24 March 2008

Safe return for two. No return for one hundred and thirty souls.

Sue and David returned safely from Gaza two weeks ago. They left tragedy and endless tears behind them.

Sue and I returned from Gaza via the 'West Bank' and Amman on the March 10. Our entry into Gaza was delayed by the terrible murder of 130 people in Gaza including 5 babies, and the injury of over 300.

In spite of this loss, it was a very successful trip; much was achieved. She has written it up as seen through her eyes for the first time.
http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=24974 and http://redressnewsblog.blogspot.com/

The 10 computers and support systems are being installed in the Assalama Rehab Centre as I write. Disabled people will be able to learn IT skills.

The small business scheme has been given the go ahead. It could not be more urgent. Equipment and some training for a mobile hairdresser: Donkey cart to help a small farmer – especially welcome now with fuel scarce: Rabbit rearing for meat – good quality protein for the poor also scarce: Etc. The loans and 30 month agreements will be supervised by an accountant friend of Nihad's who has previous experience of such schemes.

There are many deaf people in Gaza who need diagnosis and help, including speech therapy. Our proposed Audiometry centre is needed but it will take about 40,000 dollars to set it up and run it for the first year. It is a good deal more complcated than the Optics centre which Hammed, the optometrist, runs by himself. There is an innate simplicity. This service, incidentally, is much appreciated by the poorer people. More and more charities are referring adults and children for eye tests and possible glasses.

Nihad has suggested that the D&D should set up an educational radio station operating on the FM band. It would be the first of its kind in the Middle East. There are good transmitters available . I am very enthusiastic about this. Nihad has spoken to many people; other charities are keen to join in. It would have course have no 'political' content. Adult education would be included, with topics like health on offer. Languages could be taught and spoken foreign languages improved with the help of outsiders who are skilled in teaching English, Italian, Spanish etc as a foreign language. There are so few outsiders going into the Gaza ghetto there is very little chance of practising with them. Traditional music and other music is not heard much in the schools and I doubt whether many children play the beautiful aoud. So there would be music. Anything which elevates and inspires, and which eases the pain and oppression of imprisonment. I hope to report on this again shortly.

Alaikum salaam David

Gaza's children http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCjEvet8s7g

The photograph - Kifah gives birth to Ahmad in the street - in the 'Holy Land'.
(See 'Bring out a mattress. Ahmad joins us in the street. 11 January 2008)