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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gaza: A few things you CAN do...

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Despite the fact that Walski absolutely does not support any ill-advised and emotionally-reckless boycott (see here and here), which apart from feeding certain people and organization's egos, will do more harm to Malaysia (and Malaysians) than will help the Palestinians, there are actually a few constructive things that we can do to lend some help to the war-stricken people of the Gaza Strip.

And no, volunteering for jihadi suicide missions is not one of them.

Image hosting by PhotobucketMalaysia is truly blessed to have a daring and caring organization like Mercy Malaysia, a volunteer non-profit organization that does aid and relief work worldwide. And Walski is equally humbled that he has, in the past, been privileged enough to have met the founder and president of this wonderful organization, Dr Jemilah Mahmood, who is currently in Rafah (on the Egyptian side, Walski hopes), personally lending her support, as much as she can, for the victims of the disproportionate Israeli action against Hamas.

The following comes from Mercy's website: 

Like any other 14 year old teenager, Shoroukh has dreams and aspirations. She enjoys school, is naturally gregarious and has many friends. One day, she hopes to go to University, succeed and go on to teach other students. It is her love for school and her friends that led her to make her journey there on the fateful day of the beginning of the Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Her school was damaged and debris falling on her also resulted in multiple fractures in her right leg.

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She considers herself lucky. Her father had decided to take her out across the border for medical treatment. Little did they realize that when they left, their house along with many others in Brej Camp in Gaza would also be damaged and fall to the ground, burying her younger sister Nadine, 7.

Nadine barely survived and lies unconscious in Al Shifa hospital in Gaza with head injuries. Her mother and other four siblings are sleeping on the street.

“It is cold out there and I miss my mother and siblings,” cries Shoroukh.

“I wish it was me and not Nadine who is so badly injured. She is such a young girl and should not suffer like this. I miss her and I want to go home,” she adds.

But where is home now for Shoroukh and her family? Where will she stay when she returns to Gaza? What of the plight of the 2200 injured and still in Gaza? And who will shelter those who have lost their homes?

Palestinians are people too
(Source: Mercy Malaysia - Stories from Gaza)

(give Mercy Malaysia your support, and more,  in the full post)

What Mercy Malaysia needs now is financial support, to which you can help out by contributing to their Palestine Relief Fund. At least, by contributing directly to Mercy, you know that the contributions will go to real aid, and not for the procurement of weapons or other non-humanitarian needs. This is one organization Walski trusts, and feels that if you can, do contribute.

Image hosting by PhotobucketAnother thing you can do is sign a petition, put together by, a coalition of concerned world citizens. Walski got the tip-off from Marina M. via e-mail yesterday, and is passing the information on to you folks. Walski's signed the petition, which currently stands at over 370,000 signatures. They managed to get 250,000 signatures from around the world in 5 days, and are now targeting half a million. The petition will be handed to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League, and of course, the United States of America.

You may not think much of petitions, or their effectiveness, but sometimes when a petition reflects negative world opinion, the possibility that something positive happens is always there. The poster below gives you a better idea, perhaps, of where they stand.

Image hosting by Photobucket(click here to view a larger, more legible image)

It's not about calling for anyone's destruction or the dismantling of any state. What the Hezbollah are currently doing (shooting rockets across the northern Israel border) is not going to bring the region any closer to an acceptable resolution. What it will do is attract more violence.

A couple of simple and doable things for you to consider. More importantly, what you do, as an individual, will not jeopardize the jobs of other Malaysians, nor will it potentially isolate Malaysia economically.

Think about it.

Incidentally, if an article like this one can appear in a mainstream magazine like Newsweek in the US, "hope" is not just a four letter word...