January 17, 2010
1417 is not just a number: it’s the men, women and children who died during Israel’s 23-day assault in 2008-2009.
The event marked the anniversary of the atrocities and called for the state of Israel to be brought to justice for its illegal actions and for those responsible to face trial for war crimes.
Heavy rain meant that instead of staging a “Die-in”, with people lying on the ground to represent those killed in the attack, those present decided to observe a minute’s silence for the victims. Approximatly 200 people participated with each being given the name of one of the dead to hold aloft. After a perfectly observed silence, three speakers with direct connections to the attack on Gaza addressed the crowd – Sameh Habeeb, a Gazan journalist; Natalie Abou Shakrah, a Gaza survivor; and Manal Timraz, who lost fifteen members of her family in the attack, eleven of whom were children.
Manal Timraz’s speech proved to be one of the most emotional moments of the day. People in the crowd had tears in their eyes as she told the crowd: “When I saw you all holding the names of the victims I was looking around for the names of my family members… the youngest was 2 and the eldest of the children was just twelve. Can you imagine…these are children who were not allowed to grow up.”
“Equality for all citizens on the historic land of Palestine, no matter what religion or gender or race or colour or ethnicity, justice through accountability. Just like people of conscience managed to isolate the apartheid state in South Africa we can isolate the apartheid state of Israel.” Natalie Abou Shakra.
“But we are not only here to commemorate the dead. We are here to highlight the injustice of Israel’s brutal occupation, besiegement and oppression of Gaza and its population. We – civil society – will not accept Israel’s crimes and war mongering, and we will not accept our government’s continued sponsoring of Israel’s terror tactics.” One of the event organisers said in his speech.
After the speeches, some participants initiated their own die in with some lying on the ground covered in fake blood with others burning the Israeli flag in protest against the Israel state, with many others joining in chanting and calling for Freedom for Palestine.
The team at Gaza1417 want to thank everyone who came for braving the weather to show their support and solidarity with the people of Gaza. It was a fantastic turnout and it shows that the people in the UK won’t forget what took place and will keep working to find justice for those that died, and for the survivors who are still sufferring.
Those that died were not anonymous numbers but real people who lost their lives at the mercy of Israeli aggression. To reflect this we are assigning names to each participant on the day (or by email or our by registering on our website in advance firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.facebook.com/l/f2dbb;gaza1417.wordpress.com)
We look forward to having you with us on the day. In preparation, please wear warm clothes – it may even be worth bringing a bit of cardboard to lie on – we will be lying down for about 15 minutes as a short ceremonial speech is given on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Wear red and white if possible.
We have asked people to come at 1pm, and to meet us at the base of the Fourth Plinth – We will be holding a Palestinian flag. From here we will provide you with a card with the name of the person you will be representing. We will then undertake the action at 2pm. We asked people to come at 1pm to give people time to arrive and gives time to ensure the names are handed out and people represented.
If there are any questions, please let us know.
There still time to let friends know about this event and bring them down.
We are really looking forward to being able to remember the Gaza 1417 and those still in Gaza with you tomorrow.
In solidarity. Peace, respect and justice.