Monday, April 25, 2011

Home comings!'s blog post is a personal one. I'm not even going to publicize it.  Today, very early in the morning I found out that unless there is an issue with the boat or the composition of the group needs to change for particular reasons, that I'm going on the Canadian boat to Gaza soon! This is it! This is what everything I've been doing has led to...for now. There will always and obviously be more. This is not where I stop! Next year I'll hopefully go to Gaza with the ISM. Inshallah that happens. We'll see, but one way or another I will now go once every year!

But this is big for another reason. I have not been back in the Middle East in 33 years! Yes, you read that right, 33 years!!!  It's a sort of home coming. Although I'm not going to Iraq or Lebanon, it is still a home coming! Can't wait!

~Sofia Smith

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

NO, We Will Not Be Scared Off!

So I have something to say. 

If Vittorio Arrigoni's death was supposed to warn 
us activists off from coming to boat or 
otherwise...this has failed! 

I WILL go to Gaza by boat. Failing that, by car. And 
failing that I will crawl to Gaza! 

Those murderous bastards will NOT win and we 
will NOT give up! 

The pro-Palestine movement will NOT give in! 

RIP Vittorio!

Image courtesy of Carlos Latuff. Obtained at the RAIM-Denver site at

~ Sofia Smith

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear Vittorio: Damn you, man! You made me cheer for Barcelona!!!

I really did want to post earlier about whom I consider a friend, Vittrio Arrigoni! The Italian journalist and ISM activist who got murdered (suffocated) by a group of extremists. Every time I tried to do it, I just couldn’t finish it and it was so angry as I was! But not anymore. I mean let’s remember together who this man really was! Regardless of his terrific work that I wouldn’t dare talking about as it speaks for itself. Vittorio was this beautiful, passionate, caring, loving and energetic person who’s full of life & humanity! When you enter a place or a room you’d know he’s there because his loud voice and laugh would actually shake the place! Not to mention his funny English accent let alone his Arabic one! You’d fall in love with him when he says “AH, MUSHKILE!!” which means “Oh, that’s a problem!!”. And his text messages that would be half English, half Arabic and you can’t tell which is which! I’ve never seen him sad or upset! He lived a beautiful, meaningful life and he would want me\us to do the same. I feel it’s our duty to convey his message to the world, to be passionate about what we do, to always laugh, sing and dance, to be better peace activists and to live and fight for a cause and to die with honor. What happened to him is a real tragedy that was committed by non-humans! No one could’ve been more Palestinian than our Vik, so to the murderers out there: I feel so sorry for you; you’re just so pathetic and weak! What you did to Vik didn’t actually kill him; he’s not dead..YOU are! He’s alive in every street, in the sea, in the farms, on the walls and in our hearts!

When I heard the news, I was following the case of his abduction on twitter and before that I told my friends that I’m not putting his face as my profile picture because that was insane since he’s going to be released right next morning!!! I was so sure, as all of you were (I guess) that he’s going to be out in any minute! I was joking naively about it on twitter saying “Believe me, this is fake. He’s hiding so I won’t laugh at him at Saturday night’s Classico” and people were asking me who he cheers for and I was like “He’s for Barca, that scumbag!” I swear I said that literary and we were laughing about it. One told me that Vik is going to kill us when he gets out for accusing him of hiding and being afraid, not to mention calling him scumbag..and other bad things! We were laughing and so sure he would when he gets out and see all the jokes we were telling behind his back! Not for a moment, I believed how serious it was. I blamed myself when I heard the news of his murder for not taking it seriously, for not putting his picture, for telling jokes and calling him bad names but again, that’s how we used to communicate always laughing, joking and making fun of each other! I didn’t get how this would change at any time at any day!

Sorry for the title! I know you all would think I’m crazy or inappropriate or something, BUT when I & Vik used to talk, this is how we used to do it; always mean, fighting, yelling at each other. And I’ve always called him bad names, but I just noticed that he never did the same to me, he always laughed about it. So, allow me to continue addressing him the way I used to do & the way he liked, cuz actually when I do this with anyone, it means that I love him very deeply! So, I’ll keep loving him in my own way and tell him: “Damn you bastard, you made me cheer for Barca”!!

Our friendship was not work-related! It was, as he always was with others, so beautiful & humane! We both are football crazy. We would fight for hours and text nonstop attacking each other and making fun of each other’s teams! We were rivals; he’s for Juventus & I’m for Inter Milan, he’s for Barca & I’m for Madrid, he’s for Manchester & I’m for Liverpool & of course he’s for Italy & I’m for Brasil.. Total enemies. That’s how we first met few years ago in Al Deira restaurant, we talked about different things & when you meet this guy, you just can’t help but to love him! Then when it came to football, I knew he was from Milano then he said he’s for Juventus and then we started the fight that was so funny & endless!

Vik was not only there when it came to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He was also there for us internally, specially when we started the March15 popular movement (sorry for not posting about it as I promised, but a lot happened and I couldn’t. I’ll make a big one soon.)! He went out in most of the demonstrations and he got beaten up just like the rest of us. On the big day of March15 when the big attack happened in Kateebe Square he was there and was beaten..right after that, he called me to make sure I was safe! On the “horrible” Day of Land 30th of March, I saw an injured girl in the street who got hit by a police jeep during our demonstration calling for the end of division though she was just walking by. I stayed there to help her and he was calling me but I didn’t answer, then he called my sister to know where I am so he could come and bring a doctor along as he thought I was the one who got hit. She told him I was there to offer help, but he wanted to come and bring the doctor to help us as much as possible no matter how hard she tried to convince him that it was so dangerous and risky for him to go there. Later on, I called them to say that everything’s fine and we got her to the hospital. Before March15, I got arrested with a group of girls for standing in solidarity with Egyptians. He was following our case every step of the way, tried to help and then after we got released he was texting and calling to check if I was OK! Also in Sharek Youth Forum incident in December 2010 he was following our news and stood beside us and supported my friend Mostafa when he got arrested that day.. and I can tell you tens of similar situations where you ALWAYS find him there for you! And in every time no matter how bad it is, he just manages to make me laugh. He doesn’t know how helpful that was, that’s something I’ll always miss!

In Vik’s mourning house, I met a lot of people who were in a bad shape grieving their friend. We shared stories, they made me cry even more! Everyone had his own story. -Shahd was supposed to meet him on Friday, the day after his abduction! -Razan was supposed to accompany him to visit some family in a distant area. -Asa’ad had brought him a new pair of shoes as Vik’s were worn-out and Asa’ad has been hallucinating since then “Oh my friend, won’t you take the new shoes I brought you?”. -Abu Zuhdi and others stayed the night before the murder at the Gallery (Vik’s favorite place) till the morning with Vik and did nothing but playing Oud and singing beautiful songs of Palestine & Fairouz! -Fadi & Asa’ad couple of days before the murder were listening to loud, beautiful music for Mohammed Mounir while Vik was in a meeting at the same time & same place. Then he left the meeting and joined them in their crazy moment dancing and singing so loudly! Then he gave Fadi famous small medal of “Handala” he used to put on his hat after Fadi asked him for it. I was happy that it wasn’t lost with his other stuff, and it’ll be kept by someone who knows what it really means! Most of the crowd didn’t really have that close relation with him, but hey, who didn’t talk to Vik before? Who didn’t pass by him without getting his warm smile, who didn’t sing Onadeekum along with him, who didn’t talk to him and heard his lovely Arabic accent, who didn’t at least see his face before? Vik was well-known in Gaza, like a Hollywood star! -For me, I felt blessed that I could remember the first & last times we met as I don’t usually remember so easily. Then after that I started to have all the memories at once like a flash back that made me laugh while I was crying that I looked insane! Last time I saw him was in a gathering for friends and we had so much fun that night. I remember one ordered a Nutella cake and we ate it right from the box. That was so savage and disgusting that made us all laugh about it. Ah, and he was singing Gaqqfai’s famous revolutionary song “Zanga Zanga”. I wish I knew that was the last time to see him, really if I ever want make a wish, it’d be knowing when it’s my last time with someone! I wish..!

At Saturday night, we had the big game of Real Madrid vs. Barcelona that I was supposed to watch with him at the Gallery. I went there with my family & friends without him next to us, but with him in my heart & mind. I went because we should’ve been there together, the only difference was that he was watching from the heavens and I was here on Earth! I decided to go and cheer for Barcelona as he always wanted!! Some of the crowd were chanting for Madrid and others for Barca & I was sitting there silent; not knowing what to do. Most of the time I was forgetting my decision and would scream for Madrid and then I’d go “Shit, I forgot. Go Barca”! That was horrible lol, not to mention how much hated I was from both crowds!! I was tortured that night and it was so messed up but hilarious! I had my American friend right next to me saying “Vik is laughing his ass off at you right now!” Yes, I bet he did!! I hope my gesture that night made it up for him for all the times when I was mean to him and for never telling him how much I did love & respect him! Because cheering for the enemy (Barca) means that I love you, man!Our dearest friend Shahd Abu Salame finally did that painting you always wanted her to do and I did cheer for Barca as you always were telling me to do.. You bastard, you always get what you want! This is a video of me and friends in a little protest in solidarity with our Egyptian brothers during their revolution. Vik joins us and starts to sing the famous Onadeekum and I’ll quote his ISM colleague and good friend Adie here:

“Vik used to sing this revolutionary song by Palestinian poet, communist Tawfiq Ziad: ‘Ounadikum’ or ‘I’m calling you’ on many demonstrations in Gaza. The first few lines are exactly Vik:

I’m calling you
I shake your hands
I kiss the ground beneath your feet
I’d die for you
I dedicated to you the light of my eyes
And I give you the warmth of my heart
And the tragedy that I live is that my fate is the same as yours

I couldn’t sleep as in few hours Gaza will officially say goodbye to Vik. His body will leave this place, but not his heart..not his mind nor his spirit! He’ll be stuck here in Gaza and we’ll be stuck there in him forever! No black clothes and hopefully no tears, with lots of love we’ll celebrate your humanity and greatness today..Sleep well ♥

~ Reposted by Sofia Smith

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Remembering Vittorio Arrigoni - A hero of Palestine

Video courtesy of A9TF at

~ Sofia Smith

GoodBye Vittorio Arrigoni, killed in Gaza 15\4\2011

Written and originally posted by Omar Ghraieb/@Omar_Gaza on his blog titled 'Revealing Gaza: In the Eyes Of The Beholder' at

We Will never forget you, RIP.

Vittorio Arrigoni,36, Italian ISM volunteer in Gaza plus a respectable journalist who always made his best to shed a light on Gaza, was kidnapped yesterday by an “unknown Group”. The group threatened to kill him if Hamas doesn’t respond to their demand: which is to release one of their prisoners in Hamas jails. They gave Hamas 30 hours starting from 11am from 14\4\2011.

At 3 30am 15\4\2011 Reuters News Flash on twitter reported Vittorio’s death, the source was unnamed Hamas source. Then tweets and rumors started asking about the credibility of this news, some started denying while others were confirming. At 4 am Vittorio Arrigoni’s death was confirmed by Hamas officials.

Ministry of Interior, Gaza, issued a press release saying that they immediately moved to search for him once they got the news of his abduction; they did their best until they reached 1 suspect who led them to the other suspects and the place where Vittorio was held in. They entered and found Vittorio already dead. They arrested two suspects and doubt that more accomplices may be involved. The press release also referred that the crime came to shake Gaza’s image and scare international activists away specially after the news of the preparations for a second freedom flotilla. The press release pointed out that the abductors wanted him dead because they killed him after a short while of his abduction. The Ministry of interior promised to follow all the murders, prosecute them and punish them.

The press release of the interior ministry in Gaza didn’t mention more info, no mentioning of the where and when he was abducted, why he was abducted and by whom.

On the other hand, France 24 offered more details –which I cant confirm or deny – about Vittorio’s death and abduction process without mentioning the source behind these info:

The Italian was killed by suffocation and his body was found in a street of the city of Gaza," a spokesman for the Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip told AFP.

Two suspected kidnappers were arrested and security officials are looking for accomplices.

Foreign aid workers in the enclave earlier named the man as Vittorio Arrigoni and said he was an activist with a pro-Palestinian group called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who was also working as a journalist and writer.

Vittorio was Italian by birth but his dedication to Palestine and Gaza made him no less Palestinian than any other Palestinian, he came to Gaza many times and live here for a while. He endangered his life numerous times while working as a volunteer with the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) in Gaza when he was trying to protect farmers and fisherman, in addition to his participation in all buffer-zone protests.

Vittorio meant allot for Palestinians, Gazans and his friend everywhere. He is a huge loss for us all, may he rest in peace.

We will never forget you Vik.

~ Reposted by Sofia Smith

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vittorio Arrigoni, ISM worker, Kidnapped in Gaza

Courtesy of Omar Ghraieb (@Omar_Gaza on Twitter) at
'Revealing Gaza: In the Eyes of the Beholder' (

Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, ISM volunteer in Gaza, was kidnapped earlier today in Gaza city. Later, a youtube video surfaced showing Vittotio blind folded and beaten up.

Salafi Jehadis claimed the responsibility of kidnapping and abducting him asking Hamas government in Gaza to release Abu Al Waleed Al Maqdisi in 30 hours starting from 11 am today 14\4\2011 or else they would kill him.

All jornos in Gaza, Vittorios friends here and his friends everywhere ask Hamas to immediately intervene and release Vittiorio who worked hard to help Gaza for a long time.

Please lets all pray for his safe release.

The youtube vid:
~ Reposted by Sofia Smith

Awarta 1 Month under Siege: Collective Punishment Beneath the Blanket of the World's Silence & Ignorance


For 1 whole month now,  the Village of ‘ Awarta is under curfew, suffering of disgusting Israeli agrression, curfews, arrest, violent forced DNA tests.

While actually,  no one at all has been charged officialy for the horrible killing of 5 Jewish Settlers in the nearby situated illegal settlement Itamar.

Besides broad coverage of news in Palestinian media, nothing really “leaks” outside the Occupied Territories but IOA is abusing the village and it’s inhabitants to victimize themselves even more than the members of the Fogel Family themselves, oppressing, violating and even not seem to be ashamed of  committing this collective punishment to polish up their eternal status of victimized Jewish entity.

Hence, even children have been arrested, as well 100 women simultaneously have been kidnapped in a nazi like operation.

Besides that, IOF seems to have reveived Carte Blanche to demolish everyone’s homes, furniture, belongings, beat, harrass, tear gas, molest and arrest whoever goes on legs in ‘ Awarta.  This is… whenever going outside is allowed because the curfews are going on since March 12 now.

For an impression of the violence some pictures, as pictures say more than a thousand words:

Or watch these video’s to see for yourself:


1 Month of Siege

One whole month now, media silences the suffering of ‘ Awarta’s people.
One whole month now, Human Rights Organisations just condemn the collective punishment, but harshly any ease of the atrocties is being taken of the people of the village near to Nablus.

IOA, behaves itself like a cheap prostitute by even legalizing landgrab, bulldozering ever since the murders immediately the already scarcely land which was left to them due to the ongoing construction of settlements nearby.


The Lawless situation of West Bank Palestinians

Settlements, which are according to the 4th Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations forbidden. Illegal itself. It is prohibited by International Law, for an occupier to transfer it’s own people into occupied territories.

Like IOA needs murder to ethnical cleans Palestine.Who still believes the hasbara (propaganda machine of Israel) it may be clarifying to read the special topic: ETHNIC CLEANSING
In the meanwhile, the world lays beneath a blanket of Silence and Ignorance, not aware of this ongoing atrocities by so called G-d guided men and women of Zion, violating even their own G-ds laws.
For a complete and shocking overview  of Colonists’ violence since January 1, 2011, please read the special topic: SETTLER VIOLENCE


Mourning the Death

Let we keep in mind no murder is to justify, but the victimization of IOA is going beyond any level of comprehesion and tolerance, while the Israeli Occupying Authority itself commits an ongoing genocide on Palestinians.

Only this year, on April 12th, 2011, 67 Palestinians have been slaughtered or assassinated in targeted killings in West Bank and Gaza.

More ignorance and despicable silence of the world’s media and so called “United” Nations with their resolutions and laws come in mind, when you behold, these 67 human beings, souls, have damaged families, futures and bad prospects.

Even more for it is known, the ongoing siege on Gaza nor ‘ Awarta is not eased at all.


Just some consequences of a Siege

Today, Gaza enters it 7th day of closure. This is the sole crossing which is left to provide the Palestinians in the strip of foods, basics, medications, fuel, electricity and so on is being cut of any need whatsoever,
These curfews, these closures cause the death of Palestinians, every day, in a Silent Genocide. Since the Siege on Gaza 600 patients died due to lack of treatment, medicins or prohibitions to see a doctor or go to a hospital.

Like Gaza, the Village of ‘ Awarta is undergoing now the same faith. An open air prison in which anyone is delivered to the zionist policies while the world is sleeping, barely wakes up, seldom condemns but never ACTS.

It has been enough. Share this post, spread the truth.



In the Media…

~ Reposted with permission by Sofia Smith

سجن طرة " اهداء للحرامية"

Have a look and listen everyone! 

Posted on YouTube by at
and brought to my attention via Twitter by @AElMassry

~ Sofia Smith

From Gaza to the outer world - This I have to say

No-fly zone over Gaza + Global events + Personal thoughts & Feelings

From Gaza to the outer world - This I have to say
by Omar Ghraieb (@Omar_Gaza on Twitter) 
from his blog titled 'Revealing Gaza: In The Eyes Of The Beholder' (

Gaza, April 13, Its amazing how we consider it a good day in Gaza if Israel is not continuously bombing killing civilians, children and women yet we are still suffering from complete shortages in everything which ignited a humanitarian crisis in the strip after major shortages in Medicine, cooking gas, fuel and electricity.

It seems like we got used to these crisis to the extent that they became our daily routine. Israel finally opened Gaza’s crossings today but honestly that made us feel nothing, they barely let in what Gaza needs so they wont make up for the week of closure but life goes on and so do we.

I don’t know how to describe what you feel and how you cope while living in Gaza, its like you are automatically programmed to deal with any sudden tragedies, events, bombing, crisis or any related matter.

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by Gaza that I forget West Bank exists or the world exists. We are bound to be tracking the news, politics, on-ground events and daily recaps because this is the way it is and this is the way our lives are formatted.

What do you expect from us when we live in such a besieged coastal enclave? We live in the biggest open air prison. As for the mental siege, Israel cuts our electric power, supplies, fuel & air if they could to keep us isolated and alone. In Gaza, every house has a story of tragedy whether directly affected by it or happened to a neighbor, loved one, relative, or friend. If Gazans aren’t participating in the funeral of a martyr they would be visiting injured people in the hospitals or helping the disabled or maybe running to the UNRWA to get some supplies or maybe trying to make a living by collecting gravels and stones near Gaza’s border putting their lives in total danger. Numerous kids, men and workers get shot by Israeli armed towers and they die or face serious injury while trying to make a living. People here are so swamped into our strange lifestyle that we seriously forget there is a world out there.

Its like we don’t have the time to be happy, live a normal life or have fun. We cant afford fun, we can afford only tragedies and miseries. We try to steal little moments so we can do something we like yet we do feel guilty inside thinking that maybe its not the time of luxury.

It’s a unique atmosphere of resilience and will power here in Gaza, something that I would have missed if I stayed in Cyprus Island where I was born and raised. You get this power and immunity towards every bad thing that might happen. Israel will bomb the hell out of us at night yet in the morning life goes on, children walk to their schools under heavy shooting and bombs, people leave for work, sun will shine and Gaza will never die. It gives every instinct inside of you a 10 times push and a huge kick where you can face anything in this world including death itself since your life and the life of your loved ones are in constant non-stop danger.

We also connect to all uprisings across the Arab world. We put the fundamentals of revolting back in 1948 by igniting a powerful intifada like no other which inspired the whole world and made it to the global dictionary. So we cant help but keep tracking uprisings everywhere and support it in every way possible. Ofcourse the global media outlets take different stands towards these uprisings digging deep to find a flaw in each and every one, but we don’t care. We support the people everywhere and believe in people-power. Palestinians become one in times of tragedy and become 1 with their fellow arabs in times of their tragedies too because simply we care.

We stood with Iraq and Lebanon during America’s and Israel’s animalistic war against them. We stood with Tunisians while they raised their voice against tyranny. We stood with Egyptians while they transformed tahrir (Liberation) sq. into a true solid meaning of Liberation, Egypt uprising was slightly different because we are tracking them non-stop, we didn’t sleep and we were very attached to them perhaps because Egypt is very linked to Palestine –Especially Gaza- and we felt like we are 1 with our fellow Egyptians. We stood with Libyans against the violent lunacy of Gaddafi. We stood with the brave souls of Bahrain while they revolted. We stood with Yemenis while they hit the streets for freedom. We stood with Syrians while they demanded some changes. We stood with Jordanians while they gathered to ask for reforms.

I get angry when I read or watch news claiming that Arab revolts are paid for, driven, controlled, directed, maneuvered, blah blah blah! You cant control a whole population and drive them to endager their lives for freedom. The sole of their uprisings is standing against tyranny so quit the biased BS.

We stood united to demand the end of our Palestinian shameful division, thousands of Gazans hit the street in parallel with Palestinians in the West Bank who revolted for the same demand. We both faced local Oppression by Hamas supports and the PA supporters in Ramallah but we tried to hang on. In Gaza, March 15 brave souls decided to stop after numerous attempts failed and ended with detention and violence. While some Palestinians in the west Bank are still on a hunger strike demanding the end of the division, George Hale (4m Maan News Network English Edition) wrote an article describing their situation today and the PA unjust and illegal orders of detention to some of them, read article here:

We also keep tracking the world and the changes that happen: Obama’s fake affection towards Libyan civilians demanding a no-fly zone to protect the pricy oil fields in Libya, Japan’s ongoing crisis and the recent shameful acts by France when they banned Niqab+Burqa to show a real face of racism against Islam.

That’s why Gazans become political experts and analysts at such young age because every minute of their lives include either local, national or global politics.

I would like to send a message to Obama: You are such a fake façade, you launched a campaign for change yet Americans saw no change and we saw nothing. You rushed to deplore the Israeli school bus incident yet you never cared enough to deplore any of Israelis brutal massacres against the children of Gaza. You Appeared on TV acting like the mother Teresa saying you cant stand civilians being killed in Libya and ordered an immediate no-fly zone on Libya when the real reason behind it was to protect the oil fields just like the war on Iraq to steal everything therewith false allegations on non-existing weapons of mass destruction. WE DEMAND A NO-FLY ZONE OVER GAZA, GATHER A WESTERN COALITION AND COME BOMB HELL OUT OF ISRAEL OR JUST SHUT UP AND DON’T SPEW CRAP.

Gazans are excited to hear that The European Campaign to End the Sige on Gaza didnt give up on us and decided to send a second freedom flotilla towards Gaza despite the sad events that occurred on Mavi Marmara on the May of 2010. Israel attacked the Humanitarian and civilian activists on baord killing 9 and injuring many others. We are just praying we wont witness similar events to those devastating ones that happened last year and that they actually make it to Gaza safe and sound this time.

Also recently been hearing endless speculations about a second+near brutal Israeli attack on Gaza similar to 2008-2009 bloody assaults that left 1600 martyr and thousands of injured. Well we don’t care, we can survive everything and we already have allot on our plate to deal with.

The top 3 topics discussed on daily basis in Gaza:

1- Palestinian shameful division & the reconciliation between Green and Yellow Ooops I mean Hamas and Fatah Oops again I mean Gaza and the West Bank.

2- True=Cease fire between Israel and Hamas (I want to say Palestinian resistance in Gaza but usually Hamas takes the shots), endless cease fires and they always are violated by Israel.

3- Israeli continuous attacks on Gaza.

We used to talk about Gaza’s siege long ago but not anymore, we are very used to it by now.

I just want to say that my only connection to the outer world is my Pro-Palestinian friends who are scattered across the globe. Facebook and twitter are my only venues to stay intouch with them and keep them updated about Gaza’s events (mainly bad, rarely good).

When you live in Gaza: You learn not to make futuristic plans because you cant guarantee you might make it till tomorrow, or plan any futuristic traveling intentions because passing Rafah is like passing the Bar-Lev line. Bottom line: while living in Gaza you learn to live day-by-day without any plans.

Long Live Gaza, Long Live Palestine, Long live the Arab nation (not governments, Arab gov.s are disappointing, they never took action against Israeli continuous assaults on Gaza, they thought its enough to deplore them, yet Saudi army rushed to oppress Bahraini protesters), Long Live all pro-Palestinian people+nations+countries, long Live Peace+love+tolerance and Long Live Revolution.

~ Reposted with permission by Sofia Smith

Silwan: No Legend Yet


The “Pied Piper of Hamelin” is Alive. Not in Germany but in Oppressed Silwan. No Legends this Time

By occupiedpalestine, April 14, 2011

The Pied Piper of Hamelin is the subject of a legend concerning the departure or death of a great many children from the town of Hamelin (Hameln) in  Germany, in the Middle Ages. The earliest references describe a piper, dressed in pied (multicolored) clothing, leading the children away from the town never to return. In the 16th century the story was expanded into a full narrative, in which the piper is a rat-catcher hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizenry refuses to pay for this service, he retaliates by turning his magic on their children, leading them away as he had the rats. This version of the story spread as a fairy tale. This version has also appeared in the writings of, among others, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Brothers Grimm and Robert Browning.

The story may reflect a historical event in which Hamelin lost its children…

Back to reality

Silwan seems to be the new Hameln, for Israeli Occupying Authority catches the children of Silwan. This time not with magic of a flute, but with rifles, teargas, hit & run attacks, kidnapping children during nightly raids hence, even a 4 year old mentally handicapped child got arrested. Minors, press, medics, or social workers of Palestinian origin are undergoing atrocities on daily basis. People are teargassed while praying. Incursions are taking place every day with the usual known indiscirminate and disproportional violence.

Last months, there is an ongoing and increasing amount of reports of kidnapping, arrest, abuse and violence against the children of Silwan. Not only by the “most moral army in the World: IOFbut backed by those, also settlers take a huge part of the violations against humanity, rights, liberties, rights and commit ongoing violations against the people of Silwan. Silwan, which  situated by the wayin  illegally occupied Jerusalem.

International Law, The 4th Geneva Convention (1949) and the Hague Regulations (1907) prohibits an occupying entity to transfer it’s own people into occupied territories, but also (!) has obligations towards the inhabitants, like their welfare, to look after their needs, necessities and more.

The realityof Israel’s behaviour throughout the West Bank and especially in this case in Silwan is almost an disgusting opposite. And again, the world’s silence  on these ongoing crimes against Palestinians is being covered by hasbara (propaganda) or lack of coverage by international media who do not seem to bother about these atrocities at all.


Ethnic Cleansing

Silwan, as part of Jerusalem is being exploited, ethnically cleansed from it’s original Palestinian inhabitants solely for the purpose of turning it into touristic site ongoing since 1997.

In the beginning of the 90s, a private organization called Elad (El Ir-David, To City of David) started to operate in the village. In Elad’s mission statement it is written that its mission is to “strengthen the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and this in the means of tours, guidance, populating, and publishing material.” In practice, Elad feverishly worked to gain ownership of houses and lands in the village and particularly in Wadi Hilwah neighborhood.

When Elad received from the Israeli Land Administration, the responsibility for the preservation and maintenance of City of David national park, which lies in the heart of Wadi Hilwah neighborhood, the very important site of ancient Jerusalem.

Perhaps that is why the Israeli Antiquities Authority opposed handing responsibility to Elad, a private body with a clear political agenda for the area. Following an appeal to the Israeli High Court, the contract with Elad was annulled. However, the contract was reenacted in 2002 by the Israeli Parks and Nature Authority. Surprisingly, the Antiquities Authority did not oppose the move in its second round.


For What?

The Jewish settlement in Silwan constitutes around 5% of the population of Wadi Hilwah. However, the presence of these 400 people is endangering the way of life of Wadi Hilwah’s residents. While on the one hand many of their houses are slated for demolition by the municipality, on the other Elad initiates numerous projects that limit their living space to further its agenda of changing the demographic reality in Wadi Hilwah. Residents feel unwanted and as if they are being systematically expelled from their homes in the name of archaeology, history and Elad’s crusade for Jewish settlement.

Construction of housing is prohibited to Palestinians. Homes are being demolished, And when it is of use of Israel, even people are continuously being evicted out of their own homes, or worse, taken over by settlers which whome they have to share their walls and belongings untill the point of no return comes and they even get kicked out of their own house to go live on the streets.

For an extensive description of Silwan’s history and exploitation you can download the booklet of Wadi Hilweh Information Center (PDF)

Wadi Hilweh Information Center

Jawad Siyam, the director of the Information Center is known throughout Silwan for his diligent and tireless work for the community and its children, spearheading a vast number of initiatives and programs aimed at improving the welfare of the village’s youth. Besides this, he and his family are ongoing targeted by Israeli Occupation Forces, arrested, detained and delivered over to the tireless harrassement, slander, persecution and aggression of the occupier.

Visit the website of  Wadi Hilweh Information Center

Oh Holy Yerushalayim and ignorance of Jerusalem-Loving tourism

So, all those ignorants worldcitizens, who have high esteem of the mangnificance of Jerusalem, especially the Occupied part and go see Al-Quds and it’s historical buildings, environments, better think one time again about the people in the slopes behind the ethnically cleansed neighbourhoods of all these beautiful enlightened places, feeling spiritually for being there, where Jezus once walked… If he would walk there now he would be horrified and get sick of the facade of “Gods Chosen ones”.

For sure, Jerusalem is the place where all monotheistic religions are rooted and regarded as holy. But nowadays, nothing holy anymore about the way Israel “manages” it’s exploitation of the town, it’s people, last but not least, how it treats it’s children. Violating not only every (international) law, but also violating every mitzvah (commandment) of their own God.
“At the time when Hashem created the first human being, He showed him each of the trees in the Garden of Eden and told him: “See my works how good and excellent they are! Now all that I created is for your sake. Think upon this. Do not corrupt or destroy My world. For if you destroy it, there will be no one to restore it after you.” (Kohelet Raba 7:19)

The Facts

Israel’s infatigable urge to cleanse Jersualem – actually like the whole of Palestine – and the policies it uses has not even a spark of divineness. It is just plain zionism, ethnic cleansing in the most rude way imaginable.  Hence, we could write a book with a thousand stories about Silwan, but this is no Legend, this is every-day-reality. While the world is watching, touring the site and coming home again after a holiday totally brainwashed by Israel’s Hasbara without thinking no second no more about the people who rightfully own their spot where they we’re born, expelled, evicted, their homes annexated,  demolished or even got killed in the process.
  • Learn more, about the systematic Ethnic Cleansing of Jersualem and Palestine and read the special topic : Ethnic Cleansing
  • For the facts about the abuse, detention and even torture of Children you can read the special topic: Children of Palestine
For an “impression”: below an overview, which will be continuously updated with reports from media and inside sources so you can convince yourself of the ugly face of Israel, it’s policies towards the people, violations of their rights, and destruction of their future, especially those of the people, the children of Silwan.
Spread the news, awake the world for it is impossible, apartheid like taking place every day in Silwan is going on any longer. Silwan is no Legend yet, but the world has to take care, it does not become one.

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~ Reposted with permission by Sofia Smith