Solidarity Fast with the people of Gaza

Dear friends and readers,

 

Those of you who have stopped by here before are aware that the situation in Gaza something I am deeply concerned about. As I hear first hand reports, and read ever more disheartening news I find myself feeling helpless – and feelings of hopelessness threaten.

 

Amnesty International reports: ( http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/gaza-reduced-bare-survival )  

 

” The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is having ever more serious consequences on its population. In the past month the supply of humanitarian aid and basic necessities to Gaza has been reduced from a trickle to an intermittent drip…

As supplies are being further withheld, most mills have shut down because they have little or no grain. People who have long been deprived of many food items now cannot even find bread at times…

Reserves of food have long been depleted and the meager quantities allowed into Gaza are not eve enough to meet the immediate needs. Families never know if they will have food for their children the following day…

Shortages of fuel, electricity and spare parts are causing water and sanitation infrastructure and other crucial services to deteriorate a bit more every day. Eighty per cent of the wells are now only functioning at reduced capacity and water supply is only available for a few hours every few days…

 At times when water is available, there is no electricity or fuel to pump it into apartment buildings. Shortages of chlorine increase the risk of waterborne diseases…

Routine blackouts disrupt every aspect of life for everyone. Hospitals are struggling to power life-saving machinery and it is ever more difficult to maintain essential services…

Even patients in need of medical treatment that is unavailable in Gaza, are often denied passage out of Gaza. Scores of people have died in the past year when they could have been saved if only they had been allowed to travel…”

 

It goes on…

Yet, each time feelings of helplessness threaten I am reminded of a story told to me by a member of an MPT team who worked in Gaza.  During her time in Rafah she met a group of women; mothers and grandmothers. Each day these women would struggle to feed their families on less and less. Every day and every night brought the renewed threat that their home would be demolished and their families left homeless. And each evening they would pull their chairs out in front of their homes and tell stories and laugh.  They sat their knowing that in any direction they would look they could see the gun towers and the soldiers with the weapons pointed at them and at their children. Yet they continued to gather, continued to tell stories and to laugh. My friend asked them how they could do this. How could they sit in front of the soldiers’ guns and laugh. The women wisely told my friend, “we sit here because the soldiers can see us laugh. They will know they have not taken away our ability to be together, to laugh.They have not taken away our spirit.”

 

 

I wonder about these wise women now. And I know that if they have not given in to feelings of hopelessness that I have no reason – no right -to give in to those feelings.  I have no right to give up.

 

And so as the siege and the blockade continue I have been feeling the need to do something, say something… show some solidarity with the people of Gaza. And in some small way hold their suffering in my own life to  keep myself  more aware.

 

While of course the best outcome would be justice and peace for all people in Palestine and Israel, or at least to end the blockade – my immediate and perhaps more realistic goal is that I can take an action that will raise the issue and start people thinking, talking, and maybe even taking steps such as educating themselves and others, contacting public officials etc.

 

Would you consider joining me?

 

The plan is simple: On Wed. December 10 in honor of human rights day I will fast for 24 hours (through Thur. Dec. 11) in Solidarity with the people of Gaza whose human rights are being violated by the Israeli government’s blockade. A fast seemed an appropriate symbolic gesture because the blockade created a situation where the people in Gaza have no choice but do without enough food.

 

Of course, I will use this opportunity to tell people why I am fasting and bring some awareness of the terrible situation there. Additionally, I will ask people to join me in a 2nd fast one week later. On Wed. 17 December I will begin a 4 day fast through Saturday 20 December. The 20th is Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, representing the long night that those in Gaza continue to suffer.

 

December 21st is the day when those of us honoring earth based spiritual traditions celebrate the returning of the light. I will use this day to break the fast and celebrate my re-commitment to peace and justice in Palestine and Israel, and to being in Solidarity with all those who have their human rights violated – particularly being aware of my connections with those in Gaza and the suffering of the people there in the current situation.

 

My fast will be a water fast, but should you desire to join you should create an experience that is meaningful – and realistic – for you. Perhaps a juice fast? Perhaps “liquids only” – including fruit/yogurt smoothies and such? The goal is not so much to duplicate exactly the fast as I have planned, but to do something that gives us a physical reminder and pushes an awareness of the suffering to the front of our consciousness.

The fast is being sponsored by the Michigan Peace Team. For more info. on Michigan Peace Team visit the website: http://www.michiganpeaceteam.org

In Peace for Justice, Sheri

 PS: For more information on the situation in Gaza check out:

* http://www.amnesty.org/

And Three eye-witness accounts from Gaza: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9995.shtml
and the account from letter at the end of my previous post “Collective punishment, Gaza and Crimes against humanity”; https://playfulspirit.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/collective-punishment-gaza-crimes-against-humanity/

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