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“All we want is our dignity, and to stop being treated like animals in a cage.” This sentiment was heard across six Canadian time zones and a dozen venues from Newfoundland to B.C. by participants in our live videoconference – ‘Gaza Calls: Canada Answers’ (watch the recording online!). Along with it came a profound message of hope, dignity, and steadfastness in the face of appalling conditions, delivered by Gazan and Palestinian voices on the ground. The videoconference was an act of solidarity that overcame the challenges of bringing Gazan residents to Canada, due to the illegal Israeli occupation with its decade long siege.
We began answering the call from Gaza at the event itself, as local organizers and participants raised thousands for medical relief in the region. You can add to this relief by giving online now, or by sending a cheque to NECEF Sabeel Canada (address below). Simply select the ‘Gaza Medical Relief’ option.
The Gaza videoconference was an initiative of the Canadian Churches and CRO’s Forum on the Middle East, which CFOS convenes twice a year. Earlier in the year, the Forum brought Ms. Nora Carmi from Palestine and Algonquin Elder Barbara Hill to speak at the World Social Forum (WSF) in Montreal, where thousands had gathered from around the globe.
Many were struck by Nora’s message of liberation and hope built around the concept of Jubilee taken from the Hebrew Scriptures: “And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a Jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family” (Leviticus 25:10). Sabeel then proclaimed 2017 a Jubilee year, the centenary of the infamous Balfour declaration, and the 50th year of the evil occupation – so named theologically in the Kairos Palestine Document.
I invite you to make your participation in the Jubilee tangible: attend the Sabeel International Conference focused on these dubious anniversaries, to be held in March in Palestine, and even join a CFOS Board Member’s pre conference exposure trip. We feel it is important to put together a strong Canadian contingent for this conference, both as an expression of solidarity and to develop more leadership in CFOS to strengthen our role as a positive actor towards a just peace in Palestine.
If you can’t go, please support two indigenous leaders from here to attend and be speakers. Both illuminated the WSF with their presentations, and can help us connect Palestinian and aboriginal issues in Canada. Simply click here to give online, or send your cheques to 7565 Newman Blvd. P.O. Box 3067, Montreal, QC H8N 3H2.
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