Gaza? Birthday? What are you talking about Nora?

Update! $1,580 raised so far for The Gaza Fund at Dalia Association!

Thanks and hugs to Marga Kapka, Dorothy Bennoune, Pat Walsh, Anonymous, Carolyn Quffa, Mary Onorato, Vicki Tamoush, and Pauline Solomon. With my sincere appreciation, I matched your contributions.

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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7 thoughts on “Gaza? Birthday? What are you talking about Nora?

  1. Here are some useful resources for learning more and taking action:

    Diakonia, a Swedish, faith-based NGO writes about Gaza and international humanitarian law at http://www.diakonia.se/en/IHL/Occupied-Palestinian-Territory/Administration-of-Occupation/Gaza-Blockade-Land–Sea/

    BBC background about life in the Gaza Strip at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-20415675

    Video interview (30 min) with Canadian activist Eva Bartlett about psychological warfare on Gaza at http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/video-constant-drones-over-gaza-psychological-warfare?

  2. Happy birthday Nora (and as I start thinking about my 50th, this is inspiring me to do something similar!)

    One of the things we have been doing in Britain is linking students over here up with students in Gaza – to give them a better idea of what it means to live under siege; to encourage them to take action to end the blockade; and to show solidarity to students in Gaza http://chat2gaza.com/

    I really agree with your point about not letting our political representatives ‘off the hook’. Encouraging people to keep emailing and communicating with those who are meant to represent us has a real impact. For anyone who is in Europe, we have the European elections in May, and it would be great if you could join us in calling on candidates standing in the election to pledge to end the blockade, and end Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights http://www.palestinecampaign.org/eubriefing/

    • Nora Lester Murad says:

      Thank you, Sarah, for pointing out the important work of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Yours is one of the few organizations working on the occupation in general, and specifically on the siege on Gaza. Can others “out there” please link us to organizations, campaigns and initiatives so that we can express our demands to our political representatives?

  3. Good initiative!

    Here’s my eye witness “report” to share, especially to people who don’t really know what’s going on in territories occupied by Israel. http://bit.ly/notcomplicated

    But even more important: SIGN & SHARE this Stop Israeli Apartheid petition: http://bit.ly/israeliapartheid

    World leaders, governments, EU & US have failed, WE, THE PEOPLE won’t! Please SIGN & SHARE the petition mentioned. We can activate the POWER OF THE PEOPLE if we can unite worlwide.

    • Nora Lester Murad says:

      These individual initiatives are excellent (thanks for sharing Kjerstin!), and we also need to work collectively to keep a sustained pressure. Please, post your suggestions for campaigns we can join, organizations we can support, etc. that will sustain efforts to end the siege on Gaza, end the occupation, and find a just peace for the region.

  4. Carolyn Quffa says:

    Happy BD and thank you for this gift. I hope the siege will end. Thank you for starting a first step idea to begin its easing.

    • Nora Lester Murad says:

      Thanks for your good wishes, Carolyn, and I hope you like the videos I’ve made. I’ll start sharing them today!

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