Two segments of the "Free Gaza and End the Occupation" rally on Friday, July 18th -- Noon to 1:00 and then the Muslim community joined us after Friday prayers, 1:30 to 3:00. Overall there were about 200 people present!
Naming the dead: Gaza July 8-17th
People of all ages and faiths joined together in protestingIsrael'sbrutalassaultonGaza.
FREE GAZA and END THE OCCUPATION
rally in PORTLAND, MAINE
July 18, 2014
FREE GAZA and End the OCCUPATION
REPORT ON MVPR's booth at the 2019 COMMON GROUND FAIR
For three days at the CGF, we had an almost steady stream of visitors, including a family of three-generations of Palestinians, three young Palestinian women (separate), one as blonde and fair as Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian woman who slapped the soldier. They were all so excited to find our booth. One told of how her 90 year old grandmother was rough-handled by members of the world ‘s most moral army, who were looking for someone and dragged the old woman as they went door to door, using her as a shield. Soon after that treatment she died. She was so happy to know there us a group telling people the truth about Israel's treament of Palestinians.
Many others came up saying how thankful they were to see our booth there, and quite a few spoke with great fervor on behalf of Palestinians; several were extremely well informed. Some reached out in such firm handshakes while saying “I am so grateful you people are doing this work!”
A lot who approached us were sympathetic but knew only a little and were eager to play our spinning wheel game and learn more, glad to get our handouts. I went with about 100+ "Origin of the Conflict booklets" and brought only one home! We got good donations and made many sales of buttons, bumper stickers and booklets.
We collected some 250 signatures on the combination of our postcards (for Sen. King) and our petition to our Congressional delegation.
One young woman, late Sunday, , stood waiting while I had a long and fruitful talk with a husband and wife. He had a number of misconceptions but was willing to listen and learn. This woman, who looked like she could be Anna Baltzer’s sister, just beamed as I was explaining to the couple the way Israel had actually started the 67 War and, following the conflict, how it got US leaders to believe it was trying to negotiate with Palestinians when it wasn’t. Finally, she interrupted to reach out and grabbed my hand so firmly and said, “ I’m sorry to interrupt but I’ve gotta go. I just wanted to tell you the work you’re doing is what my grandfather did for twenty years before he died , and I just want to thank you for what you’re doing. “ She patted her heart as she turned to leave and said again, “Thank you so much.”
Folks, we can not stop this work because so many people are eager for it; they want justice for Palestinians. And many others are interested and eager to know the truth.
We couldn't have done this without those people who helped prepare materials and staff the booth (you know who you are!) What a team! Thank you!
Our next rally: WEATHER LOOKS GOOD! Please join us Friday, Dec. 13 at noon, corners of Middle and Exchange Streets in Portland's Old Port.
This being the Christmas season, we'll have info on how difficult it is to enter and thrive in Bethlehem today since Israel had encircled it with its Wall and confiscated much of the surrounding farmlands for building more Jewish-only colonies.
Maine Group Helps Palestine Farmers Harvest Their Olives (October 2019)
A dozen Mainers, plus three friends from NH and one from Cleveland, Ohio, recently returned from Beit Sahour, right next to Bethlehem, where they worked in the olive groves of nearby farmers. Planned by the Joint Advocacy Initiative (the YWCA and YWCA of East Jerusalem) and the Alternative Tour Group, the program is designed to help farmers gather their olives and also to prevent aggressive acts by residents of nearby illegal colonies (aka settlements). The presence of witness-workers from the international community appears to deter colonists from damaging trees, stealing olives, and even attacking the farmers and their families as they try to do their harvesting.
In the evenings, participants watched films and heard from an array of experts from NGOs on the numerous hardships imposed upon Palestinians living under Israel's hostile occupation. These include water restriction, land theft movement restrictions, home demolitions, family expulsions from homes, settler attacks, refusal to provide permits to build or dig wells, the apartheid highways and legal system, and the arrest, detention and torture of Palestinian children. Participants were also informed about the range of specious stratagems Israel uses to justify all of these violations of numerous international laws and conventions.,
A significant part of the richness of the experience was the opportunity to meet and work along side of Palestinians and to spend eight days working, eating and conversing with those who came from other states and countries. Along with the Mainers and friends were activists from California and Arizona, as well as from the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, and Romania. Maine's group had the distinction of being at least twice the size of any other delegation.
The Mainers and friends from NH returned highly energized and have had a post-trip meeting to plan ways we can leverage what we learned and experienced into increased education of the public and our Congressional delegations.
Anyone who would like to know more about the trip or the issues in general or to contribute to these efforts can contact Bob Schaible: email@example.com.
From Right to Left: Members of a olive farming family; olives harvested from one of the many trees we picked from; a 5,000 year old olive tree (one of the oldest in the world, according to world tree experts) that is under the protection of a 'guardian' Palestinian farmer.