Archive for Palestine

Eyewitness Gaza 2009

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Saturday, 2 May, 2009 by bristolnoborders

free gaza boat arrives

Public meeting with Ewa Jasciewicz
7:30pm, May 12 2009
Easton Community Centre, Easton, Bristol

Paramedics, prisoners and border communities under fire

EWA Jasiewicz has been on the ground in Gaza since November, having arrived on the siege breaking Free Gaza boat. She has been working on ambulances and reporting the reality of lives under siege and under military assault. She is currently in the UK to highlight the ongoing situation in Gaza and encourage links between communities here and in Gaza

Since August 2008, the Free Gaza Movement has sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip on several successful voyages bringing in medical aid and solidarity workers. Ours are the first international boats to journey to Gaza since 1967. In May a flotilla of boats will sail to Gaza carrying people and medical supplies to break the siege once again. We have not and will not ask for Israel’s permission. It is our intent to overcome this brutal siege through civil resistance and establish a permanent sea lane between Cyprus and Gaza.

Ewa Jasiewicz is a co-co-ordinator of the Free Gaza Movement, based in Gaza. An activist, union organiser and journalist, she has worked with oil workers in Iraq from 2003-2004 and paramedics in Gaza throughout Israel’s recent war on the territory. Her current focus is on co-ordinating siege breaking delegations to Gaza and building twinning relationships between schools, ambulance stations, and ER departments.

No Border Camp Calais

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Friday, 6 March, 2009 by bristolnoborders

At the end of January, two No Borders activists from South Wales joined with others from Bristol, Brighton, London, Leeds and Newcastle to visit Calais and Lille in north-east France to begin organising for the No Border camp that is planned to happen in the region of Calais in late June this year.

Why Calais?

In 2002 an agreement between UK and French governments meant that the Red Cross running Sangatte centre in Calais was shut down. Sangatte had provided shelter for up to 2000 people and since its closure the situation for migrants in the Calais region has reached crisis point. Migrants including large groups from Afghanistan, Eritrea Iraq, Sudan and Palestine gather in Calais before attempting to cross the channel in search of a better life in the UK. Some migrants cross clinging on to the underside of lorries, some attempt to walk the length of the channel tunnel, with considerable risk to their lives. (There is a recent video from france24)

Whilst in Calais, we met with two local humanitarian groups who distribute free food to migrants. There is no state support available to migrants in Calais and it is against the law to help so called ‘illegal’ migrants here, so these volunteers risk arrest daily by simply feeding people. In the wind and rain on a piece of wasteland near the port, we witnessed the Catholic group La Belle Etoile giving packages of bread from a small van to hundreds of queueing migrants.

The same day we visited the kitchens of the SALAM Association, where volunteers prepare hot food for around 500-600 migrants each night, every night and serve from a van behind a warehouse close to the port. That evening, we were shocked by the number of migrants we saw, most were men, at the food distribution point and felt that what we were witnessing in Calais was a humanitarian crisis. Speaking to some of the migrants we learnt how up to 1000 people without status are living in woods near to the ferry port, this being known as ‘the jungle’, all waiting for a chance to travel to the UK in whatever way they can. They told us how police regularly destroy or burn their temporary structures and put tear gas in their tents. They told us how they have been caught by police before and driven to isolated places miles from Calais and left there.

Many of the men we spoke with were from Afghanistan. One had worked for the British Army as a translator and has had to flee his village as the Taliban have threatened him for being a ‘traitor’. Others had family with status in the UK that they were trying to reach. Another Afghani man told us how this wasn’t a choice to be in Calais as there “is no choice” for them; they have not chosen to have to leave their countries but have been forced to.

And the state repression of migrants in Calais looks set to get worse. At the end of January this year during a visit to Calais, the French immigration minister Eric Besson stated that he wants to see an ‘exclusion zone’ for migrants in the region.

no-borders-camp2Activists from both the UK and France have been working together to plan for a no border protest camp in Calais at the end of June this year. There is an organising meeting on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th March in Calais to discuss the political and practical aspects of the camp and its mobilisation. The meeting is open to any individuals or groups who act in solidarity with migrants and their struggle for freedom of movement. No Borders South Wales ( as are Bristol No Borders) will be taking part in the process, if your interested in attending the No Border Camp please get in touch.

Response to ISM call out from Bristol No Borders

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on Friday, 6 March, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Bristol No Border acknowledges the call to action received from ISM Gaza following the indefinate closure of the Rafah borders in February 2009.

Bristol No Borders condems the closure of the borders at Rafah which prevents the movement of people, food, aid and other essential supplies and which serves to imprison and repress the population of Gaza. These closures are a stark example of what all borders are set up to acheive – the control and repression of populations and the artificial division of people.

No Borders acts in solidarity with all those who are fighting to break the siege and stop the border control in Gaza. We call for collective action and practical solidarity with the people of Gaza. No Borders rejects all forms of nationalism and state based ‘solutions’. Ethnicity does not grant “rights” to lands, which require the state to enforce them. People, however, have a right to ensure their human needs are met, and should be able to live where they choose, freely.

Controls such as checkpoints, walls, barriers and borders, which exist throughout the occupied territories, are denying the fundemental right of freedom of movement to the Palestinian people and causing immense
suffering to the population caged inside them.

We call for the immediate removal of all such barriers and demand the right to freedom of movement for all people. Bristol No Borders is committed to taking direct action action against companies based in our
locality that are directly profiting from this system of control and oppression. We urge other groups to take similar action.

In solidarity
Bristol No Borders