perform in Israel!

OR copy and paste the following:

Dear Macy,

Please support the Palestine call for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and boycott the occupying apartheid Zionist entity!

Say no to massacres, ethnic cleansing, tree uprooting, home demolition, war crimes, racism, religious supremacy, discrimination, collective punishment, official torture, disgrace unto the nation...

Join Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp who recently canceled their trip to Israel in support the boycott calls.


Remember GAZA:

More than 1,300 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed during 22 days of Israeli shelling from sea, air and land. Palestinians in Gaza had nowhere to flee from Israel's onslaught as the border has been closed for two years, with disastrous consequences for the 1.5 million in habitants of Gaza -- the majority of them children and refugees.

CNN interview with Gaza youth breaks out team!

~ Sofia Smith

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reconciling Social Networking and Safety as Activists

As I am sitting here writing this piece I have a lot of different strands of thought running through my mind. As this is obviously a complex issue I will begin with my initial question. What is the definition of safety?

Google states that ‘safety’ is defined as ‘the state of being certain that adverse effects will not be caused by some agent under defined conditions’. Wikipedia takes it one step further and defines the term as “…the state of being ‘safe’ (from French, 'sauf'), the condition of being protected against physical, social, spiritual, financial, political, emotional, occupational, psychological, educational or other types or consequences of failure, damage, harm or any other event which could be considered non-desirable. Safety [according to Wikipedia] can also be defined to be the control of recognized hazards to achieve an acceptable level of risk. This can take the form of being protected from the event or from exposure to something that causes health or economical losses. It can include protection of people or of possessions.” (

So there we are. That’s what it means to be safe. But does it? Our world has changed greatly, with many activists having online and off-line lives. This is certainly not reserved to activists, but anyone who is online and engages in at times controversial discussion, but it is the angle that I will take in this particular post.

These thoughts have been churning around in my mind for a while now and I thought I would formulate them concretely, using a two pronged approach – (a) activist internet safety and (b) social networking and associated safety concerns.

Many online activists choose not to use their real names online. I did not understand this as well as I should have when I first became part of the online Palestinian support community. But for various reasons, once an activist has attained a certain profile or reputation, they can become targets on and offline.

This type of thing can be quite difficult to deal with, depending on who it is that searches you out. In the pro-Palestine/Palestinian support community (as well as others, depending on the cause) this could at times spell the potential for at minimum harassment. I don't want to spook anyone, but it is a reality.

This issue now certainly extends from the personal to the global – ie. to the blogging community and social networking sites.  In cases such as Facebook a user is required to provide and use their legal name. This becomes an issue when the reason for using Facebook in the first place was for activist purposes. So once again we enter the arena of personal internet safety and its associated challenges.

Facebook began as a social networking site for university students. However, I believe that Facebook and other such sites have outgrown their original purpose by far. I personally do not know many people who are not on Facebook. Many just use it for networking with their families and friends, but activists have recognized the value of this social networking site for what it is – access to millions of users for awareness raising purposes and to distribute information to. So what is one to do? Provide one’s real name and effectively paint a target on one’s forehead, or does one lie in the hope of not getting caught? Most do the latter and just wait and see…

Social networking sites NEED to recognize the potential dangers activists are at times subject to and adapt their approach to making available profiles/ accounts to both individuals and group entities using pseudonyms.

It can no longer simply be a matter of a corporation’s needs and wants, but a matter of the needs of the potentially affected individuals/groups.  Due to the sheer size of Facebook and the variety of users and user needs, Facebook is now effectively responsible for addressing issues such as this! 

Does Facebook want to be responsible for potential harm being done to someone because of their faceless corporate stance? I think NOT! Or at least I hope there is/will be a conscience behind the corporate façade…We need Facebook to do another 'about face'! Should you feel inclined to act on what was said in today's post, please contact Facebook via your Facebook account at their help center. Below are the instructions to reach their suggestion page.

1. Your account tab (top right of screen)
2. Scroll down to help centre
3. Choose suggestions
4. Fill out the form in the appropriate place.

For an additional perspective on Facebook's real name policy, please have a look at Jilian York's blog post titled 'Facebook for Activists' ( Read her blog in general! It's excellent!

~ Sofia Smith

Monday, January 17, 2011

Trip Like I do (Video)

This is a brilliant video! Watch it!

Full credit goes to BoycotDivestSanction and Filter for the song 'Trip Like I do'
Many thanks to @Jewelreloaded for posting this on Twitter!

~ Sofia Smith

Sunday, January 16, 2011

GYBO - Manifesto 2.0: Gaza Youth to Planet Earth! Anyone out there? “Gaza what"?

We would like to draw your attention to this important new voice that has recently come out of Gaza. The Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO) is a group of young Gazans who have decided to speak out. To stand up for themselves, what they believe in and how they feel about the horrors they are experiencing in Gaza. They are a voice that has not yet been heard and needs to be supported!

With more than half of the 1.5 million Gazan population being under the age of 18 (Source: A generation trapped – Gaza’s youth in figures, it stands to reason that we NEED to listen to GYBO.

Listen to what they have to say! They are the future!

~Sofia Smith and beatsNOTbombs

GYBO, January 14, 2011

via Uruknet (

The previous manifesto seems to have grown bigger than expected; many supported us, many others stood firmly against us, and very few stayed indifferent. Everyone had an opinion, yet rarely did they listen to others’ and in the middle of that mess, our own voice remained unheard.

Secular, Islamophobic, Dividing, Conspiratorial, Imaginary (?); we’ve been called by so many names, stopped counting and started crying. Both our supporters and those who swore to tear us down seem to have stopped at ONE thing in our manifesto: "Fuck Israel. Fuck Hamas. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNRWA. Fuck USA!". And no matter how hard we tried to explain on our Facebook page, in vain.

What about the rest? Let’s make things clear, starting with the Palestinian movements point. We were harsh, true. We were angry, and still are. The order in which the "parties" have been cited was not intended, and we are conscious that it brought much confusion in people’s minds. However, to those reproaching us – because we denounced the corruption of our political leaders – of insulting the thousands who voted for Hamas in 2006 (among which us), of insulting the memories of the martyrs of the Resistance groups affiliated to the different Palestinian factions who shed their blood for us in many occasions, starting with Operation Cast Lead, we want to reply don’t insult the Palestinian people’s right to criticize its politicians.

Cast Lead wasn’t a war; Cast Lead was a massacre, a slaughter, anything but a war. And during that massacre, we, people of Gaza, paid from our blood too. Every single Palestinian sacrificed something, someone, it affected us all, from the youngest to the oldest, not only the Resistance. Bombs didn’t make much difference. We never intended to reject the Resistance, and we’re going to repeat it again; we will NEVER reject those who fight for us, for our Palestine, and it was NOT the case in our previous manifesto.

Yes we voted for Hamas government. We all did. We were tired of Fatah government’s corruption, wanted a change and hoped Hamas would be that change. That PRECISELY gives us the right to shout our anger at them, because they are responsible of us, responsible of our well-being, our security. Fatah in the West Bank arrests Hamas affiliates, Hamas in Gaza arrests Fatah affiliates, while everywhere in Palestine you can find family members from different factions living united. Yes we denounce our politicians – note that words; POLITICIANS – because their mutual hatred divided them even during the commemoration of the first anniversary of Cast Lead massacre, while a crowd of Palestinians from all factions stood united by martyrdom, grief, and love for Palestine.

Whether you want to admit it or not, believe it or not, corruption exists, and it’s our right as Palestinians to denounce it, because we are tired of it. Internal change has not only internal parameters. Change will come only if people outside realize that they need to take into consideration the fact that corruption does exist, and that it needs to be stopped if we want unity back. So if it takes us to shout it to the world for our political leaders to hear us and care to unite for us, we’ll do it a hundred times.

No one helps us by asking from us to keep our mouths shut about our political issues. We’re accused of encouraging division because we dare point out the weakness of our political leaders. No one knows, apart from those who are INSIDE, how life is in Palestine because of these divisions. Trying to shut us up by saying "don’t criticize, keep your divisions "secret" and discrete" is most harmful! It just confirms our politicians that they can keep on doing it the way they do it, they will be supported by people who don’t know the theory lying in political programs. In other terms, criticizing Hamas political leaders – but the other factions’ political leaders AS WELL – is a way for us to say "if you keep it this way, all you will get is division, which is what Israel seeks". We ought to remind them of our martyrs and imprisoned, our ancients, those who gave birth and made those movements live. We ought to remind them that Cheikh Yaseen, Marwan Barghouti, and all the others deserve more than that. Who’s in the best position for such an honest shout out, if not their own children?

The question has been raised about our anonymity. We can understand that. What we don’t understand is that instead of listening to our call for patience and time, we’ve seen ourselves caught in a witch-hunt, as ridiculous as fetching for the slightest element to make us fall. Example?
"The founding base of this group [Sharek Youth Forum] was funded by the U.S.’s National Endowment for Democracy (which have done much to overturn democracy in many countries) is suspect. Allen Weinstein (one of the founders of NED) said "a lot of what we [NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA". Does that sound good anyone?"
Seriously?! Because we mentioned that the closure of the forum – which was one of the only centers for youths remaining in Gaza, one of the only places where young people could meet, learn foreign languages, use the internet, and enjoy things they don’t have at home to escape from the deadly routine in Gaza – was the straw that broke the camel’s back for youths who had nowhere else to go, people assumed that our "base" was that center and that we were funded by the CIA? Other people claim that it’s most suspicious that our manifesto created that much buzz, made its way to Western journals. Where is the "innocent until proven guilty" principle? We seem to be the first victims of our success.

We do exist, and if we don’t want to reveal our identity for the moment – for safety reasons – it’s our right. However, more proofs of our existence are to come in the next days, one  brought by contributors of the Electronic Intifada:
Asa Winstanley : both Max Ajl and Jarid Malsin (non-mainstream western journalists and bloggers based in Gaza, both of whom I personally trust) reckon they are for real:
What is our leitmotiv? Freedom. And for that, we know that we need the Palestinians and their leaders to unite against the Zionist Occupier. And that’s precisely why we call for action. Now. Not in 6 months, not in a year, not wait until another massacre strikes us. Now. We call on the Palestinians to unite and organize in an efficient movement of non violent protests, boycott. We call for divestment and sanctions against "Israel". We want our land back, we want our freedom of movement back, we want to be able to go abroad to have a chance, like other people of our age, to get education. We want to be able to exchange freely with the world, to have a future and be motivated to work for it. Enough fear, enough terror, enough misery, enough broken dreams, enough airstrikes, enough blockade, enough mourning, enough violation of every single human right we are supposed to have.

We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask? We are a peace movement consistent of young people in Gaza and supporters elsewhere that will not rest until the truth about Gaza and Palestine is known by everybody in this whole world and in such a degree that no more silent consent or loud indifference will be accepted. And if we fail, other groups will take our place, until our voice can’t be ignored anymore.


Previous version of the manifesto:
Fuck Israel. Fuck Hamas. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNRWA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, Fatah, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16’s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in; we are like lice between two nails living a nightmare inside a nightmare, no room for hope, no space for freedom. We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, homemade fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.
There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalizing this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope. The final drop that made our hearts tremble with frustration and hopelessness happened 30th November, when Hamas’ officers came to Sharek Youth Forum, a leading youth organization ( with their guns, lies and aggressiveness, throwing everybody outside, incarcerating some and prohibiting Sharek from working. A few days later, demonstrators in front of Sharek were beaten and some incarcerated. We are really living a nightmare inside a nightmare. It is difficult to find words for the pressure we are under. We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. They did not get rid of Hamas, as they intended, but they sure scared us forever and distributed post traumatic stress syndrome to everybody, as there was nowhere to run.
We are youth with heavy hearts. We carry in ourselves a heaviness so immense that it makes it difficult to us to enjoy the sunset. How to enjoy it when dark clouds paint the horizon and bleak memories run past our eyes every time we close them? We smile in order to hide the pain. We laugh in order to forget the war. We hope in order not to commit suicide here and now. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the earth. During the last years Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. We are a generation of young people used to face missiles, carrying what seems to be a impossible mission of living a normal and healthy life, and only barely tolerated by a massive organization that has spread in our society as a malicious cancer disease, causing mayhem and effectively killing all living cells, thoughts and dreams on its way as well as paralyzing people with its terror regime. Not to mention the prison we live in, a prison sustained by a so-called democratic country.
History is repeating itself in its most cruel way and nobody seems to care. We are scared. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We are afraid of living, because every single step we take has to be considered and well-thought, there are limitations everywhere, we cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want, sometimes we even cant think what we want because the occupation has occupied our brains and hearts so terrible that it hurts and it makes us want to shed endless tears of frustration and rage!
We do not want to hate, we do not want to feel all of this feelings, we do not want to be victims anymore. ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want!
We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask? We are a peace movement consistent of young people in Gaza and supporters elsewhere that will not rest until the truth about Gaza is known by everybody in this whole world and in such a degree that no more silent consent or loud indifference will be accepted.
This is the Gazan youth’s manifesto for change!
We will start by destroying the occupation that surrounds ourselves, we will break free from this mental incarceration and regain our dignity and self respect.  We will carry our heads high even though we will face resistance. We will work day and night in order to change these miserable conditions we are living under. We will build dreams where we meet walls.
We only hope that you – yes, you reading this statement right now! – can support us. In order to find out how, please write on our wall or contact us directly: freegazayouth[at]
We want to be free, we want to live, we want peace.
If you want to help, here are some ways for now:
  1. Promoting our manifesto by sharing it
  2. Sending an email to your friends asking them to join us in our different social accounts (Facebook, Twitter)
  3. Translating the manifesto to your language and sending it to us
  4. Sending the manifesto to journalists in your country
  5. Making organizations in your countries that are concerned with the Palestinian issue and/or youth rights know about our existence
  6. Posting links about violation of youth’s rights in Gaza on our wall
  7. Planning an event in your country about this issue and/or organizing for a skype conference, where we are able to talk with a group of youth, politicians or others outside Gaza
  8. Suggesting us ideas for reaching out to a greater number of people