“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

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Saturday 1358  –  26.07.14

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Please don’t just flick past and think this is just another post about Palestine.. It is but it is so very important to read about what is happening, as the worlds governments seem to be standing by apparently disinterested. Please read right to the end. Thank you.

I’d like you to think about something for me, especially if you have children, elderly parents, someone disabled in your family, a husband, wife or other loved one. Yes in other words all of you.

I want you to imagine that you’ve had leaflets dropped in the area where you live telling you that you need to get out of your house because the area in which you live is going to be bombed.

Now your phone is ringing and you’re being told you have 15 mins to get out of the house. What do you think ? This is my house, all my things, my life savings have gone into this house.

Then I want you to imagine that there is an explosion on your roof, enough to shake the house violently and do some damage or maybe even kill anyone at the top of the house. ( the Israelis call it a “tap on the roof”)

Next feel the fear of knowing that explosion on your roof is a warning that your house is going to be bombed and you need to get out fast. What would you bring with you? Food, clothes, medicine, money, the dog?  Would you have time? Would you run?  How can you when you have an elderly grandmother with you ? Where would you go when you don’t know which other houses are going to be bombed? 

Would you go to the beach? Would you be safe there?

Would you go to a UN run school? Would you be safe there?

Please don’t stop reading now but instead watch this video here. 

Imagine this was your house…..

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All gone…

Forever.  

Along with any dreams and hopes you might have had for the future.

I hope you managed to get your family out in time.

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These are some of the names and ages of the children killed in the last 2 weeks. They didn’t get out in time

Names and ages of some of the children killed in Gaza in the last 2 weeks

Names and ages of some of the children killed in Gaza in the last 2 weeks

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On this Saturday  I attended a 1 hr vigil for the people who have been killed in the Gaza strip, Palestine, in the last 2 weeks .The vigil, organised by the Cambridge Palestine Forum was held in the centre of Cambridge whilst in London upwards of 45,000 people marched calling for an end to the terrible bloodshed, to the blockade of Gaza by Israel and for a boycott of Israel.  

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Reading the names of the dead

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On 22.07.14 a vote was held in the United Nations on a resolution ensuring respect for international law in Palestine  – 

on the 23rd July  –

The Human Rights Council concludes Special Session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Establishes Independent, International Commission of Inquiry for the Occupied Palestinian Territory

“The Human Rights Council today established an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and concluded its Special Session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

In the resolution, adopted by a vote of 29 States in favour, 1 against and 17 abstentions, the Council condemned in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 13 June 2014 that may amount to international crimes, directly resulting in the killing of more than 650 Palestinians, most of them civilians and more than 170 of whom were children, the injury of more than 4,000 people and the wanton destruction of homes, vital infrastructure and public properties.

In the resolution, the Council decided to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, and to report to the Council at its twenty-eighth session.

Please look carefully at the result of the vote below. The United States of America voted AGAINST the resolution and Europe, including France, Germany, Austria, Ireland , Italy and the UK abstained. In other words they were silent and proved again that when the USA says jump they say how high !  I am ashamed of my government here in the Uk. They did not vote in my name !

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

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Please read this and consider signing https://secure.avaaz.org/en/israel_palestine_this_is_how_it_ends_loc/?slideshow

Or you might like to write to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs ,Phillip Hammond directly and tell him what you think. You can do that here https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/israel-gaza

So what can you do about it apart from signing petitions. You might like to consider boycotting companies that have strong links with Israel. 

More information: –

here http://www.boycottisraelnetwork.net/ .

and here http://www.boycottisrael.org.uk/

Finally I would ask you to watch this video here by Jon Snow. One of the few journalists around these days who is really doing his job.

Please don’t turn away. These children need us.

you don't need to be a muslim to stand up for Gaza

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I have written about the cost of war and associated issues before –

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/save-lives-talk-peace/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/the-human-cost-of-war/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/naming-the-dead/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/is-this-what-we-want-for-our-sons-and-daughters/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/white-feather-caught-in-thorns/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/guns-what-are-they-good-for/

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As ever I welcome your thoughts.

Saturday girl signing off til whenever.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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Air Cadets and Food Banks .. more connected than you think.

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Saturday 1389  – 14.12.2013

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A pretty normal day today, or so it seemed.  After lunch I took myself off to one of the Big Four supermarkets or was it one of the Big Six?  Anyway whichever it was I was there to buy a couple of last-minute prezzies for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow. 

At the main door  were some people from our local, and newly opened, Food bank. They were asking everyone to buy an extra non-perishable food item and donate to the food bank.
For those of you in other countries, who don’t know what I’m talking about, a food bank is something set up to provide a few days of basic food supplies to those in crisis who cannot afford to buy food.

You can’t just walk in and get food there is usually a voucher system and referrals are often made from other agencies; social workers, Gp’s, police, housing etc.  They are springing up all over the UK, run by a variety of  usually voluntary organisations, as the government changes benefit rules and plunges more and more people into poverty. 

(See the graph above to give you an idea of how the use of food banks has increased )

Did you know that over half of the people living in poverty in the UK are actually in work not living off  benefits as many believe ? !

That the use of food banks is even necessary in 2013, in what is said to be the 7th richest country in the world, is a scandal of monumental proportions.

To go back to my shopping – When I went to the checkout my heart sank as I saw lots of children, aged around 13-14 , dressed in grey uniforms. I recognised them as Royal Air Force Air Cadets who were helping people to pack their shopping. The idea being that they help with packing your shopping and you donate a little something to their organisation.

Now I am a pacifist so to see children dressed in such uniforms made me feel sick because I believe organisations like the Cadets are used to encourage children to do as they are told, to conform and be “model citizens” . In other words to obey and not question authority.  If you teach children this when they are young  I believe there is a good chance they will be compliant as adults and afraid to question or rebel against authority even when it is unjust. 

The cadets website sells it like this

“Are you up for fun, adventure, incredible experiences and making new friends? Are you looking for something to give you the edge in life?

You can even learn to fly. Oh yes and to shoot too ,as well as parade and drill.

(“you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at military skills and drills. That means rifle shooting and field craft.” (…) ” Activities such as small and full bore target shooting, flying and gliding are paid for from the budget of the Royal Air Force.”

In fact everything you need to prepare you for a life in the armed forces. Needless to say the Cadets website has links to RAF reserves and another link to RAF careers.

Lets go back to the shopping – The irony  of having Food bank collections alongside Airforce Cadets in the supermarket was not lost on me; collecting for the poor alongside collecting for an organisation where children are being effectively groomed for more war. 

Is this what we should be doing with our young people? I certainly don’t believe it is.

Ask yourself this question – Why do we now seem to  live in a society where the poor are getting poorer and yet we can still afford to spend so much money on waging or preparing to wage war ?  In 2012 it was estimated that the UK government spent 44.3 billion on the armed forces (taken from a range of government figures) with only 34.9 on education and 61.3 on welfare ( about 9% of this figure on unemployment and over 30% on children and families)

Something just isn’t right is it?

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 As ever I welcome your thoughts.

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Saturday girl signing off.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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