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FreeGaza Movement

Human rights group that sailed 5 times into port of Gaza.

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 The children of a lesser Allah, the ones for whom the shelter of their mother and father's embrace has been forever shattered by a thunderbolt from the sky, continue to atone for the hatred passed on from one generation to the next, through no fault of their own. The soldiers with the Star of David are perfectly at ease in their roles as so many contemporary Herods, with 253 massacred Palestinian children so far. An endless horror, for which no soldier, no Israeli army officer, and the Israeli government have never been forced to face their responsibilities for these war crimes.

If these innocent victims are spared for a few hours, it's not the case for the places that host their games, dreams and ambitions of growing up, the places filling the void left by the fathers and mothers that were torn away from them. Orphanages have become the favourite nesting place of Israeli mechanical birds - it's there that the fighter planes go and lay their bombs. My colleagues in Rafah have written to me, saying: "On Sunday, January 11th, at about 3:00 AM, the F16s bombed the orphanage of the Dar al-Fadila association, which included a school, a college, a computer centre and a mosque in Taha Hussein Street, in the Kherbat al-Adas neighbourhood, North-East of Rafah. Parts of the buildings were severely damaged. The school assisted 500 orphaned children." This very personal Israeli Jihad against Islam's sacred places along the Strip also continues. Counting the Kherbat al-Adas mosque, 20 mosques were razed to the ground until now. Thankfully, still no qassam "rocket" has ever even brushed the walls of a synagogue. We're certain that otherwise, we would've heard rightful cries of disdain from every corner of the world. But it comes as no surprise to us that no one protests against this massive anti-Islamic campaign. God must pay the price of receiving prayers from the Palestinians.


Almost 950 victims, 85% of which are civilians. The infernal Israeli death machine slowly advances, taking over the whole of Gaza, knocking down houses, schools, universities, hospitals, without any tangible signal of a will to boycott these actions coming from the international community. Sabotaging the advancing of death materialised as tanks and fighter planes means protecting life. It is therefore our turn, as ordinary citizens without citizenship (if not the feeling of belonging to a human family), to try and get in the way of this infernal mechanism.

I met Doctor Haidar Eid, a Professor at Al Quds university in Gaza City. A leftist intellectual, tough as nails and yet also good-humoured, passionate and generous, the likes of which are completely extinct in Italy today. Otherwise, their type can be found imprisoned in some basement of collective memory (it's impossible to adapt their type to the bipartisan trend whereby post-fascists and post-communists walk arm in arm, reciting in unison their refrain to justify Israeli's massacre). Haidar has become a spokesman for PACBI (The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, website:, and of BDS (The Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign National Committee, website: History is a teacher but it has no students. And Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi are at the moment unable to give any lessons. But the specific history of South Africa can show us the way towards forcing racist and colonialist Israel to come to a compromise. Not boycotting the regime of apartheid back then was a little like becoming an accomplice to it. What has changed today? Like myself, the vast majority of Palestinians don't think the answer to the Israeli occupation and the massacre in progress are suicide bombings, "kamikazes" and "rockets" against Sderot. Boycotting is peaceful and non-violent, the most humanly acceptable answer to a conflict so depraved it has made every gesture become inhuman. It's the best weapon in our arsenal of non-violence, as Naomi Klein tells us on The Guardian. Haidar even manages to see on the bright side of the bloody pit we're sinking into. Just like after the Sharpeville massacre on March 21st, 1960, when three black people were torn to pieces through the will of a barbaric regime in South Africa, the world felt its time had come to say ENOUGH! The incomparable massacre of one thousand Palestinian civilians could breathe life into an equally strong activist campaign to punish Israeli crimes.

Haidar also supports Israel and Palestine as a sole, secular, democratic, interreligious state: he sees no other pragmatic way out of the conflict. More intimately, he speaks to me of the Nakba, which he was spared by a few years, but very much brought to life through the stories orally handed down by his family. He speaks to me without mincing his word, as the child of the post-catastrophe, for which the Nakba was passed down to him as a nightmare that fed into the collective unconscious of thousands of Palestinians. The nightmare has come to life again, knocking on the rooftops on December 27th, and hasn't stopped collecting sleepless nights ever since. Haiden encourages me to divulge all this, so I jot down on my tattered notebook his appeal to all Israelis to no longer buy anything Made in Israel. You can pick out the Israeli blood-stained products off the shelves from their bar-code, with 729 being the first three numbers. To get a complete list of the products you can visit the site:

Print out the list, stick it on your fridge door or put it in your mother or wife's handbag when they go out to the market with the shopping list. "If you buy just one glass of water from Israel, in actual fact you're funding one of the bullets that might ram itself into one of your children's hearts." The boycotting movement that saw the light in Palestine in 2005 is now taking gigantic steps forward and spreading among millions of consumers around the world. Venezuelan President Chavez, who expelled the Israeli Ambassador and stopped all relations with the state that's currently strangling us, is an example for all of our politicians to emulate.

The South African leaders of the struggle against apartheid, Mandela, Ronnie Kasrils and Desmond Tutu have stated that the Israel's oppression of Palestine is by far worse than South Africa's. These voices are a little more authoritative than Frattini or Fassino's! Many Israeli Jews have joined the boycotting campaign, about 500 so far, among them Ilan Pappe and Neta Golan, Holocaust survivors who shout: "Never again!" The Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai urges us to act: "I'm hoping for the support of Europe, hoping that the descendents of Voltaire and Rousseau may help Israel, because Israel won't end its occupation until Europe says "Enough!" Only pressure from civilised and democratic nations can change the situation and bring us peace. The current situation, with the army in charge, cannot be changed from the inside. For the values that it represents, Europe must refuse to continue cooperating with Israel." 729 must become our Shoah: never again!

Stay human

Vittorio Arrigoni

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