Convoy return to Gaza – Viva Palestina.

12 12 2009

Firstly my deepest apologies for not keeping this blog updated, rest assured that even though I lacked with the blogging I have not when it comes to Palestine. The war on Gaza and life since the nakba has not been forgotten and never will.

With the success of the last Convoy from Britain to Gaza on Valentines day, George Galloway embarked on another journey, this being the third as a second one left the USA on Independance day.

This latest convoy has seen yet more volunteers giving up their time, their vehicles and committing themselves in solidarity to help the victimes in Gaza.

Leaving London on 6th December 2009 the convoy aims to be in Gaza on 27th December; year to date from the Gaza war which saw so many victims lose their live’s, their homes, their everything.

For a quick update on the progress of the convoy so far, which at the moment has made it to Greece, re-visit the Viva Palestina website http://www.vivapalestina.org/home.htm you can also follow Viva Palestina on Twitter http://twitter.com/viva_palestina and you can also follow tweets by George Galloway http://twitter.com/georgegalloway

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Updates

4 07 2009

Apologies for not being active this past month. Here are a couple of the most recent updates.

UN Human rights mission collects gruesome testimonies from Gaza.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article997

We all saw the Viva Palestina convoy leave to Gaza back on 14th Feb from UK, This time there is another one leaving today 4th July from the USA to Gaza for more information and to stay updated http://www.vivapalestina-us.org





Meeting George Galloway

15 04 2009

On Easter Sunday the Palestinian forum of Britain held a Palestine day in Kensington town hall, London. There were speakers, activities and selling goods all raising money for Palestine.

Whilst there I went to purchase the Viva Palestina CD (Thankgod I hadnt yet ordered it from the website lol) when I got there George Galloway’s wife told me if I waited till after his speech he will be out to sign the cd’s. So I decided to go listen to his speech and then buy the cd. As soon as he finished I told my sister Yalla let’s go before there’s a big queue! haha we were the first ones there, while we waited we chatted to his wife who is very nice and met his little son, his daughter, 2 grandkids and his son in law.
As we waited more and more people came over and pushing in front of another, when George Galloway came out we shook hands and he signed our cd’s. We waited calmly and patiently unlike the other people and his son in law told George Galloway.. These two girls were the first two here and they have waited very calmly and patiently.. to which George Galloway replied.. They are lovely girls 🙂 (yes that comment made us happy lol) Then we had our photo taken with him. I really feel so happy to have met such a wonderful man, who is an inspiration to all 🙂

Going back to the speech George Galloway mentioned that the account has been frozen which is holding the money for Gaza which was raised through Viva Palestina, so he is still trying to get money to Gaza and another way was buy selling the Viva Palestina album so whether your in the UK or Overseas go to the website and buy it. Click on the link to read the letter George Galloway wrote to the Charity Commission http://www.vivapalestina.org/alerts/GGCC_140409.htm
He also said there is another Aid convoy leaving USA in July on 4th July and in his words.. What better day then independance day!. Also another one from Venzula. George Galloway said that he will do these convoy’s every month.

Palestine day event.

Palestine day event





Viva Palestina – The album

21 03 2009

Viva Palestina – The album featuring Drew McConnell from Babyshambles, Lowkey, Celt Islam and more . . .
On sale from March 30th 2009.
only £9.99
including postage and packing
Discounts – 2 for £17.49 – 3 for £24.99

Don’t miss Viva Palestina – The Album.
Pre-order your copy now. Special discount if you buy more than one – so why not stock up for Birthday, Eid or Christmas presents.

All proceeds go to Viva Palestina – taking solidarity with Palestine into the future.

click on the link for more info! and there is an option for oversea sales to

http://www.vivapalestina.org/thealbum.htm





Volunteers leave Gaza..

21 03 2009

GAZA REFLECTS

They have gone. The ‘angels’, some called them ‘saviours’, but in reality just ordinary men and women who took part in an extraordinary act – and in doing so brought hope and put smiles on the faces of thousands of Gaza children have all finally left.

All that remains in Gaza is the aid they left behind – the right-hand drive vehicles including many ambulances, now roaming the streets of Rafah, Khan Younes, Beit Hanoun and Gaza City – and the memories.

The memories of those heroes, from all walks of life, who crossed continents to reach them, of the jokes and laughter they shared, of the tales of suffering they found the courage to speak about to their guests.

At the Rafah crossing, where they numbered in excess of sixty five, they were inconsolable. Some of them sobbing, whilst others were speechless, sitting at the back of the coach on the way to Cairo, reflecting on what they have just witnessed and left behind.

After a long wait, they all headed for Al Arich, the scene of their final push towards Rafah barely a week ago. More waiting was to follow until transport was finally arranged and their journey home began.

Yet things are never that easy. Last night, some of our team spent several hours in the unscheduled company of scores of armed Egyptian police at the side of the road. But the waiting, tense at first, was relieved with the arrival of food and tea, brought by the Libyan drivers from the convoy. More police then arrived with a van full of plastic chairs, so at least they could all sit down as they waited for ‘instructions’! In the end common sense prevailed and our team joined the Libyans in their compound for the evening.

Contacts have been established, money was pledged or handed over for a multitude of projects by Viva Palestina.

Whilst world leaders are pledging billions for Gaza there remain disagreements on who should take charge of the reconstruction. Viva Palestina have started the process, George Galloway and the team walked the walk.

It took one man to show the way and open the door for other brave men and women to reach this besieged concentration camp known as the Gaza Strip.

Khalid Amayresh wrote ‘I salute you for challenging the forces of hypocrisy and moral duplicity back in Britain who instead of calling Israel a criminal state ruled by an evil clique of war criminals, by its real name, hasten to blame the helpless victims for surviving the recent genocide in Gaza and clinging to life, dignity and freedom.’

‘I salute you for being a “non-conformist”, because in a world overwhelmed by hypocrisy, immorality, human depravity, unethical expediency, and repulsive political correctness, it takes a true non-conformist to uphold true human values. And above all, I salute you for exposing and putting to shame the treacherous Arab leaders who played their fiddle while Gaza was burning’. The same is true of everyone who made this convoy possible.

Tonight Gaza reflects, stronger, with some more hope and belief than before. Viva Palestina was our lifeline for Gaza injecting love and hope into the veins of Palestinians. Tonight Gaza reflects on the ‘angels’ who came to town and they know that angels always come back.

Farid Arada (additional reporting by Clive Searle)

please click on this link to read more on the time they spent in Gaza http://www.vivapalestina.org/archive.htm





Proud Brits

21 03 2009

From the Yvonne Ridley reports on Viva Palestina

15/03/2009
A VERY BRITISH AFFAIR

By Yvonne Ridley

I’VE never been a huge flag-waving fan of the Union Jack because to me it was largely a symbol of the old British Empire and all the bad things it once represented in terms of occupation, slavery, tyranny and imperialistic wars.

1966 changed my view to a certain extent when ‘we’ won the World Cup. It was one of those defining moments where we were all proud to be British.

As young as I was, I remember my mum remarking with glee: “Two World Wars and one World Cup” as she jigged around the front lounge with my late father – the old black and white box in the corner flickering monochrome scenes of jubilation from Wembley Stadium. In the final, almost agonising moments of extra time Geoff Hurst had just powered home his third goal to give England a 4-2 victory over Germany.

Apart from that historic occasion, I can’t really remember the urge to pick up the Union Jack again declaring to the world: “I am proud to be British”.

As Leo Tolstoy once remarked, such patriotism in its simplest form is nothing more than a “means of obtaining for rulers their ambitions” as well as a sign from us lesser mortals as our “slavish enthralment to those in power”.

So it was rather a peculiar feeling when I watched several members of Viva Palestina cloak themselves in the Union Jack for the final stages of our 5,000 mile journey from London to Gaza.

In truth, the British flag was flown throughout our marathon journey across nine countries and the message was loud, proud and clear at each border crossing: “We are British, the convoy is British and we support the Palestinian people.”

The last time a convoy bearing British flags had crossed North Africa in such a size, was the Second World War when the Nazis were being chased by the noble Desert Rats.

Our arrival in Morocco, and throughout the Maghreb, attracted the same initial reaction from the powers that be – all assumed the Viva Palestina Brits would be white, fair-haired and clean shaven so imagine their surprise when they saw in large numbers olive skins, hijabs, long black beards and Islamic dress. We might have looked more Tora Bora than Twickenham, but every one of us was a British passport holder, and proud to be so because what we were doing was exceedingly British.

If being British is about promoting equality, justice and fair play with the stronger person going to help the weaker then our convoy was red, white and blue through and through. We were representing the very best of British and on those grounds I felt proud to join in the flag waving. As I said before, I really can’t remember such a burst of spontaneous patriotism since 1966.

Viva Palestina was never just about 100 vehicles laden with humanitarian aid and 300 people led by George Galloway, MP. The reality is tens of thousands of British people were stakeholders in Viva Palestina having invested anything from a few pounds, to a shed load of money to help those living in war torn Gaza.

And so, when our very British convoy arrived in Gaza, we were also carrying the hopes, expectations and salutations of countless British people, of faith and no faith, who wanted to show the world that good, humanitarian things come out of the UK for Palestine.

The bombs and bullets and other weapons the British Government gives to Israel to use on the women and children of Palestine is not done in our name.

We cannot stop Gordon Brown from helping to arm the fourth largest army in the world, a military force which is currently being investigated for war crimes following the deaths of more than 1400 civilians.

But we can help repair the view the outside world holds on what it is to be British.

And just a few days ago 300 citizens, waving their Union Jacks, rolled in to Gaza to show the people of Palestine the real face of Britain.

What we did and what we achieved was done in the name of millions across the world.

The welcoming smiles on the faces of the Palestinians made me proud20to be part of the Viva Palestina convoy, proud of every man and woman on that convoy.

And that is something Gordon Brown will never be able to experience about his own convoys to the Middle East. Perhaps it is he who needs a lesson in what it is to be British.

Now pass me that Union Jack, please. Viva Palestina!

* British-born journalist Yvonne Ridley and Scottish award-winning film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani were on board the convoy from the beginning and are making a documentary charting the historic event.

http://www.vivapalestina.org/Yvonne/150309.htm





More on Viva Palestina!

26 02 2009

Going back to 14th February 2009, Four Man Films brings you some of the people joining the convoy with their vehicles packed with aid for Gaza, the amount of work and money they have raised in a small amount of time is simply amazing. (after watching the video’s carry on reading regarding updates and donating).

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoGRWkZFCMs]

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPNCNLDdGNs]

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyszA7K8gCQ]

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtHRv4s4W1A]

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2yxSrMaA24]

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUP3L4Fmt0w]

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_R51Bgg3hE]

[url]http://www.vivapalestina.org/video3.htm[/url]

Keep track of the Convoy’s progress at http://www.vivapalestina.org also in my side bar under the title.. Viva Palestina blogs.. you will find blogs direct from people on the convoy. Currently the convoy arrived in Tunisia early this evening.

When you go to Viva Palestina homepage please please make sure you make a donation. The below text is taken from the Viva Palestina website.

With over 100 vehicles and £1million in aid the Viva Palestina convoy has met with an overwhelming response. But we still need more money to buy extra reconstruction aid in Egypt to carry into Gaza. Could you help us to raise a further £50,000 before the convoy reaches Egypt? Our totaliser will raise the Palestinian flag as your donations raise solidarity with Gaza.

A message from George Galloway MP

“The time for talking is over and the time for action is now. The Viva Palestina convoy has struck a chord with thousands who wish to express their solidarity with the people of Gaza. But we need more money to purchase the aid so desparately needed by a people living under seige.”

“Please give generously. Donations to the Convoy can be made online via Paypal using a debit or credit card by clicking on the button below. Our friends at North Manchester Against Wars have kindly agreed to help process these payments and you can be guaranteed that every penny we receive via this site will be used to support our brothers and sisters in Gaza by contributing to the Viva Palestina convoy. ”

Please note: during the payment process (just before you confirm your donation) you will be able to leave a message for the convoy. We post these onto the website.

We’ve done a little analysis (19/02/2009) of who is donating to Viva Palestina and, as you can see, almost a fifth of all donations are now coming from outside of the United Kingdom. Viva Palestina has begun to hit the news across the globe. We have now had donations from 25 different countries, from as far afield as Singapore to Andorra, Norway to South Africa.

Please keep the donations coming in. And don’t forget to tell your friends, family and workmates about Viva Palestina.

http://www.vivapalestina.org/donations.htm