Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Students Union Condemnation

In reply to the Students Union Executive Committee's statement of condemnation of our occupation:

We would like to reiterate that from the start this occupation made efforts to NOT obstruct lectures taking place in the rooms we are occupying, and it is the University Management that has made the decision to relocate lectures to other rooms. We have been welcoming to students turning up for their lectures and helped them find where it was relocated to, and offered our apologies for the inconveniences management have caused them.

Several Lecturers have visited us and given their support, and we haven't received any direct criticisms from students or lecturers.


  1. Well here's a criticism - get the fuck out. What do you possibly expect your little protest to achieve? Let everyone get back to normal and stop proving what uninformed idiots you really are.

  2. Greetings from Queen Mary's

    This is great news. You have all out support and keep going. The SU are pretty useless anyway- its students activism that gets things done.

    Solidarity with Gaza and Palestine. Viva Palestina!

  3. Hi,

    I'm an American living in the W.B., in a city called Tulkarem, which is on the 'green-line'. Our daily lives have been seriously affected by the occupation, violence and round-up of our young men, on nearly a daily basis.
    I have written some poetry and articles that began at the onset of the current intifada, through what was supposed to be democratic elections and also gives insight to some people who are trying to make a difference.
    I will send these to you in a seperate e-mail. Perhaps you could read it during your occupation.
    BTW My son is studying for his MBA in Liverpool and finds it very heartening and refreshing to find support for Palestine throughout the U.K.

    Thanks for your courageous efforts,

  4. "What do you possibly expect your little protest to achieve?" - Um, I kind of would've thought the list of demands would answer that one. Would you like us to post it again for you? We can if you'd like.


    I hear a roaring thunder, yet there's dryness in the air.
    The deafening sound is not from the heavens, but from a source that breeds despair.
    Yes, the F-16's are souring, black hawks and Apaches' too.
    Manned by misled young pilots, whose conscience is askew.

    Gigantic blades pound the wind from helicopters that fly low.
    We shrink in fear at the terrifying sounds of their quick mighty blows.
    The tanks that surround us leave penetration tracks,
    On the violent filled city streets, that take us all aback.

    Streets of blood, streets of fame, full of misery, loss and pain.
    Even for those who in violence do not partake,
    often tragedy and terror is still their fate.
    Is it a fight for religion, land or just glory?
    Each person and each side has their very own story.

    Israel says "security is our cause, we're defending ourselves and we have the right".
    But what about Palestinians who want to live in peace? Why doesn't anyone consider their plight?
    I try to understand, try to rationalize,
    But fear cuts even the best of intentions down a size.

    I know Israelis suffer too in this game of tit-for-tat.
    But two wrongs will never make a right and they should realize that.
    When there's a 'suicide bombing' Israel takes revenge, by destroying the home of the 'Shaheed'.
    Then Palestinians avenge this destruction, by performing another violent deed.

    Ironically, the people that have died in this wild rampage,
    May be luckier than the ones left trapped in this cage.
    For the 'security wall' they are building between us and them,
    Is simply a huge prison, to keep us bothersome Palestinians in.

    Every city's border is closed and guarded so heavily,
    That it's been months since we've seen friends and family.
    No, we can't come or go, feel or see,
    The comfort that comes from solidarity.

    Although under curfew, our children must attend their schools for now,
    But do they truly absorb their lessons? I can't imagine how!
    Be assured that we fear for their safety while in school and to-and-fro.
    Yet, it's better than the torture of living our lives in slow-mo.

    We must keep going, keep forging ahead.
    Ignore the whizzing bullets; repress the overwhelming feeling of dread.
    Be strong and steadfast whatever the price may be,
    For even though we are oppressed, our spirits can still be free.

    Will it ever end you say? Well there's always that bit of hope.
    Till then, may God give us faith and patience and help us all learn to cope.

    By Karen AbuZant

  6. palkaren@hotmail.com17 March 2009 at 13:01

    If someone would only listen

    The world refuses to hear our voices that rise up in the air.
    Shouts of protest
    Cries for help
    Sobs of pain
    Shrieks of fear
    Yes fear, the worst sound of all, for it immobilizes us.
    It prevents us from living, planning and most of all hoping.
    Life without hope leads to desperation.
    A desperate person is a dangerous person.
    Dangerous to himself and to others.
    He causes devastation and destruction.
    Loss of trust and loss of life.
    All for want of someone to listen and make him feel worthy of benevolence and humanity.

    By Karen AbuZant

  7. palkaren@hotmail.com17 March 2009 at 13:02

    The Importance of Education in Palestine


    Good afternoon Dear Grandmother, I have great news for you.
    I won first prize for my science project and got full marks on my math test too.

    But after the teacher praised me, at morning assembly, in front of the whole school.
    I saw some girls, that I considered my friends, pointing and laughing at me, as if I were a fool.

    I asked them why they were laughing and why they would want to break my heart.
    They said they thought it was funny how a girl who had such a crazy uncle, could turn out to be so smart.

    My father is so intelligent, dependable and respected by all.
    How could two brothers be so different, one excel and the other fall?

    What did my Uncle Mohammad do to make people think him insane?
    Please tell me his life story, the truth that brings you such pain.


    I'm so proud of you sweet Neda, for studying hard and getting good grades.
    I'm only sorry your day was spoiled, by those who let jealousy make friendship fade.

    Instead of my telling the story or getting an opinion from someone else.
    I think it would be better, for you to read these two letters, so you can judge for yourself.


    I've spent years now pacing the 'Green Line', waiting for a chance to cross the border.
    A chance to work hard, feel like a man and earn enough to keep our lives in order.

    Don't much care what the work is, in blistering sun or freezing rain.
    I just need enough money to buy some food and stop our hunger pangs.

    Today I might get lucky and get past the guards without notice.
    But what about tomorrow? How do I provide for my family then? How can hope be so bogus?

    I quit school to work in Israel, because the wages were to good to believe.
    Then without reason or warning, all the Palestinian workers were ordered to leave.

    I begged you to let me marry young, for I thought my future was secure.
    But the only way to feed my family now, is to do something illegal, immoral or impure.

    My children see things on television, too wonderful and amazing to comprehend.
    Yet the only excitement I can offer, is to let them watch the Israeli tanks come rolling in.

    I've been offered money and a workers visa, to spy on my friends and neighbors.
    But there are no enticements they could offer me, that could convince me to become a traitor.

    My faith in a better life, grows weaker with every opportunity that passes me by.
    I think it would be a blessing, if tragedy struck and my entire family would die.

    But then why wait for tragic fate to come calling at our door?
    The power to end my family's suffering, is in these hands that work no more.

    Please understand why I take my family with me, when I decide to become a 'Shaheed'.
    You see, I can't bare the thought of them living as beggars, with no one to provide for their needs.

    My car packed full of C-4, will be our transportation to peace, fame and glory.
    Perhaps it will help others to make good life decisions, when they hear my tragic story.

    I ask your forgiveness mother, for taking these precious live from you.
    But try to understand that without hope or dignity, I know nothing else to do.

    God will surely punish me for what this sin is worth.
    But at least I can end the suffering, we've been enduring on this earth.


    My son, dear son, what have you done!
    You've destroyed my pride and joy.
    By killing your wife, your little ones
    And yourself my unfortunate boy.


    After many years of studying and sacrificing to make tuition.
    I've been promoted in the company to a very prestigious position.

    It wasn't easy staying in school when other boys quit and made lots of money.
    Instead I supported myself while still in school, by selling our home made honey.

    But the sweetness of honey can't compare to the feeling of elation,
    When the Dean of the university, personally handed me, my honors degree at graduation.

    I went on to get a Masters and then a Ph.D..
    I put off marrying my secret love and starting a family.

    But my love was waiting with patience, for she knew I studied for our future.
    Now we have a stable home and five children to love and nurture.

    Near us, I've just finished building a new house for you and my dear father.
    I want my children to know their Grandparents love, a gift that compares with no other.

    My only regret in life is not forcing an education on my younger brother.
    I'm sure things would have been different and your happiness would be complete, my dear mother.


    My son, dear son, a job well done.
    You are truly my pride and joy.
    Your courage, hard work and determination,
    Will let my soul rest in peace, my wonderful boy.

    By Karen AbuZant

  8. palkaren@hotmail.com17 March 2009 at 13:05


    > >My hands can make war...
    > >or they can make peace.
    > >I choose to promote peace.
    > >
    > >My hands can be violent...
    > >or they can be tender.
    > >I choose tenderness.
    > >
    > >My hands can show weakness...
    > >or they can show strength.
    > >I choose to be strong.
    > >
    > >My hands can destroy...
    > >or they can create.
    > >I choose to be creative.
    > >
    > >My hands can show hate...
    > >or they can show love.
    > >I choose to be loving.
    > >
    > >My hands can do harm...
    > >or they can heal.
    > >I choose to be healing.
    > >
    > >My hands can show sorrow...
    > >or they can show joy.
    > >I choose to be joyful.
    > >
    > >My hands can be greedy...
    > >or they can be giving.
    > >I choose to give.
    > >
    > >My hands can show fear...
    > >or they can show courage.
    > >I choose to be courageous.
    > >
    > >My hands can be idle and lazy...
    > >or be busy improving life.
    > >I choose to improve life.
    > >
    > >My hands can pollute and poison our land...
    > >or they can sow a seed and keep it alive.
    > >I choose to preserve life.

    By: Karen AbuZant

  9. palkaren@hotmail.com17 March 2009 at 13:07

    Why I Vote

    I've been asked several times why I feel, being originally a foreigner, that
    I should vote in Palestinian elections. Here is my answer:

    In international eyes, our elections may seem trivial or moot, since our
    government isn't even the head of a recognized country. It is however a chance for our voices to be heard, at least on the inside,
    amongst ourselves.

    However, if this "process" gets world attention, then so might our plight.
    That's why I vote. Not because I'm passionate about a certain candidate or
    believe in a particular party's politics.

    I feel that perhaps by exercising this right, that the international 'powers
    that be' insist is ours, we can also help them realize we have the right to
    live in freedom. Freedom from occupation, oppression, tyranny and terror.
    We deserve to feel inspiration, not desperation. To truly enjoy our happy
    moments and celebrations, without the underlying foreboding that it will
    soon be dampened by violence or injustice.

    Hopefully, someday, we'll be referred to as 'citizens' and not just
    residents' of our own land. Till then we must take advantage of the pathway
    open to us, however narrow it may seem. For now, it's the only voice we have that's getting world attention. Therefore, we must use it well and in good

    When your task is done, you should hold up that ink stained finger with
    pride in your choice, in protest for all the rights we are not afforded and
    in hope for a better future as a result of this election.

  10. palkaren@hotmail.com17 March 2009 at 13:13

    >The Tulkarem girls were the first to arrive for the reunion, at the Golden Walls Hotel, in East Jerusalem.
    >They began the trip quite early, should bureaucracy, roadblocks or opponents to their peace mission, dare try to stop them.
    >The other hotel guests exclaimed "there's something special about this group of girls".
    >It's not in their dress, their make-up, their language or even the way that
    >their hair curls.
    >"They shine from inside" I heard one of them say, as he watched each girl
    >And was astonished at how she was greeted, by the rest of our little hive.
    >They all swarmed around each familiar face, that came bouncing through the
    >And waited effervescently, to greet the others with shouts of delight and hugs and kisses by the score.
    >Whenever someone came up to me and asked, " what's all the excitement about with this group"?
    >I say with a smile, "can't you see, they're enemies, by the way they
    holler and whoop"?
    >They look at me quite strangely, till I explain about the program and the
    >Then I see the light of hope and understanding in their expression, as if
    >someone lit a lamp.
    >It did my heart good too, when I saw the excitement, joy and love.
    >An even greater expression of the possibility of peace, than the olive
    >branch and dove.
    >To see these born enemies just talking about normal things, like other teen
    >girls do,
    >Like hair, make-up, fashion, school and the cutest boy within their view.
    >The dialogue gets sad and sometimes heated, as each girl tells her
    >life-after CFP Camp tale,
    >But everyone listens respectfully and attentively to each other, without
    >An impressive task for any teen, who usually couldn't listen to anyone to
    >save her life,
    >But in CFP they've learned to listen to the other side, even though the
    >words they hear, may cut though them like a knife.
    >They wait their turn to comment on the speaker's story or point
    of view,
    >Then talk about their own experiences or thoughts that might be new.
    >I saw in all of them the concept of Steadfastness, 'Sumood' in Arabic,
    a term for some that might seem askew.
    >To refuse to be passive, flee from difficulties or dehumanize
    >their 'enemy', be they Muslim, Christian or Jew.
    >They take on each other respectfully and sympathetically, but all the while
    >making sure to get their point across.
    >They make the best use of this gift of time together, not one moment can
    >be a loss.
    >As they watched the documentary 'Encounter Point', featuring other
    >Peacemakers quite like them.
    >They literally leaned on one another, sharing tears
    > laughter and quiet thoughtfulness, as the message began to sink in.

    >After dialogue it was time for fun, food, primping, lots of giggling and
    >just hanging out.
    >For sharing these things is what strengthens lifelong peacemaking
    >friendships, which is what this program's about.
    >They realize that they are more alike than different, in their lives, hopes
    >and dreams.
    >They've learned that sharing their commonalities and putting aside their
    >differences, is what tolerance means.
    >By Karen AbuZant

  11. palkaren@hotmail.com17 March 2009 at 13:19

    Karen’s Journey.

    By Karen AbuZant.

    Readers will remember Karen, Lynne Reid Banks’s hostess in Tulkarem on the West Bank. The following is a description of a journey to Jerusalem

    I first heard about Creativity for Peace through their website. I found what looked like a great programme for peace-minded girls. It involves travel to New Mexico, U.S., and brings together Jewish Israeli, Arab Israeli and Palestinian teenage girls. They stay for two weeks and the aim is to help them to a better understanding of each other through art, dance, music, shopping, and general fun.
    To qualify, they must (a) speak reasonable English, (b) get their parents’ permission to go, (c) secure U.S. visas from the embassy in Jerusalem. All these qualifications present problems, but only the last problem became mine.
    I wanted my daughter Khadrah (16) to go. My letter reached the local director for the Arab girls (from both sides), Silvi, who advised me how to put Khadrah forward for the camp. I also got to know Anael, the director for the Israeli Jewish girls. Later, when the lucky girls had been selected, I was asked by Silvi to chaperone them to Jerusalem to secure their U.S. visas. We arranged that all the 14 girls would meet up in Jerusalem after the interviews at the consulate, to get to know each other.
    So our great adventure began. Silvi couldn’t get travel permits for us to enter Jerusalem, so we had to try getting them from our local DCO. Two of our girls – Majd and Rughd, sisters – and their mother, got theirs on Monday. On Tuesday I presented myself at the local DCO to get permits for Khadrah, Diana (who is half Russian) and myself. But try as I might, I couldn’t convince the Israeli officer in a polite, logical, yet firm manner, that according to international law he couldn’t deny me access to my consulate. When I argued, the officer screamed at the top of his lungs, “Marfouth, marfouth, marfouth!” (denied.) I was very upset. I gave him a few sharp words and left.
    Diana’s mother and I decided that even if we couldn’t get into Jerusalem on our foreign passports, at least we’d be able to get the girls from Tulkarem and Jenin together in Ramallah, so they could get to know each other, which would help their confidence before the camp.
    The Tulkarem group – Khadrah, Diana, Majd, Raghd, Sireen (their mother), my younger daughters Tamera and Sariyah (I couldn’t leave them at home) and of course I, their capable chaperone, all met at the bus station to begin our journey.
    We had the usual bumpy ride over unpaved, winding roads to our first roadblock. Waiting in the line, the girls looked at the soldiers and tried to decide if they were male or female, because in their baggy uniforms and helmets they all looked alike. We talked about how hot it must be for them. Some said they deserved to be uncomfortable for all the hassle they give us. I reminded them that every able-bodied Israeli has to serve in the army or face imprisonment. We contrasted the decent behaviour of some to that of others who obviously enjoy making our lives a misery.
    On either side of the road we saw the settlements and Arab villages. The difference was quite stark.
    After four more roadblocks and 3 ½ hours on the road, we finally arrived in Ramallah. After several attempts we found a very nice, clean, cheap hotel (the Menarra). Later we were joined by the Jenin group, exhausted and hungry after five hours on the road. We sent out for chicken dinners and sat down together to become acquainted.
    The Menarra hadn’t enough rooms for all of us, so I talked to the owner and he agreed to make a sort of dormitory for the girls in the conference room. Six beds were set up, pretty as you please, and it worked out great – though they didn’t get much sleep for talking all night! It was hard to get them up in the morning, but we finally said “Wagons, ho!” and set off at 8.30.

    The last time I was in Kalandia, the crossing-point between Ramallah and East Jerusalem, it was just a roadblock. Now it’s a massive terminal with several gates, electrically controlled turnstiles, metal detector door frames and baggage scans. All the soldiers are behind a cement barrier and thick bullet-proof glass.
    The first to enter were the Jenin group. There was a problem with the younger of two sisters, who is still registered on her mother’s howeah, or Palestinian ID. Maysoon, their leader, tried to explain, but the soldiers didn’t seem to understand, so I asked the officer to let me come in and help. I managed to convince them that when Hind was born, during the first intifada, bureaucracy was in chaos, which was why even her birth certificate wasn’t a regular one. The soldiers got permission by phone from their superior to let her pass.
    Now it was Majd, Rughd and their mother’s turn to shoot the rapids. This time the trouble was that Rughd didn’t have her own travel permit. I explained that the DOC in Tulkarem had refused to issue it, saying that if she travelled with her mother she didn’t need her own travel permit. Another phone call to the obliging officer and they were in.
    Now the real challenge: my family and Diana. I gave them our US and Diana’s Russian passports. The first thing they asked for were the visas. I told them we didn’t need one because we were West Bank residents, and produced our howeahs. But we had no travel permits. I told them the DOC in Tulkarem hadtold us we could travel on our passports (a little white lie). They were very kind and helpful, but finally they said we’d have to see the DOC here in Kalandia. Realising that this might take some time, and knowing the US visa interviews wouldn’t wait, I told the Jenin group to go on and we’d meet them, God willing, at the US consulate.
    The local DCO was a very nice, helpful young man, but try as he might, appealing to one superior after another, he couldn’t give us travel permits because we lived outside their jurisdiction. I realised he’d done his best to help us, so I thanked him and left.
    Our little group now held a powwow to decide whether we should give up or try to get into Jerusalem through the ‘back door’. The vote was unanimous: Jerusalem, here we come! We found a taxi who agreed to help us. He took us to several illegal crossing points, asking about the safest and easiest place to cross. We were directed to a small grove of trees in a quiet neighbourhood. There was an opening in a fence that divided Ramallah from Jerusalem. On either side was barbed wire and a big boulder that you had to climb over. We made it with one casualty - my six-year-old who got some wire scratches on her arm.
    Now to go down to the main street without being stopped. We passed a patrol, but they didn’t speak to us. We found a bus right away that took us to the consulate.
    We arrived at 11 a.m. (2 ½ hours for a fifteen minute trip) but didn’t find the others waiting. We got in line. There was a man – obviously religious, by his dress – standing in line with us. He heard me speak English and asked where I was from in the States. I told him Toledo, Ohio. We got chatting. There was some talk of latecomers not getting in today. I said that because I have to travel from Tulkarem, and go through such hardships to get there, that they usually make an exception for us even if we arrived late. Well, I could have smacked him in the face and he wouldn’t have been more stunned. He immediately stopped talking to us and made the wall his new best friend. I’ve had this reaction before so I wasn’t surprised, but my daughter Khadrah asked the man why he’d stopped talking to me when he heard I was from the West Bank. Once again he seemed stunned. He said he was just surprised, and began talking to me again. I thought one of our little peace-makers was starting work early.
    The Jenin group arrived at about 11.20, Silvi and Anael shortly afterwards. When the visas had been safely secured, we all went to the hotel for the meeting. The Arab and Jewish Israeli girls had begun to arrive. Introductions came first, then the games began. There was a ‘mingling’ game, getting into groups, talking about favourite music, movies, places, and what they hoped for from the camp. Each group was asked to invent a dance. I saw that being creative together was breaking down barriers and they were responding beautifully and getting comfortable with each other.
    After that Anael sat us down and described the camp and its rules. Any questions? They asked Anael, an Israeli Jew, how she got involved. She told how she went to the wake of Asil Asleaeh, the Israeli Arab boy who was shot by the army in Arabah, and how she became determined to make a difference. She and several of the girls were crying by the end. But that had a bonding effect too.

    When the meeting ended, nobody wanted to leave. The girls kept talking and sharing and some parents who’d come, joined in. Everyone was smiling, chatting and involved. No one was left out.
    It was as if they’d been life-long friends, reunited after being parted by tragedy, and were afraid of saying goodbye for fear of losing one another again.
    Outside the New Gate, another goodbye session, with tears, hugs, kisses, e-dresses exchanged, photos taken. The Israelis headed for their transport. It was getting dark and we had to hurry to the taxi station to head for home. While we waited, our girls commented on how surprised they were that the Israeli girls were so sweet and open-hearted, and how much they had in common. They couldn’t wait to get to camp now, to see their new friends again.
    Before the trip, they’d all said they were nervous and apprehensive at meeting Israelis for the first time. They thought they’d be standoffish and conceited. All their fears had melted away by the end of the first game. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see first-hand the miracle that happens when you get these kids together.
    Some people may not see the benefit of youth programmes like CfP, but just to see these children of our enemy states come together and become fast friends and act like normal teenagers together… that’s the proof of the pudding.

    By: Karen AbuZant

  12. No one cares for your poetry

  13. I care for this woman's poetry.
    No one cares for your immature, unpleasant abuse, but that won't stop you saying it.

  14. I love the last post above. Sorry mate, but in a perfectly polite way, you just got told.

    This woman has obviously seen things you could never even dream of. Have some respect.

    It's uncultured, rude, ignorant, arrogant and clueless people liek you that are pretty much most of what is wrong with the world today.

  15. I don't think this lady could care less about an arrogant and disrespectful person like you not caring about her poetry. I just wish someone would drop you in the middle of the Green Line or Gaza. Perhaps then you would find the poems interesting.

  16. you lot are pathetic. you are miles and miles away from the issue and quite frankly a shitty little protest from 50 socialists is going to do very little.

    sort your lives out and let us fucking use our lecture theatres which we pay for through our fees.

  17. jesus fucking christ
    let seamus heaney do the poems and you lot stop fucking chatting shit and stop us from studying. that is what we are here to do after fucking all.