Inter-faith Memorial Service for Peace in Gaza

‘I Have a Million Nightingales’
Text adapted from the poetry of Palestinian writer Mahmoud Darwish, tune by Linda Hirschhorn
I Have a million nightingales on the branches of my heart,
I Have a million nightingales on the branches of my heart,
Singing freedom, freedom, freedom,
Singing freedom, freedom, freedom!

Vine and Fig Tree
Translation of Hebrew text
And everyone ‘neath their vine and fig tree
Shall live in peace and unafraid. (x2)
And into ploughshares turn their swords,
Nations shall learn war no more (x2)

“Peace is much more than the absence of War”

On Sunday 15 February, 2009 at 6.00 – 7.00pm, 160 people came together – people of all faiths and humanist traditions to offer prayers, reflections and meditations for the people of Gaza.

Speeches, songs, video montage sound, prayers and silence at Gaza Memoriam

The following is a recording of the speeches, songs, prayers, silence and video montage of the vigil. Be patient the sound file is large and may take some time to play. The speakers includes – Bob Anderson, Halim Rane, Margot Shalom, Enoch Choy and representatives of Buddhism. Also the songs above were sung by a choir specially organised my Anne Birmingham for the event.

Speeches, songs, video montage sound, prayers and silence at Gaza Memoriam

Here are some excerpts from the leaflet advertising the event:

Final Dedication.
Please join us in our expression of grief at this human tragedy.

We will be coming together to pray for the dead, the bereaved, the sick, and the injured.

We will be reflecting on the missed opportunities for Peace and Justice for all the peoples of Palestine.

We will be focused on the need for fundamental human rights – the right to life, self-determination, human dignity and freedom from fear.

We commit ourselves to become Ambassadors for Peace.

Organised by: “Inter-faith Community for Peace and Justice

in Gaza.”

What can you do?
Please come to the service.

Become an Ambassador for Peace by discussing with your friends, family and colleagues in your clubs, organizations and neighbourhood how we can all avoid future atrocities and how the principle of peaceful solutions to conflict can be implemented to avoid future tragedies.

For further information, contact

Don Wilson: Ph: 0400 114 434;

Sean O’Reilly:

Jeff Brunne: Ph: 0410 551 354,

Enoch Choy:

Mary Ziesak:

David Albuquerque:

Dawn Joyce:

Mervyn Langford: Ph: 0400 497 422

Mervyn.Langford@gmail.comSpeeches, songs, video montage sound, prayers and silence at Gaza Memoriam

7 thoughts on “Inter-faith Memorial Service for Peace in Gaza

  1. If I am to become an ambassador for peace, and talk to my friends,, family, collegues, clubs, organisations and neighborhoods about how we can avoid future atrocities…..what suggestions can I make as to how attocities can be avoided?

    As far as I can see, the prayer vigils and protest rallies do not in any way affect the situation in Palestine, they just provide an opportunity for people in Australia to let off a bit of steam regarding our own anxieties about what is happening.

    I suppose the Godists involved in the prayer vigils can suggest divine intervention as a strategy to avoid attrocities, but beyond that, all this jumping up and down about Palestine is just a manifestation of detatched moral outrage, a strategy to allow us to feel a little bit better about ourselves.

    If solidarity with Palestinian resistance is just some etherial emotional connection with no political or economic meaning, then it is a piss weak solidarity indeed.

    If solidarity means donations to supply band-aids in the mop up after attrocities then, while momentarily relieving some suffering, does nothing to avoid attrocities.

    Peace in Palestine is simply wishfull thinking, or the content of intercessory prayers. Before peace can even be on the horizon, a lot of other things have to happen first. We should be focusing on these other things, not the pie in the sky aspirations.

    Before there can be peace in Palestine, the global economic elite that depend on the existence of Israel have to be undermined or demolished. This is not simply a case of lobbying Rudd to lobby Obama to reduce U.S. military and economic support of Israel or increase aid to Palestinians. Even the new improved U.S. administration has no power of the corporate elite, it is still just a puppet of that elite. Before the election Obama made very clear his defense of the state of Israel.

    It is the same multinational corporations in the middle east and Australia that dig up oil, gas, coal and minerals to supply the same global market. The struggle of Aboriginal people for their land is the same struggle as the Palestinians, not by way of poetic juxtapostion but by way of real historical material forces – it is the same companies and markets driving the attrocities and pulling the strings of governments.

    Resistance against global capital in this country is the only real way we can contribute to peace in Palestine – or anywhere else.

    While the passionate opposition to the Gaza war displayed in the rallies and prayer meetings is a sign that at least some people in Australia still have a heart, until this passion is directed towards real struggle in Australia then it is just as powerful as comfortable apathy.

    It is dissapointing that, again, the radical left has jumped from one flavour of the month campaign to the next. The campaign against the N.T. intevention has been sidelined over the Christmas period as Palestinian solidarity has taken the time and energy of the various activists. The Canberra convergence happening now has largely been forgotten in all the frenzy about Gaza.

    I do not say that the two issues should compete for attention, I say they are both the same issue. However, the Aboriginal struggle has been compartmentalised by the radical left as just another solidarity struggle alongside Palestine, Venesuala, East Timor, Zimbabwe, etc. As the media focus shifts from issue to issue, so does the attention and energies of the radical left, resulting in a lot of hot air, moral outrage and detatched commentary but nothing at all in terms of building structures and systems to progress any real political agenda here and now that directly threatens the domination of multinational capital over this land that we live on.


  2. Hello John and others,

    Firstly, I do not think that any of the religious groups represented at the rallies in January & February 2009 in Brisbane have tried to pretend that the war on Gaza is motivated by religion.

    As far as the Left & socialist groups are concerned I believe that solidarity should be given by local groups on the following basis.

    1. This is a political struggle not a religious one. The struggle is for land, water, villages, orchards, many of them now bulldozed by the Israeli military.

    2. Political groups should concentrate on their own organisation and not be looking to other groups to bolster their activities.

    3. I think that solidarity actions in Australia should place more emphasis on human rights and political issues faced by Palestinian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Afghani peoples because these countries are under occupation or attack by Israeli, US and Coalition forces.

    4. A lasting cease fire must be an immediate goal and military engagement avoided as much as possible because the Palestinian resistance has no real military ability to defend the citizens of Gaza or the West Bank.

    5. Resistance against the state of Israel must be organised to prevent further loss of life and to reduce the humanitarian cost of the Palestinian struggle.

    We should be mindful of the huge cost of this war to the Israeli and US economies.

    Obama has proposed sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, even after the cost of the Iraq war has crippled the US economy.

    Such insanity was the downfall of the Soviet economy when the USSR ordered so many troops into Afghanistan in 1978. Will the US ever learn? I doubt it.

    6. I am opposed to suicide bombers being sent out or supported. I can understand the frustration and futility that brings this on. But it costs one life (at least). Also you do not know who is being hurt – it may be someone opposed to the holocaust being organised by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people.

    7. I think that all attempts to weaken Israeli military and civilian infrastructure are justified.

    Ian Curr
    1 Feb 2009

  3. Direct Action forum:

    Defeating Israel – Lessons from the anti-apartheid struggle


    Former campaigner against apartheid South Africa, Richard Buchhorn (QLD Palestinian Solidarity Campaign) Jon Lamb (Revolutionary Socialist Party).

    Thursday February 5, 7pm

    (cheap meal available from 6:30pm)

    At the Direct Action Centre, 8 Gillingham St Woolloongabba

    (next to Buranda train station)

    In South Africa, during the 1970s and 1980s, when Western governments were encouraging “constructive” engagement with the racist white minority regime there, thousands of ordinary people across the world took creative actions to isolate it and companies that did business there.

    The boycott and sanctions movement was an important part of the effort to defeat South African apartheid.

    It was a tool used to educate people outside of South Africa on the situation inside the country and a concrete way of providing support to the real struggles of indigenous South Africans against white supremacy.

    While apartheid was defeated first and foremost by the staunch and unflinching resistance of Black South Africans and of liberation fighters in the surrounding countries, the support from the outside helped change the tone of the international response, making it increasingly harder for governments advocating “constructive engagement” with racists to maintain this position.

    This forum will discuss these campaigns and how we can draw on these lessons to build a campaign to defeat Israeli aparteid.

    For more information:

    p) 3391 1903. m) 0400 720 757. e)


  4. Catholic Workers Nonviolent Intervention in Gaza

    “Democarcy Now” Interviews Kathy Kelly on Return from Gaza

    Worse than an Earthquake: Peace Activist Kathy Kelly on the Destruction in Gaza

    Kathy Kelly longtime nonviolent resister, serving several U.S. prison sentnces for resistance to war preparations. In the mid – 90’s she was a founder of the sanctions busting direct action group “Voices in the Wilderness”.

    Kathy attended all three Pitstop Ploughshares trials in Dublin ’05-’06 to give first hand evidence on the genocidal nature of the sanctions and the indiscriminate killing of “Shock and Awe”. She made her way to Lebanon during the Israeli assault of 06 and recently into Gaza. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews her on what she witnessed in Gaza.

    Worse than an Earthquake: Peace Activist Kathy Kelly on the Destruction in Gaza…_from

    **Grit tv interviews Kathy Kelly…kelly

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