Over 200 people celebrated the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at a lively event in Auckland on Sunday.
Jointly organised jointly by the local Palestinian community and the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, and chaired by TV presenter, Moana Maniapoto, the gathering heard short presentations from a wide range of speakers along with videos and songs, and enjoyed a spirited impromptu Dabke dance performance.
Kia Ora Gaza spokesperson Roger Fowler paid a tribute to those who had died in the struggle for Free Palestine, before outlining a brief summary of Kia Ora Gaza activities:
Kia Ora Gaza was set up 10 years ago from huge public meetings in response to the Israeli commando raid on the six-ship international flotilla intent on breaking the illegal siege of Gaza. The attack on the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, in international waters, resulted in the murder of 10 civilians and 50 others injured.
Kia Ora Gaza raised funds to send six Kiwis to join the 2010 international land convoy from London to Gaza. We bought three ambulances, packed them with vital medical equipment, and joined 140 other ambulances and trucks, with people from over 30 other countries, to deliver 7 million dollars of medical aid to Gaza.
Since then we have sponsored many projects, including donating two more ambulances [in partnership with Viva Palestina Malaysia]. We have facilitated many other Kiwis to join other land convoys and flotillas to challenge Israel’s cruel and illegal blockade of Gaza.
We have also co-hosted many speaking tours, events and protests alongside the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa and the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, and maintained our Facebook pages and website: kiaoragaza.net
Kia Ora Gaza supports the ‘Football for Freedom’ soccer tournaments in South Auckland, involving about 18 teams supporting a football club in Gaza – whose clubrooms have been bombed twice by Israeli jets.
It’s important to work together to build a strong solidarity movement here and around the world, to support the Palestinian struggle for human rights, peace and justice.
Our Prime Minister was right when she said ‘Climate change is our nuclear issue’. The global movement for Free Palestine is our key human rights, anti-Apartheid and peace issue. For, due largely to it’s location and history, until there is peace and justice in Palestine, there can be no peace in the Middle East. And until there is peace in the Middle East, there can be no peace in the world. It’s that important.
So what can we do? This is a multi-faceted, interconnected, interactive and broad people’s movement. The struggle for justice is indivisible. It is important to combine our talents, skills, networks and knowledge the best ways we can.
Building an effective global boycott movement, in response to the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Apartheid Israel, is of vital importance. Support boycott campaigns such as against PUMA, and for the Superfund to divest from Israel.
Support speaking tours and other events, petitions and protests. Support NZ participation in the next Freedom Flotilla to Gaza – currently postponed due to COVID. We already have an excellent boat ready to go.
Engage with social media – especially PSNA, Kia Ora Gaza and Palestinian websites and Facebook. Share posts. Do your own research and reading.
Listen and learn from Palestinian voices, especially those at the forefront of the struggle – our main focus.
Get involved and do whatever you can, where ever you are – but do it!