Poet Laureate of Palestinians

Amy Goodman in TODAY’S DEMOCRACY NOW! Reports:

* Mahmoud Darwish, Poet Laureate of the Palestinians, 1941-2008 *

Three days of mourning have been declared in the West Bank and Gaza to mark the death of Mahmoud Darwish, the Poet Laureate of the Palestinians. Darwish was considered one of the most important Arab poets, a towering literary figure for over four decades. The poetry of Mahmoud Darwish is well known and loved across the Arab world by people from all walks of life.


Sad Loss of Mahmoud Darvish, conscience of People

Hi Friends,

I give some credit to Adam Keller editor of Gush Shalom to suggest that the least Israel could do after this great poet’s death is at least to include his work in school curriculum. He was driven away from his home in Palestine and was in exile – zarinaspeaks

See article and telegram to Israeli Education Minister:

Not too late to include poems of Mahmoud Darwish in the school curriculum



Mahmoud Darwish’s death – a big loss for the Palestinian people as well as for peace seeking Israelis

Darwish’s memory should be honoured by the inclusion of his poems in the curriculum of Israeli schools

“At his gravesite we salute Mahmoud Darwish, son of Galilee, conscience of the Palestinian people, poet of anger and hope, partner in the struggle for peace between the two peoples of this land” says the Gush Shalom movement. Many of us knew and cherished Mahmoud Darwish, the man and the poet. His untimely death is a great loss and a difficult one for the Palestinian people, and also for peace seeking Israelis.

In a telegram to Education Minister Yuli Tamir Gush Shalom calls for honouring the memory of Mahmoud Darwish by including some of his poems in the curriculum of of the Israeli schools. “Mahmoud Darwish was born between us, and grew up as an Israeli citizen, not more and not less. The fact that the State of Israel was unable to give this great creative talent a feeling of belonging, pushing him into decades of exile – isn’t that our badge of infamy? The least what we can still do after his death is including his poems in the school curriculum presented to Israeli pupils – to the Arab pupils, in order to let them become acquainted with one of the great creative talents of their own culture, but not less important: to the Jewish pupils – to learn through it a bit about the suffering and aspirations of those with whom we can and should make peace.”

Further details: Adam Keller adam@gush-shalom.org

Israeli Settlers try to re-occupy land in Beit Sahour


Israeli Settlers try to re-occupy land in Beit Sahour.

I have just got news from a friend that the place I last visited on an Olive.coop Tour in 2005 is being occupied by a lot of settlers and IDF just look on. The site Ush Ghrab was occupied by the Israeli army in 1967 and was used as a military base. In 2006 the army abandoned the site and the city council in Beit Sahour rehabiliatated the site and turned part of it into a public park, and had a plan to build a hospital on the rest of it, in addition to some other facilities that would server the local community in Bethlehem. See the following links:


Mr. George N. Rishmawi has been assigned Executive Director for PCR on August 1, 2005 to succeed Mr. Ghassan Andoni, who co-founded the center and lead it for 17 years. Andoni is now the new director for the Public Relation Office in Birzeit University. We wish both George and Ghassan the best in serving their country and the organizations they work for.

I have met Ghassan Andoni who is an excellent speaker and I see he is now at Birzeit University, while George S Rishmawi, continues promoting visits to Palestine.

Get involved and find out more! Zarina

Sailing to Gaza

The whole world is anxiously watching the reaction of the episode! A shipful of level-headed beings off to a neglected lot of inhabitants starved of basic necessities like food, medicines, sanitary supplies setting off today from Cyprus in defiance of the Big Bullies to the brave Gazans!!! I am jubilant and share the tidings received from the friends of this lot of people.

Details in the following email from The Free Gaza Movement:

One Step Closer:
Getting Ready to Sail to Gaza
Aug 1, 2008

Greetings from Cyprus! Our official training begins today, as we move one step
closer to breaking the siege of Gaza.

What may have seemed at one point a distant and somewhat exotic dream has
become a solid reality.  In just a few days we will begin sailing the SS Free
Gaza and the SS Liberty across the Mediterranean to Occupied Palestine. And
though there are still challenges ahead – things are falling into place, and
there are some truly amazing people here making this happen.

Among our group is Monir Deeb, a husband, father, businessman, and human rights
activist from Los Angeles, California. Though he is also an American, Monir was
born in Gaza City. As a Palestinian he is putting himself at great risk by
sailing with us. We’re thankful for his bravery. His enthusiasm and wisdom
have become invaluable to this project.

Among our group is Hedy Epstein, a human rights activist from St. Louis,
Missouri, and a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust. Her sunny smile and gentle
demeanor are a source of constant strength to us all. When she was asked in an
interview about why an 83-year-old grandmother would want to sail on this
mission, she replied,

“There are no guarantees in life. Perhaps no one should put herself in a
situation that’s dangerous. But my participation is a small contribution that I
can make compared to the sufferings that the Palestinians endure every single
day. And, if by doing this, we can tell the world what is happening there, then
it’s worth going.

For those of you reading this – the spirit here in Cyprus is obviously high.
More than 50 people have come here from around the globe; young and old,
professionals and students, women and men, land crew or boat passengers,
film-makers and media, old friends and new ones. Lauren Booth (a journalist,
and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s sister-in-law), has asked to
join us on board. She arrives in Cyprus shortly. All of us understand that we
may be risking our lives, but we are prepared to do so for this cause – our
attempt to release, even slightly and temporarily, the 1.5 million men, women
and children living in Gaza from the open-air prison that has been forced on
them by the total Israeli blockade.

On July 29, 2008, we held our first press conference in Athens, Greece and
announced that passengers, crew and journalists were beginning to arrive in

The conference room was packed with media, local supporters, and even a member
of the Greek Parliament who came to support our efforts. Two of our organizers,
Dr. Paul Larudee and Greta Berlin, both from California, talked about the
project, and described what we hope to accomplish through our voyage – an end
to the siege of Gaza, and an end to the collective punishment of the
Palestinian people.

Since the press conference, the Free Gaza Movement has been inundated with
questions from the media. Many more individuals and organizations have asked to
be included in this project as endorsers, and we are truly grateful for the
outpouring of international support that is accompanying our efforts.

And so here we are in our base camp, shuttling people from the airport, tracing
lost baggage, attending meetings, going through nonviolence training, making
shopping lists, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of all the mundane tasks
that come along with an action as large as Free Gaza has become.

Already CNN, Reuters, Dutch TV, Al Jazeera, BBC, The Independent, The Times,
The Scotsman, and the local Cyprus press are either working on stories or
pressing to be on board, trying to fill the six positions we have available for
the media.

The Israeli authorities – no doubt on to us a while ago – have been putting
out deliberate disinformation. Israeli newspapers have published articles that
have their journalists asking follow-up questions for the authorities – are
you really taking three European government officials?        Is it really an
ICAHD/ISM organised event?  Where are the ships leaving from? Is this really
going ahead? 

The answer is “YES!” We are most definitely going ahead. In a few days we
will leave Cyprus bound for Gaza. But our voyage will not end when we reach
Occupied Palestine. Our voyage is but one step on a long journey toward peace
and justice for our battered world. Will you join us on that journey?

In Love and Hope,

The Free Gaza Movement
Cyprus to Gaza
1 August 2008

Hello world!

This is my first message to you all on this very significant day to be noted by the entire populace on this earth. Today some people with heart and soul beating in their chest cavities are performing a heroic task of actually challenging the apathy of the haves for the have nots.

Sailing to Gaza with supplies for them! Let us say ‘Bravo’ to them!