I hope this finds you well. Today I am writing with a request for help from my friends in Palestine. As I’m sure you have seen on the news, Palestine is facing extremely hard times at the moment. The Israeli military Occupation has stepped up it’s brutality against the Palestinian people and young people are bearing the brunt. Since the start of the month, 44 people have died under the age of 22 – and this figure is increasing every day. I don’t wan’t to get too political here, but have attached an excellent article called ‘Palestine’s Wound’, By Dr Hatem Baziam for those who would like to read more about the current situation.
Over the past year I have been in and out of Palestine for my research where I conduct workshops with young people about their lives and their ideas on achieving peace. I stay in a small room in Al Azzeh refugee camp, in the West Bank, and run the workshops in the camp’s youth center. I have been humbled at how warmly I have been accepted into the camp, how hospitable and kind people have been to me, and how open and enthusiastic they have participated in my research. As a privileged middle-class Western atheist woman, coming into a poor Islamic, conflict-affected Arabic refugee camp – I would have never imagined it would be so easy and natural to make genuine friendships. The labels we use to divide ourselves are indeed illusions.
This month’s violence has been devastating for the children of Al Azzeh camp. The Israeli separation Wall runs a few hundred metres from the camp’s entrance, thus the clashes with the Israeli military happen right at the camp. The camp is constantly smothered in a fog of toxic tear gas, and the children go to sleep and wake to the sound of live ammunition fire. Not to mention that many young people are drawn to participate in the violent clashes themselves. Under such oppressive circumstances, and with little hope, activities, or opportunities to channel their frustrations and energies, it is understandable why many youth choose such paths.
This is where the Handala Youth Center comes in. It tries to provide the children and youth of the camp with stimulating, educational, and therapeutic activities to support their healthy development. In light of the recent deterioration of living conditions in the camp, a group of volunteers are trying to revamp the center and make it a place the young people want to come. The very first step in doing this is to redo the plumbing system and replace the toilet which does not work. You can imagine the difference these small changes will make – children can spend hours at the center and do not have leave every time they need the toilet, the sewerage does not smell, and there is running water from the taps.
So, they are asking for your help! They are aiming to raise AUD$1500 for these renovations ($1100 US). Any amount of money you can donate will be much appreciated and help them reach their goal! Please click on the Indigogo link below to make your donations. We will keep all donors updated of the progress with photos of the renovations and kids enjoying the center.
Thank you so much for your support!!
Much love from dusty Jordan,
Photos from Al Azzeh Camp
Gareth W R Smith
Palestine Liberation Centre
“Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire
George Orwell, ‘Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’
“The sleep of reason produces monsters.” Goya