Time for me to start trying hard to come home. Blog site improving, new website creaking into action, now I need to get home and fulfill the promises that I made to get an Art Exhibition together. I'm aiming to leave on the 19th, Sunday, so if you an write to the Egyptian Embassy, which will be open on Sunday, I should be very Grateful. More details of the Art Project Below:
Egyptian Embassy Address in London: email@example.com
So much still to do here, although mixed with feelings that I have already stayed too long. Couple of good friends, a couple of rather more dodgy people working their passage in the living off the fund-raising game. So much needed, but so much wasted, Some interesting statistics about international aid, 'shortly' to be administered in an integrated database of UNRWA, World Bank, EU and government aid, as a preparation for taking it out of the Donors hands and putting into a unified government, were there such a thing. Another Tony Blair project already 2 years late, because the underlying agenda of this perfectly sensible move, is to further isolate Hamas.
About 77% of aid recipients are in Gaza, 23% in The West Bank, and in Gaza the estimate is that 80% live below the NIS2000 (Shekels) a month line. That's about £400, and rent for an apartment might be £200pm for one or two bedrooms. The poverty line is for a family of six, and the statistic for births seem to be 6.85 children per family.
Asked why the birthrate is so high, some Palestinians say what I said in my last Blog, that it is their weapon to defeat the Israelis demographically, but others talk more resignedly about the need to replace those killed in the wars and attacks.
In a tough school where I was working the other day a boy said, when I asked him how he felt at the death of his three brothers in separate attacks by the Israelis, he said that he felt proud. Pressed further, he said that he felt sad for less than a week, then proud that he came from a family with three Martyrs. Remember that these boys weren't fighters, just children killed at random. But I would be surprised if the boy and his like minded friends weren't prepared to give themselves up for the glory of the cause. To Paraphrase Golda Meir, I don't hate the Israelis for making them kill their sons, but for making the Palestinians kill themselves.
So back to the exhibition. I need a set of display boards to put in the van, a couple of those small in car DVD players to interpret the paintings, a large Screen or projector to show a film or two, a computer, diesel, volunteers, and offers to arrange town centre sites starting in June. Schools as well, even earlier than that.
Oh and who has time to give to help with these arrangements?
That's why I'm coming back to the UK if humanly possible, if the Egyptians will allow the Van through. I can't rely on others to help gratis, and I already over stretch my support group. But if there are kindly, organised souls, or people who can drive half the night and still be nice to people and talk intelligently about pictures to people, (after going through it first), then I would love to hear from you.
The Painted Pea is a sensation at the Islamic University. The students stuck on a picture of West Bank President Mahmoud Abbas with a beard and spectacles added.
We have a donate button coming on the site too, at the side and my email, linked to our half built website is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The plan is to drive around the UK setting up (with permission) in the town square, using the graffitied van as the eyecatcher, and then drawing people into a tent (Wet) or encirclement of display where they can look, watch those explanatory videos, and the films like Awni Al Heteni, and ask questions above all. We will try to cash in the interest by getting an email and asking them to sign a petition, or just a visitor's book for support, which we can show to subsequent funders.
We can start anywhere, so if you would like us to come, just tell us. If you want me to speak at a meeting, I'm happy to do that, but would ask you to try and go the extra mile and organise permission for us in the town square or a schools talk or both, on the same day. (Which means schools in the AM.
Just to remind everyone of the trauma that we are trying to bring out from the kids, here is a picture of the evacuation of Al Quds Hospital, shelled by phosphorus tank shells, according to the eyewitnesses I talked to; followed by a picture of a school being shelled.