Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Action in El Arish

The day began with the Brits Ali, Charlotte, Ian and Peter, and Kathleen and Bill form Santa Cruz trying to help the Hasidim get out of the Swiss Inn. It looked like they were going to be able to go, but in the end they asked us to stop fighting for them. We did give up and leave when we got a call from Manuel of the Spanish delegation asking for our assistance at the square of Sadat.

Our handler did not want to let us go, but we walked away and kept walking, when we explained out intentions, that we would walk to the 7 kilometers to join out compatriots he hailed 2 cabs for us and came along for the adventure.

The Peace delegation occupied the space under the statue of Sadat in the Sadat square. The plan was to begin marching towards the Raffa border again after a short break for some food. Upon returning to the square the police knew of our plan to march and insisted we would not. Chanting and singing ensued, eventually we stepped off the sidewalk and began the march, when we were grabbed and pushed at we all sat in the middle of the street, changing and singing. It was very tense, when if looked like we could move again we stood up and began to walk, but did not get far before they began to block us again, in the middle of this pushing and shoving and shouting a local Lawyer from El Arish began shouting our chant “Culana Palestina, Afta Hoo Gaza” which means “We are all Palestinian, open the gates of Gaza”. The police tried to stop him from joining us and we surrounded him with our bodies and moved back up to the space under the statue of Sadat. This very brave Egyptian man, Jamal Juma’a Ibraheem Sulayman has placed himself in very grave danger. He gave a moving speech about the state of Gaza and Egypt. When we asked him about the consequences of his actions he said that he would possibly face at least 5 years in prison but that all Egyptians were already prisoners in prison living in a police state. He gave a moving speech which several activists and a documentarian caught on tape. His daughter came into our midst to give her papa a hug and stay with us all evening. Now we have an Egyptian national that we are somewhat responsible for and very concerned about, we have moved him into the Siani Star hotel with us.

We will see what tomorrow brings.

1 comment:

  1. Bill & Kathleen - we are closely following the events posted here. we are praying for you. Barb, Ed, Jim & Mom