One of the founders of FreeGaza.org, Greta Berlin
Ex-Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, Jr.
Michael Heart is a musician and a songwriter, both at the same time.
Basima Farhat is your host.
Previously aired on: January 20, 2009 – 00:01 Please tune in!
In less than two weeks, Michael Heart’s song “We Will Not Go Down” on YouTube received beyond a quarter – million hits, bringing attention to the problems of Gaza’s residents.
Along with Michael, Greta Berlin – Co-Founder of FreeGaza.org – joins Basima Farhat to talk about her decades of service and organisation on behalf of the Palestinian people, sometimes at her own risk. Cynthia McKinney, a longtime advocate for Palestinian rights, will join Greta in her mission. I’ve been on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill and the SS Destiny, which has been rammed by Israeli Navy before that could deliver tonnes of medical supplies, doctors, and journalists to Gaza. I’m a member of Congress. Cynthia McKinney, who has lived to tell the tale, uses her storey to raise awareness about the plight of Gaza’s civilians.
Since the early 1960s, GRETA BERLIN was a vocal proponent of fair treatment for Palestinians. A 1948 refugee, her husband was born and raised in Safad, Palestine, and is the father of two Palestinian/American children. It’s not uncommon for her to be teaching scientists and engineers presentation skills when she’s not working with Palestinians. She holds both a Master’s in Theatre and then a Bachelor’s in English.
As a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led nonviolent movement, she has been to the West Bank three times (a total of over five months) since 2003. Anin, from just outside Jenin, is where Greta and 10 both these ISM volunteers were shot and wounded through July 2003 whereas trying to remove a gate from the fence. At ISM’s Beit Sahour & Ramallah offices, she has primarily worked as an editor and media coordinator. A co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement, she was on board the Free Gaza when it became the first ship carrying internationals to reach the besieged Mediterranean strip in 41 years, helping to lift Gaza’s blockade through seaborne nonviolent action. Her articles & interviews can be accessed by GOOGLING. Greta Berlin is a Palestinian.
As a result of her experiences in Palestine, she has given lectures all around world at universities and organisations about how to advocate for a people who are oppressed.
According to the website FreeGaza.org:
The conflict in the Middle East has its roots in the long history of Israeli colonisation of Palestinian land, homes, and cultural heritage. It has resulted in the world’s largest ever refugee population. Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians inside the West Bank has been facilitated by the 1967 land grab and 27-foot walls and sniper towers that have encircled Palestinian ghettos and bantustans. Gaza has become an open-air prison, housing 1.4 million people who are starving and crammed in like sardines.
A destitute Palestinian refugee population is left with just there own memories of Palestinian, crumbling real estate deeds, and also an unwavering desire to return to their homeland.
Statement of Purpose
The blockade on Gaza must be lifted. Gaza has been sealed off like a jail cell, and we hope to bring attention to the situation and exert pressure on world leaders to reevaluate their sanctions policies and end their support for the Israeli occupation. Humanitarian workers and journalists are just some of the types of visitors we want to keep coming to Palestine.
What is our identity?
Human rights defenders, humanitarian aid labourers, and journalists make up the vast majority of our profession. Volunteer work in West bank and Gaza at the request of Palestinians is something we’ve done for years. As a result of the tightening grip of Israel’s illegal invasion of Palestine, many are unable to travel to Gaza and also an increasing number are being refused admission to Israel and also the West Bank. The Israeli government refuses to let us do our work despite the dire need for it.
In our group, we come from all walks of life. We are a diverse group of people back home, including educators, drs, nursing staff, engineering technicians, truckers, youth groups, performers, assistants, families, relatives, defense attorneys, educators, protesters, performers, playwrights, law makers, web designers, authors, and even a former Hollywood movie sector worker, a retired Marine, an airman, and an explorer. We also have ties to the world of politics and the world of politics. As a diverse group, we represent a cross-section of the world’s ethnicities and cultures.
What’s going on here?
We broke the Gaza blockade for the first time on August 23, 2008 and again on October 29, 2008. A permanent ocean lane among both Cyprus and Gaza is what we want to do again.
The succeeding principles and techniques are accepted by all Free Gaza Movement members:
All people, regardless of ethnicity or religion or national origin or language are entitled to equal protection under the law regardless of their background.
UN resolutions & international law mandate that all occupied territories must have unrestricted access to global waters and airspace, including those israeli – Occupied since June 5, 1967.
The lawful inhabitants of any and all territories israeli – Occupied since June 5, 1967, have the power to dictate all entries and exits into and out of those regions without Israeli interference.
Fourth, the Israeli government must rescind any laws, regulations, or practises that discriminate against Israeli citizens in the occupied territories it has populated since June 5, 1967.
Israel should demolish all barriers erected in the occupied territories since June 5, 1967, in order to facilitate free movement.
All Palestinian refugees and exiles, as well as their heirs, have a fundamental right to return to their homelands, recover their properties, and end up receiving compensation for damage, dispossession, and unlawful use of such property. This is a personal, not a collective, right that can only be agreed to by the individual who wishes to exercise it.
The fundamentals of nonviolence & nonviolent resistance will guide us at all times, in word and deed.