March 01, 2011
The Palestinian Protest Organized and Supported for Palestinians by Palestinians - March 15
Feb 24, 2011 (EGYPT) – The U.K.'s Guardian published an article in February demonstrative of the true voice of Gaza youth, calling for a 'United for Palestinian Freedom' March on 15 March, 2011 (English)-(Arabic). "Gaza Youth Breaks Out!" (GYBO), led by a core group of individuals who remain anonymous for security purposes, is a grassroots non-aligned movement, in regular contact with students in the West Bank and with connections to Palestinians and pro-Palestinian groups in Europe and South America as well as the Middle East.
GYBO first made headlines last year when they published an impassioned manifesto, endorsed by over 20,000 Gaza youth, expressing frustration with life and politics born of Hamas's violent crackdowns on 'western decadence', the destruction wreaked by Israel's attacks and the political games played by Fatah and the UN.
Manifesto 2.0, now available at http://gazaybo.wordpress.com, attempts to clear the air regarding objections to what some deemed as 'harsh' language in the original.
As stated in the updated manifesto, "We were harsh, true. We were angry, and still are. The order in which the 'parties' were 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 [including youth], 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, the 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.
Manifesto 2.0 goes on to state, "Yes we voted for Hamas government. We all did. We were tired of Fatah's government corruption, [we] wanted a change and hoped Hamas would be that change. That [is] PRECISELY [what] gives us the right to shout our anger at them, because they are responsible [for] 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 those] words; POLITICIANS – because their mutual hatred divided them, even during the commemoration of the first anniversary of [the] Cast Lead massacre, while a crowd of Palestinians from all factions stood united by martyrdom, grief, and love for Palestine."
In conclusion, the updated manifesto adds, "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 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."
Details of the March 15 event, published and coordinated in English and Arabic language Facebook pages titled, "End the Division" or "Palestinians United", indicate that it is already supported by nearly 10,000; another coordinating page, primarily in Arabic, titled, "Palestinian", supported by 66,694, is also promoting the event. GYBO is further striving to unify nine other groups or Facebook pages in Gaza calling for action in the coming weeks.
Demonstrations have been organized to begin at 11:30 AM on Tuesday, March 15 and are stated to 'continue until the achievement of all goals'.
Gathering places, to date, include: Gaza - the Unknown Soldier Square; Ramallah - Manara Square; Tulkarm - Roundabout Gamal Abdel Nasser; Jenin - complex of garages near the old Cinema Jenin; Hebron - in front of the governor's office; Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity Square Nablus: Martyrs Square; Jordan and Lebanon: to be announced.
GYBO March 15 demonstration organizers are also calling for solidarity events world-wide in front of Palestinian embassies in coordination with the Palestinian communities abroad.
As stated on GYBO's 'End the Division' Facebook page, "On behalf of the Palestinian Arab people, on the blood of the martyrs, widows and bereaved, orphans and thousands of prisoners in Israeli jails and all our people in the Palestinian Diaspora, we call on all the Palestinian factions to unite under the banner of Palestine, in order to reform the political system in Palestine, based on the interests and aspirations of the Palestinian people in the homeland and the Diaspora."
With the resignation of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, it has been described as the hope of Egyptian youth that, Gaza will feel the effects of their new-found freedom because the siege of Gaza will end and the kinship between the people of Egypt and Palestine will be restored.
Although a complete overhaul of Rafah border restrictions remains to be achieved, an easement was seen in the period from June 2007 until 25 January when the border closed again for three weeks during the Egyptian Revolution. This past week the Egyptian Armed Forces began what many envision as the beginning of a series in border crossing improvements when Palestinians stranded in Egypt during the revolution were allowed to return. Subsequently, on 22 February, the border opened for two-way traffic and fees waived for those unable to pay.
Currently the Egyptian Armed Forces is receiving thousands of expatriates and refugees of the Libyan revolution. Al-Jazeera reports that there are an estimated one million Egyptians currently residing and working in Libya. Virtually every tourism bus in Egypt is lined up waiting to receive evacuees at the Salum border who have traveled through days of horror as the volatile crisis in Libya continues to escalate.
Additionally, news agencies reported earlier on Thursday, that smugglers shot and killed an Egyptian policeman at the Rafah border and Israeli Defense Forces struck against a number of alleged terrorists driving a vehicle in the city of Rafah. According to Palestinian sources area residents reported hearing four separate explosions leaving one dead and three injured; four residents - two adults and two children - were treated for shock.
Suffice it to say, patience and continued support of the efforts of the Egyptian Armed Forces to establish stability and the security of not only Egyptians, but Palestinians and Libyans as well, is crucial in this time.
American Activist, Aishah Schwartz "Now is not the Time for an International March on Rafah" - Also published at The American Muslim (TAM)
Young Palestinians Call for Protests on 15 March
Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO)
GYBO Campaign 'End the Division' - (English) - (Arabic)
Gazan Youth Issue Manifesto to Vent Anger with All Sides in the Conflict
Aishah Schwartz: The Gaza Chronicles
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Aishah Schwartz serves as Executive Director of the Washington, D.C.-based Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA), founded in 2006. She is also a published freelance non-fiction writer/citizen-journalist and internationally renowned human rights activist. Full biography here.
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