Feb 262015
 

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World famous British artist Banksy visited the besieged Gaza Strip in Palestine and left his mark with several pieces of his politically driven artwork.

One of the paintings is that of a kitten which was drawn on the remains of a Palestinian home destroyed by Israel during it’s savage bombing campaign last summer which killed over 2,000 people.

On his website, Bansky says why he drew the kitten, “A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”

Banksy also released a short video which you can view below:

Feb 062015
 

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Palestinian revolutionary and freedom fighter Leila Khaled received a beautiful welcome as she arrived at the airport in Johannesburg for a South Africa Speaking Tour taking place from February 6th – 16th.

South Africans from government officials to youth cheered as Leila Khaled arrived showing the solidarity that has existed between the people of South Africa who fought apartheid for decades and are still suffering from the effects of white controlled South Africa with the people of Palestine currently fighting Israeli apartheid and occupation.

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Israel was a long standing ally of the racist white supremacist government of South Africa till the very end providing weaponry and other technologies which helped them maintain the apartheid against the native black South Africans.

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Former President Nelson Mandela always spoke out in support of the liberation of Palestine as he saw many similarities between the struggles of both nations.

You can see some of the photos of Leila Khaled being greeted in South Africa where a press conference was held at the airport, for more photos check out the BDS South Africa Facebook page.

Photos courtesy of BDS South Africa Facebook Page:

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Jan 162015
 

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From the video description:

“On a historic trip to Palestine, freedom fighters from Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York, Ferguson, and Atlanta were able to witness firsthand the effects of Israeli apartheid and occupation, and to learn from the people who are actively resisting on the front lines.

In Nazareth, the delegates decided to do a solidarity demonstration as a call for support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005.

This demonstration was coordinated by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, and features “Ella’s Song” by Sweet Honey in the Rock, sung by Charlene Carruthers, National Director of the Black Youth Project 100 and Dream Defenders’ Executive Director Phillip Agnew; poet, artist, and New York Justice League member, Aja Monet; rapper and Ferguson/Hands Up United organizer Tef Poe, and Ferguson/ Hands Up United organizer, Tara Thompson. Dream Defenders Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, and Ahmad Abuznaid, journalist Marc Lamont Hill, New York Justice League organizers Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez, and Maytha Alhassen, a University of Southern California Doctoral Candidate, are seen preforming the debke, a traditional Palestinian folk dance.

Don’t forget to check out #DDPalestine on Twitter and our Instagram accounts for pictures, videos, and reflection from this trip.

Filming and Editing by Thorstein Thielow”

Jan 062015
 

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By Tahani Sahra Hamdan

Health as a basic human right is a subject of political debate in the United States, even more so for Palestinians currently living under Israeli occupation. As a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology and Global Health student at the University of Texas, I recently traveled to the West Bank of Palestine to conduct a pilot study of women living with physical disabilities. Some of the results that I discovered were not only disheartening as a woman myself living with physical disabilities, but also as an attack upon humanity.

As a first-generation Palestinian-American, I have always wondered what life would be like to live in Palestine with my same disabilities. I would always ask myself the question, “If I were a woman living in Palestine with Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, would I be able to receive the same care that I receive living in the U.S., or does my U.S. passport make my life worth more?”

Ask, and I shall receive. I travelled to Palestine in the midst of Israeli Operation Defensive Edge in Gaza, in which over 2137 Palestinians have been killed and several thousands more injured.

Sure, I was in the West Bank, I did not feel what was felt in the Gaza Strip, but assuredly what began as a pilot study on women with disabilities, turned out to be a nightmare. Between spending nearly every night suffocating from tear-gas shot from the Israeli Defense Forces, simply getting out of the house was difficult for me during my few short weeks there. Upon interviewing the Palestinian women living with physical disabilities, it was not difficult to understand that this is their lives each and every single day.

On days when I was able to leave the house without a tremendous fear for my life, I interviewed Palestinian women living with disabilities to get an understanding of their narrative of life under occupation.

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Disabled Palestinian women explained the difficulty of receiving any type of specialized medical care. Not only the geographic barriers, but also the nine meters high Separation Wall (known by Israel as Security Barrier but known to Palestinians as Apartheid Wall) prevents nearly all travel by West Bank residents to and from Jerusalem and all areas under Israeli control.

Jerusalem is where they have to go for the best medical care, or what we in the United States would consider basic medical care. For people with disabilities, it is the only place where you can see a disability-related specialist. The women I talked to had very severe forms of arthritis and had received nothing more than pain medications. No physical therapy. No mobility-assisted devices. Few, if any, prescriptions at all. They said that they only took medication when they were in major pain, which was during winter. Prior to the Separation Wall, which began construction in 2002, sick and disabled residents of the West Bank were able to freely travel to Jerusalem and beyond to obtain specialized care.

​Geographic barriers posed another great limitation. With hills, rocks, sand, and unpaved road, traveling for people with disabilities was very limited, leaving them no choice but to spend their time at home. The houses are very close together, most homes built on top of each other. Climbing down steep hills and alleyways is often required. The houses I visited almost always had steps at the entrance and inside. Homes resembled that of high-rise apartment buildings without elevators or wheelchair ramps. When they do go out, the disabled walk or, for longer distances, take a bus or taxi that comes to designated stops in their town.

The Palestinian society in general, including women with disabilities, is highly educated. The women I interviewed had completed their Bachelor’s degree but were working in jobs that accommodated their disabilities, such as secretarial positions. Other women dropped out of school at a young age because of physical limitations.

One of the most interesting aspects of the interviews was that disabled women said they were happy with their lives as they were. These women were not married, did not have any children, they enjoyed living at home with their parents, and they helped with house chores. When asked, “If you could change anything in your life, what would you change?” They replied, “Nothing should be changed.”

As a Public Health student, I began to question whether imposing my American values of a happy life should be like upon women that were already happy with their lives. Who am I to judge and change a woman’s perspective of “happiness?”

With the aim of improving the comfort of women living with disabilities in a developing country under decades of political unrest, I hope to one day return to Palestine with culturally-sensitive recommendations that will improve the lives of disabled Palestinian women without imposing my American values.

Nov 122014
 

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On Tuesday November 18, at 6:30 PM at the CUNY Graduate Center join the Campaing to Bring Mumia Home and Existence is Resistance in the first installment of the monthly event series, Inside The Activist’s Studio.

We will be writing letters to Palestinian political prisoners such as the Hares Brothers as well as to political prisoners in the United States such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and many others.

Many people are wrongly imprisoned and not only do their voices need to be heard but they need to know that people on the outside are fighting for them and bringing awareness on their cases.