Saturday, March 7, 2009

International Women's Day: everyday acts of courage

March 8th is International Women's Day. On the UN site it states: "Increasingly, International Women's Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women's rights."

Not content to have evicted her from more than one home, the Israeli government demolishes Umm Kamel's tent.

"Just as Umm Kamel and her lawyers submitted Ottoman-era documents to Israeli Courts proving the claim to her family home, Israeli police once again on Sunday demolished the tent of Umm Kamel’s family in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem."

couscous co-op co-founder Zahra Abu Shrar from Ein al-Sultan camp, Palestine's smallest refugee camp.

Palestinians need help in their resistance, not handouts.

"The women unanimously agree that since they've been working at the couscous co-op their lives have improved dramatically. For the first time 'we're no longer dependent on humanitarian aid,' said Abu Shrar. Not only are they now independently taking home their well-earned wages, but they are finally able to simultaneously provide opportunities once inconceivable to their children, and fix-up their run-down homes. Furthermore, their self-confidence has grown alongside their social status, which has been propped up by virtue of their fortitude, self-determination and goodwill."

Palestinian women hold a sit-in at the Red Cross in Gaza City, Palestine to call attention to their imprisoned family members and to demand action on releasing them from Israeli prisons, that is,

Israel's very own Guantanamos:

"There are currently as many as 12,000 Palestinian detainees languishing in Israeli detention camps, many of them without charge or trial. They include hundreds of university professors, engineers, school teachers as well as religious and civic leaders, students, resistance fighters and women activists."

According to Sumoud, a Political Prisoner Solidarity Group, "There are at present about 80 women political prisoners in the Israeli jails: about 38 in Hasharon Prison (Tel Mond), about 37 in Damoon Prison (Carmel Mountain), 2 in Neve Tirza Prison (Ramle) and the rest in several detention centers."

Another day at the checkpoint. Hawara checkpoint by Nablus, West Bank. Watch this Ha'artz report that explains how the Hawara checkpoint, "the biggest, most crowded and most volatile" checkpoint was put under renovation by request of Condaleeza Rice. Part of the reason for its "makeover" was to make it safer FOR THE ISRAELI SOLDIERS. Perhaps if all Israeli citizens had to go through the checkpoint everyday the state would think about getting rid of the checkpoint, not giving it a makeover!

Another day of scraping by under the watchful eye of Israeli soldiers. Near Qualqilya, the West Bank town completely entombed by the Apartheid Wall, cutting it off from the rest of Palestinian society.

What does the Wall look like?

"The Wall takes on a variety of forms; around Qalqiliya the Wall is pure concrete eight meters (25 feet) high and fortified with armed watchtowers and in other areas it may be part concrete/part fence or a series of razor wire and/or electric fencing all of which includes a 70-100 meter (approximately 230-330 feet) “buffer zone” with trenches, roads, razor wire, cameras, and trace paths for footprints. In Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the Wall is made up of a combination of these edifices.

Regardless of the Wall’s structural differences, the implications are the same for Palestinians-- the inability to travel for employment, medical care, and education atop of the theft of land and resources by and for Israel."

She has a lot of very difficult work on her hands: Haneen Zoubi, first Palestinian female representative of a Palestinian party to be elected to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Also, Haneen is "the first Palestinian citizen to graduate from a media studies course in Israel, at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and she established the first media classes in Arab schools. For the past six years she has headed an organization exposing Israeli media bias."

photo Hatem Moussa

A Palestinian female supporter of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is seen during a rally by the group celebrating forty years since its founding in Gaza City, Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009. Founded in 1969 the DFLP is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist, secular political and military organization.

Rawhiyya. She is the woman with the white flag who was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper, during the recent massacre in Gaza.

Al-Jazeera correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin visited the village of Khuza'a where residents and human rights experts believe a possible war crime took place during Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip.

"Rawhiya was leading them [the women and children who had remained behind]. She said if all the women and children start moving out then everyone else could follow afterward. So she distributed white flags and led them out," Iman says.
"She walked at the front carrying a white flag, followed by other women carrying white flags or holding out their children."
Yasmine al Najar, another of the women, was at the front of the group with Rawhiyya when they spotted Israeli special forces positioned in a house opposite them.
Despite the presence of children and white flags allegedly on display the soldiers began to open fire."

Mohyeldin's documentary about Rawhiyya's story

No comments: