Sunday May 19, 2013
Gaza Youth Breaks Out: Peace Activists Seek Relief from Hamas RaidsTim King Salem-News.com
We want three things; We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life and We want peace. Is that too much to ask? -
(GAZA / SALEM) - There is a new movement underway in Gaza and it may end up changing more minds and aiding more people that any before it.
Situations like the one Gazans live with everyday are the result of years of occupation and oppression; military strikes and cruelty from the Israeli military that is simply beyond description.
For years now the majority of the resistance has been operating without violence; the Jewish state offers no rewards for this. The manifestation of a group like SHAREK Youth Forum is inevitable in the face of endless lies from western nations and broad support for Israel's religious extremists.
But Hamas is creating an atmosphere of intolerance, this group says, and they are peace activists. Every Friday in Bil'in snd other parts of the occupied territories, non violent peace marches and demonstrations are held and they are routinely attacked by Israel's military. Now we learn that peace activists inside Gaza are under threat every day by Hamas police officers. This seems highly detrimental and counterproductive.
I compare this to a child abused by parents who turns around and bullies smaller children at school. The cycle has to stop. As writers we always remind the public that Hamas is an elected governmental agency that should have rightfully been recognized but never has been by the US or Israel. It will become increasingly hard to justify the positive side of Hamas if this behavior toward Gaza's residents continues.
What positive side you say? First, the fact that Hamas halted all suicide bombings, and secondly, that they are not behind the 'rocket attacks' that are still sometimes fired from Gaza by fringe groups that do not cooperate with Hamas. I'm just saying that this side is never recognized. Our writer Ken O'Keefe stood at their training academy a few days ago on the two-year anniversary of Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead' which left over 1400 people dead in Gaza, and talked about the tragedy of dozens of dead police officers in Gaza; that is how the military operation began. Regular police officers doing police work, were the first to be attacked. People in Gaza all need to stand united; the fragmentation is not their fault, it was a natural evolution; but now it is time to change.
Khaled Mashal: خالد مشعل: السلام عليكم: برجاء العمل على خلق جو من الوحدة داخل قطاع غزة. لا أخالكم تجهلون أن هؤلاء الناس هم شعبكم وهم يستحقون أن ينعموا بالسلام. أرجو منكم العمل على وقف قيام الشرطة التابعة لحركة المقاومة الاسلامية حماس بحملات مداهمات ضد نشطاء السلام فى غزة.
This is the Gazan youth’s manifesto for change!
We will start by destroying the occupation that surrounds ourselves, we will break free from this mental incarceration and regain our dignity and self respect.
We will carry our heads high even though we will face resistance. We will work day and night in order to change these miserable conditions we are living under.
We will build dreams where we meet walls.
We only hope that you – yes, you reading this statement right now! – can support us. In order to find out how, please write on our wall or contact us directly: email@example.com
We want to be free, we want to live, we want peace.
The group's Facebook page is located here: Gaza Youth Breaks Out. You can leave a message, there are many you can read to gather a sense of the broad worldwide support they are already receiving.
Here is the message from SHAREK Youth Forum; we have been asked to publish this; discussion will continue afterward, including a comment from Ken O'Keefe:
F**k Hamas!, F**k Israel!, F**k Fatah!, F**k UN. F**k UNWRA. F**k USA!
We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!
We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference. Like the Israeli F16’s breaking the wall of sound; we want to scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this f*****g situation we live in.
We are like lice between two nails living a nightmare inside a nightmare, no room for hope, no space for freedom.
We are sick of being caught in this political struggle, sick of coal dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes, sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands, sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in.
Sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land.
Sick of being portrayed as terrorists, homemade fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes.
Sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions, but cowards in enforcing anything they agreed on.
We are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas, and completely ignored by the rest of the world.
There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalizing this energy into something that can challenge the status Quo and give us some kind of hope.
The final drop that made our hearts tremble with frustration and hopelessness happened on November 30th, when Hamas’ officers came to Sharek Youth Forum, a leading youth organization (http://www.sharek.ps) with their guns, lies and aggressiveness, throwing everybody outside, incarcerating some and prohibiting Sharek from working.
A few days later, demonstrators in front of Sharek were beaten and some incarcerated. We are really living a nightmare inside a nightmare. It is difficult to find words for the pressure we are under.
We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams.
They did not get rid of Hamas, as they intended, but they sure scared us forever and distributed post traumatic stress syndrome to everybody, as there was nowhere to run.
We are youth with heavy hearts. We carry in ourselves a heaviness so immense that it makes it difficult to us to enjoy the sunset. How to enjoy it when dark clouds paint the horizon and bleak memories run past our eyes every time we close them?
We smile in order to hide the pain. We laugh in order to forget the war.
We hope in order not to commit suicide here and now.
During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the earth. During the last years Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behavior and aspirations.
We are a generation of young people used to face missiles, carrying what seems to be a impossible mission of living a normal and healthy life, and only barely tolerated by a massive organization that has spread in our society as a malicious cancer disease, causing mayhem and effectively killing all living cells, thoughts and dreams on its way as well as paralyzing people with its terror regime. Not to mention the prison we live in, a prison sustained by a so-called democratic country.
History is repeating itself in its most cruel way and nobody seems to care. We are scared.
Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed.
We are afraid of living, because every single step we take has to be considered and well-thought, there are limitations everywhere, we cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want, sometimes we even cant think what we want because the occupation has occupied our brains and hearts so terrible that it hurts and it makes us want to shed endless tears of frustration and rage!
We do not want to hate, we do not want to feel all of this feelings, we do not want to be victims anymore. ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration!
WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want!
We want three things; We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life and We want peace.
Is that too much to ask?
We are a peace movement consistent of young people in Gaza and supporters elsewhere that will not rest until the truth about Gaza is known by everybody in this whole world and in such a degree that no more silent consent or loud indifference will be accepted.
So what should people think about this? Well, if your motivation is to help peace infiltrate Gaza, the last thing you should do is oppose those who have the courage to talk about what is more important at the core.
Ken O'Keefe is a peaceful Gaza activist who was thrust into a night of violent resistance as a crew member aboard a ship in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla last May.
His ship, the Mavi Marmara, attacked by Israel in international waters. Ken disarmed two of the deadly Israeli attackers, and eventually those two and a third captured by the ship's crew, were given medical care and returned to the Israelis unharmed. Because Ken fought the Israeli Defense Forces soldiers who illegally boarded the ship like murderous pirates, a segment of the movement spoke out because he allegedly violated the non violence rule. Well, that approach is only the correct one up to the moment that your friends, brothers in a major world-level cause of peace and relief, are gunned down as unarmed civilians.
Courage is not defined by watching human beings murdered and doing nothing. There comes a point where hard decisions have to be made. With regard to this development in Gaza, Ken O'Keefe said:
"I did not come to Palestine to work on internal issues; virtually every nation on Earth has human rights abuses, most have horrendous abuses. I am and shall remain 100% focused on shattering this horrendous blockade. But hearing the words of this GYBO plea it would be impossible to respect myself if I remained completely silent. In this New Year I wish to express my deepest love and respect to all of my brothers and sisters, here and abroad, who demand to be free. The fight for freedom is perhaps the greatest cause of all."
This is the year for change. Gaza needs inner unity and not to be divided into factions, those who oppose the quest for Gaza's freedom do want the population divided.
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