Gaza? Birthday? What are you talking about Nora?

Update! $260 raised so far for The Gaza Fund at Dalia Association!

Thanks and hugs to Carolyn Quffa, Mary Onorato, Vicki Tamoush, and Pauline Solomon.

Time seems to accelerate as I approach my fiftieth birthday, intensifying my gratitude for a life with purpose but also highlighting all that is still undone in this sick, beautiful world. There is no shortage of causes to work for, but one that has stolen my heart is Gaza.

Over one-and-one-half million human beings are locked in the Gaza Strip, a majority of whom are children and youth. Like many other Palestinians, they are denied the right to earn a living, denied the right to enjoy their own water and other natural resources, denied the right to move around for educational or recreational opportunities, and denied the right to compete fairly with others to achieve their dreams.

For this reason, I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday on May 5, 2014 by asking friends, family, and folks of conscience “out there in the world” to help me make a small dent in the inhuman and wasteful siege on Gaza. More specifically, I am asking you to do three things:

1-Make a contribution of any size into a “Gaza Fund” that I am opening at Dalia Association, Palestine’s community foundation. (Even better if you make your contribution monthly, quarterly or annually.) Be sure to write “Earmarked for Gaza” at the top of the credit card form.

But because we know that money alone doesn’t solve anything, I ask that you ALSO…

2-Take at least one political action to help lift the siege on Gaza. I suggest a letter or email to a political representative asking him or her to bring the urgency of the siege into the governmental debate.

And because we know that one-time political actions aren’t enough and we really need a sustained effort, I ask that you ALSO…

3-Join an organization or sign up for a newsletter so that you will stay informed about developments relating to Gaza and Palestine in the long term, not just when there’s bad news that reaches the front pages.

I’m asking for a lot, but because I believe that birthdays (and everyday in between) are a time for giving, not just receiving, I want to give you a gift, too. I will release a short, video-taped interview with a person from Gaza every day in the weeks leading up to my birthday. You will enjoy hearing directly from Gazans about the issues they care about, about their daily lives, and about what they wish the world would understand.

Please give your own suggestions about political actions to take and organizations to join in the comments section.

Please sign up for my newsletter to be informed about new videos and other articles I write related to Gaza, Palestine, international aid, development, philanthropy, and occupation.

Please spread the word about my birthday campaign to your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, and other networks.

Please check out Dalia Association and sign up for their newsletter to be kept informed about Palestinian-led development and the opening of the new Gaza Fund.

And please have a really happy 2014.

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How do women dress in Gaza?

4:26 minutes of Naja answer a question that’s on many people’s minds: How do women dress in Gaza? AND, if you have questions, she’s happy to answer them! Simply leave a comment.

Najla is from Gaza, she works for a humanitarian organisation there. She can be followed on twitter at @whateveringaza.

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Senseless death in Gaza

Ghada Ageel talks for 2 minutes about senseless death. But really, we could talk about this for days and not come close to finishing.

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. She holds a PhD and MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter (Britain) and a BA in Education from the Islamic University/Gaza. Her PhD dissertation examined the historic and contemporary role of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) in relation to the question of a durable solution for Palestinian refugees.

Dr. Ageel is the recipient of several awards and scholarships including The Phillips Grant (UK, 2013), The Jerusalem Studies’ Scholarship of the University of Exeter (2002 and 1999), the Higher Education Award of the Ministry of Education (Palestine, 1996) and the Hebrew Language and Literature Scholarship (Gaza, 1993).
Her research interests focus on rights-based approaches to forced migration, Palestinian refugees in comparative perspective, oral history, women’s studies, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the permanent status issues involved in the Middle East peace process. Dr. Ageel’s work has been widely published in several newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Hill, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Journal for Palestine Studies, Palestine Chronicle, MATAN Magazine (Hebrew), Occupation Magazine and many Arabic newspapers throughout the Middle East.

In addition to her book with Dr. Ibrahim Abu Jaber, Wisam Afifi, Maisam Eid, et all “Jurh Al-Nakba: Part 1″ The Wound of Nakba, Part 1, Um Al-Fahem, Centre of Contemporary Studies, 2003; Dr. Ageel is currently working on a book project: The Palestinian Nakba and Israeli Apartheid : The Law and The Experience. She is also active in Faculty4Palestine—Alberta.

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Early marriage in Gaza

5:15 minutes about an important problem that is not well known and Gazans’ efforts to address it.

Amal W. Sabawi has more than 15 years of development experience with International Organizations. Sabawi is currently the Director of Palestine Youth Program in Gaza, which is supported by American Friends Service Committee AFSC based in US. She has an MA in Public Health, with a concentration on health management from Al Quds University in Abu Dies and a postgraduate certificate in Conflict Resolution Skills from Coventry University in UK.

Sabawi’s areas of interest include youth civic engagement, community development, conflict transformation and nonviolence and humanitarian work. Before working with AFSC, Sabawi worked for different organizations including Save the Children US, UNDP, and UNRWA.

Sabawi is also a renowned trainer in conflict transformation, youth civic engagement, advocacy and community mobilization and community participation. She also participated in a number of researches and assessments on youth needs, women needs and health education programs.

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More about electricity in Gaza

Yes, Najla has more important stuff to say about this topic — electricity — which so many of us take for granted. (7:40)

Najla is from Gaza, she works for a humanitarian organisation there. She can be followed on twitter at @whateveringaza.

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Being Gazan in Canada with Ghada Ageel

2:39
(I posted two gifts today, in celebration of Easter)

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. She holds a PhD and MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter (Britain) and a BA in Education from the Islamic University/Gaza. Her PhD dissertation examined the historic and contemporary role of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) in relation to the question of a durable solution for Palestinian refugees.

Dr. Ageel is the recipient of several awards and scholarships including The Phillips Grant (UK, 2013), The Jerusalem Studies’ Scholarship of the University of Exeter (2002 and 1999), the Higher Education Award of the Ministry of Education (Palestine, 1996) and the Hebrew Language and Literature Scholarship (Gaza, 1993).
Her research interests focus on rights-based approaches to forced migration, Palestinian refugees in comparative perspective, oral history, women’s studies, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the permanent status issues involved in the Middle East peace process. Dr. Ageel’s work has been widely published in several newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Hill, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Journal for Palestine Studies, Palestine Chronicle, MATAN Magazine (Hebrew), Occupation Magazine and many Arabic newspapers throughout the Middle East.

In addition to her book with Dr. Ibrahim Abu Jaber, Wisam Afifi, Maisam Eid, et all “Jurh Al-Nakba: Part 1″ The Wound of Nakba, Part 1, Um Al-Fahem, Centre of Contemporary Studies, 2003; Dr. Ageel is currently working on a book project: The Palestinian Nakba and Israeli Apartheid : The Law and The Experience. She is also active in Faculty4Palestine—Alberta.

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