You might remember that me and my family hosted two teenagers from Bethlehem last year, when we took part in a cultural exchange programme organised by Bradford-on-Avon Friends of Palestine. It was a wonderful experience for us to learn more about Palestinians and their culture and we’ve been watching recent events unfold in Gaza with despair, as the images of dead and horrifically injured people, many of them children, have proliferated throughout the internet, and the death toll has risen higher and higher.
Other than crying, which I’ve done a lot of this week, I’ve looked for ways to do something that might help make a difference, however small.
- I’ve learned more about the BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS (BDS) Movement.
- I’ve written to my MP asking him to ask David Cameron and Philip Hammond to put pressure on Israel to stop bombing Gaza and on Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel.
- I’ve made a donation to two charities – here is a list of charities working in Gaza with links to their sites:
- Medical Aid for Palestinians
- MSF UK
- Islamic Relief UK
- Save the Children
On Saturday, I went to a small rally outside the Guildhall in Salisbury, Wiltshire, organised by Sarum Concern for Israel/Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War Coalition. This was a protest, vigil and information-giving event to show solidarity with Gaza and signatures were collected for a petition to the Salisbury MP asking for his support for a military embargo on Israel.
I found out about this rally via a tweet from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and went along because it was the nearest event to me. It was tiny in comparison to the vast rallies that took place elsewhere in the UK, and in the world, but the atmosphere of compassion and understanding among people taking part was huge.
For every passer-by who said “What’s the point? You won’t make a difference,” there were several more who came to sign the petition and who said “Let’s try to make a difference.” Every hour, a small bell was rung and a group of people from a variety of different religious traditions invited everyone to pray for peace and understanding in Israel and Palestine. It was prayer and action combined.
There’s still plenty to cry about but, also, plenty to do.