Resistance issue 129, Feb 2011

Full pdf and text of the Anarchist Federation's free paper.

Tunisians Tumble Tyrant

THE UNREST in Tunisia which toppled the government of Ben Ali has acted as a spark throughout the Arabic-speaking world, and is echoed in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. It was ironic to see both the British government and Col. Gadaffi uniting to condemn “violent protestors” in Tunisia.

The unrest was sparked by the suicide of a 26 year old university graduate on December 18, who doused himself with petrol and set himself alight in the city of Sidi Bouzid, later dying in hospital. His act highlighted the situation facing many young people in Tunisia. Unable to find work, he had sold vegetables on the street illegally. When these were confiscated by the police, this was the last straw.

Unemployment is as high as 25% in Tunisia, with high inflation in the cost of essential goods, and massive corruption in the government. There has been little visible sign of discontent up to now, with few demonstrations or strikes. A previous wave of strikes and demonstrations in Gafsa in the south west in 2008 was met with severe and brutal repression, with many murdered and imprisoned. The suicide ignited protests throughout Tunisia with riots in Sidi Bouzid itself and battles with the hated police. This was followed on 21 December by riots in Menzel Bouzaiene, in central Tunisia. At least one demonstrator was shot dead by the police and molotovs were thrown at cops using guns and teargas. Three days later demonstrators succeeded in burning down the offices of the ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally party and a national guard post in the town, as well as destroying three police cars and a railway locomotive. Two demonstrators died in the fighting. Protests then spread to the capital of Tunis on the following day. Demonstrations there increased in size and then faced a police attack, supervised by the Minister of the Interior in person. Demonstrations continued in Tunis despite this. On 28 December a demonstration organised by the trade unions in Gafsa was attacked by the cops, followed by police attacks in following days on demonstrations in Monastir, Sbikha and Chebba. On 31 December police fired on a demonstration, injuring many and killing one young man.

By 3 January demonstrations had spread to Tela, Sfax, and Om Laarais.

On the cyber front, hackers took down several government websites, apparently in response to repression of attempts to report on the strikes and demonstrations. Demonstrations now spread to Thala 250km west of Tunis with the police besieging four main colleges in the town on 4 January. The momentum increased in the student movement with an education strike in the port city of Sfax. Police repression increased with the use of rubber bullets and teargas. On 8 January the cops murdered six demonstrators in Tala, close by the Algerian border. More riots erupted in the Regueb, Thala and Kasserine areas, with police killing 35 people, followed by the murder of two more demonstrators in Miknassi on 9 January.

A general strike broke out in Sfax on 12 January with large demonstrations there. The government declared a state of emergency on 14 January and banned meetings of more than three. Tens of thousands now came out onto the streets in Tunis, and the regime began to panic. Ben Ali promised elections within three months, then lost his nerve completely and fled to Saudi Arabia whereupon his prime minister took over.

Rotherham Resistance Against Cuts to Youth Services and Education
WITH THE YOUNG facing some of the most damaging effects of the austerity measures, Connexions youth service opened new offices in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, last October to help people aged 13 to 19 find work or training. However, as part of the council’s service review, cuts to youth services are expected, with one in three personal advisers in Connexions facing the possibility of losing their jobs. Hundreds of signatures have already been collected on a petition against cutting funding for youth services.

On 6 January, after a protest organised by users of seven local youth clubs, two youth centres in Rotherham were occupied. Inspired by the student occupations, some 40 people aged between 11 and 15 occupied Dalton Youth Centre, whilst another group occupied the Bramley Youth Centre. During the three hours of sit-ins, students - who recently occupied Sheffield University against the rise in tuition fees and against all cuts to public services and welfare - visited to show their solidarity.

Local trade unionists are building a campaign, and the centres’ users are organising a Save Our Service group through Facebook and Twitter. Their demands are to keep the centres open and stop job cuts among youth service workers. Andrew, aged 19, said, “It's the bankers that messed up and our generation that gets the cuts. It's not fair. We need the service because a lot of young people would not have been able to go as far as they have in education without it.”

Meanwhile, teachers at a Rotherham secondary school saved three jobs after striking for three days in January. They pledged to continue their fight as a total of 30 jobs remain threatened with more strikes planned. Support for action grew as 12 members of the NASUWT union joined the NUT so they could take part in the strike.

Heinz Meanz No Beanz as Workers Strike Again
THE HEINZ factory in Kitt Green of Wigan is Europe’s biggest food manufacturing plant. Here, over 1,000 workers rejected an improved pay offer and struck for their fourth 24-hour period. The company has already increased its offer after the first three strikes over the Christmas holidays. Despite this, the workers are not willing to accept a cap on pay increases when the RPI (Retail Price Index) for next year is unknown. Heinz workers on the pickets welcomed others showing solidarity, including students from Manchester University.

Management have been using the ‘tough economic climate’ as an excuse to hold down the workers’ wages despite good performance; people “eat more beans on toast when faced with less money in their pockets”. In reality, Heinz has been trying to get more productivity out of the workers in recent years. But due to the militancy of the workers, conditions have been defended from attacks since the 1980s. This was the case in 2007 – a year in which the company made £135 million – when over 1,000 workers staged a 24-hour wildcat strike in protest over another unsatisfactory offer. On that occasion the workers walked out against the advice of the union official. It is this sort of militancy that is key in scaring the bosses into concessions.

Borrowed from a report by Alfred Stevens of Communist Students which can be read at Libcom.org.

Parents and Argyll Locals Beat Back School Closures
Parents and concerned locals in Argyll and Bute Council in western Scotland have forced the council to withdraw its proposals to close 26 of the council’s 74 primary schools. The council’s now infamous “dodgy dossier” of supporting evidence contained large amounts of misinformation, and parents and rural communities threatened with the loss of their children’s local school and meeting place responded angrily. Protests were organised at council offices in Lochgilphead and on the street in Oban. The Argyll Rural Schools Network was formed to oppose the cuts, and parents from different schools started protesting and debating together. When every resident on the small island of Luing signed a petition against the closure of its only school, they were taken off the list of closures. Importantly, though, communities didn’t close ranks and try to convince the council to close other schools. They presented a united front against the closures altogether and have forced the council to back down, at least for a while. The council is now planning on presenting a new proposal in March, so Argyll is not out of hot water yet, but we hope residents will be able to build on their success.

From an anarchist point of view, strong community support and unity in rural areas is encouraging. People are consistently exposing the fallacies in the council’s “we have no choice” rhetoric and refusing to surrender their public buildings. Where trade unions like the Educational Institute of Scotland are silent in the face of the teacher job losses that would inevitably result from such a massive plan of school closures, small communities are taking over the important work of fighting back. Cities don’t have a monopoly on resistance!

Jobcentre Staff Sign Off Work
THOUSANDS of workers at Jobcentre Plus in Newport, Bristol, Norwich, Sheffield, Chorlton, Makerfield and Glasgow took strike action in January. According to the PCS union, 85% of its members at the seven sites took action on the first day of the 48-hour stoppage. The Jobcentre workers have been forcibly transferred from benefit processing into contact centres and are angry that the high level of calls enforced by management means that the quality of service received by claimants is inadequate. PCS Department for Work and Pensions Group vice president, Katrine Williams, explains that “Customer service is constantly being quoted at us as the reason for the reorganisation but as experienced benefit processors we can clearly see ways that our jobs could be improved by being able to resolve more on the phone and straightaway with the public.“ Instead, more is done remotely rather than face-to-face, with calls being pushed on to workers in benefit processing. In turn, this means they are then prevented from dealing with the issues of the claimants, who now have to wait for hours for a call-back from the busy processing teams. If Jobcentre Plus workers spend too long on the phone and don’t conform to the rigidly tight call time targets, they can potentially be disciplined for inefficiency. Whilst 70% voted for strike action in November, negotiations were started up again over Christmas and New Year, but broke down when it became clear that management have respect for neither workers nor claimants.

As Jobcentre Plus workers are standing up against being constantly monitored every minute of the day, claimants are planning a national day of protest against benefits cuts. The focus of the protests will be Atos Origin, the company responsible for the punitive medical testing of disability and sickness benefits. Atos Origin have just been awarded a £300 million contract by the Con-Dem Government to continue carrying out 'work capability assessments'. It is claimed assessments are to test what people can do rather than what they can’t. However, this testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut. Protests across the country are already confirmed and it is clear that both workers and claimants are not willing to accept the proposed ‘restructuring’ (i.e. cuts) of our public services.

Crackdown on West Oxfordshire Youth Crime
WEST Oxfordshire’s most senior police officer has warned youth centre cuts will see more youngsters getting into “mischief”. This follows the questioning of supposed protest ringleader and self-described “maths geek”, Nicky Wishart. Oxfordshire County Council are proposing cuts that include the closures of 21 youth centres, including Bampton, Burford, Carterton, Chipping Norton, Eynsham and Standlake. Not everybody seems to agree with the possible closures; Adrian Coomber, deputy mayor of Carterton, warned youths will be “at risk of getting into trouble” once these centres are gone. But according to the council, children must come to realise the apparent ‘sacrifices’ we all must make to clear the deficit.

Fearful of a planned protest against the closure of Eynsham Youth Centre, Thames Valley Police swiftly moved to question 12 year old Nicky Wishart. Wishart was picked up for questioning at Bartholomew School over his plans for an organised protest outside David Cameron’s constituency office. Wishart and his 14 year old friend were caught by the assiduous work of anti-terrorist police who saw details of the protest on Facebook. Police now claim they are sorry for interrogating the schoolboy. Chief inspector Jack Malhi, Thames Valley police's local area commander for West Oxfordshire, said: "With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been far more appropriate to have made the inquiries from Nicky in the presence of his mother."

Branding him the ‘organiser’ of the event, police threatened Wishart with arrest should anything happen. But the protest went ahead regardless, with 130 angry youths taking part. Our friends in the Solidarity Federation joined a subsequent march in Witney, Oxfordshire, constituency of Prime Minister David Cameron. The march, against postal privatisation and austerity cuts, was organised by the CWU (Communication Worker's Union). Reports indicate that somewhere between 500 and 1000 people took part in the demonstration. After the “decidedly cool reception” given to a leading Labour Party member, 12 year old Nicky Wishart spoke “with more passion than the rest of the speakers combined” about his experience in the struggle against the cuts.

Trade Unions Fight to Lose
AS THE GOVERNMENT really begins to force through its cuts to public services, workers are facing an onslaught on their pay and terms and conditions. In education the proposed plan is to increase teachers’ pension contributions by 50% over the next few years, taking average monthly contributions to over £100 a month. This comes on top of the pay freeze and a recalculation of how workers’ pensions are calculated which means less pension for many.

In the NHS workers are also facing a freeze in their pay over two years. While annual pay increases have been stopped, prices rise apace. NHS workers also face the prospect of losing the annual pay increments they are entitled to each year until they reach the top of their pay scales. Unions had been told that if they agreed to member’s losing their increments there would be no compulsory redundancies – despite the fact that we have been told that the NHS and front line services will be protected! In reality thousands of health workers including clerical staff, nurses and physiotherapists are already facing losing their jobs with an inevitable impact on patient care. Over 600 jobs are going, for example, at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

While all the major trade unions including Unison rejected the deal, this was only in the face of member opposition and there are worrying signs that they may backslide. Unison senior national officer Mike Jackson said: “Members don’t wish to give up pay progression particularly when what’s on the table wouldn’t guarantee [there would be] no compulsory redundancies and doesn’t include all staff.” However he added: “If there are any other proposals that might achieve a situation where they were able to provide guarantees we’d be interested to look at that.” Unison members are concerned that the union is willing to accept job losses. Back in education union members are wondering why the NUT and other education unions aren’t planning for industrial action to defend terms and conditions despite a commitment before Christmas that they would.

Faced with the largest attack on public services ever, the trade unions’ response has been pathetic. Rather than take the fight to the government the union movement is putting all its efforts into the 26 March rally in London. While we are not against marches they will not be enough to stop this government.

Auntie’s Arabic Service Closed Down
Journalists at the BBC Arabic Service went out on a 48-hour strike on 18 January. More than 160 joined a picket line, and even a correspondent sent to Tunisia backed the strike. All live news was closed down with the BBC having to rely on repeats and prerecorded programmes. There was a five day work-to-rule leading up to the strike, triggered by rota changes as the BBC moves forward with an attempt to cut costs.

MORE NEWS FROM OVERSEAS

Morocco
In late December a group of several hundred unemployed people, mostly teachers, from the ANDCM (National Association of Unemployed Graduates in Morocco) held a protest in front of the Moroccan parliament in Rabat and were joined by a group of current students. The demo was dispersed by rioting police several times, but protestors came back with street blockades. Police attacked the peaceful protestors, beating them brutally before the action was cut short by thunderstorms. The unemployed have been protesting for the creation of more jobs in the public sector, in this case for teachers in particular.

Jordan
In scenes never before seen in Jordan, thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, Amman, and several other cities in January to protest against rising food prices and unemployment. In addition they sharply attacked the government of Samir Rifai, chanting "Down with Rifai's government – unify yourselves because the government wants to eat your flesh. They raise fuel prices to fill their pockets with millions”. Other demonstrations took place in Maan, Karak, Slat and Irbid with around 8,000 people attending the marches . The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood were noticeable in their absence but workers in Jordan should be on the alert that this group does not attempt to horn in on this new movement. King Abdullah II and Rifai are terrified that they are facing another Tunisia.

Libya
Libya, tightly governed by Colonel Gaddafi, also experienced unrest as protests broke out on on 14 January over housing issues in various cities and continued for several days. On 15 January hundreds staged a mass squat of 800 vacant lots in Bani Walid in protest against the chronic lack of housing. Six hundred are reported to have occupied a residential development in Benghazi. Videos posted on Youtube showed demonstrations in Bidaa, Darna and Sabhaa. The police appeared to be attempting to prevent the situation escalating along lines similar to Tunisia by avoiding violent repression.

Algeria
Algeria faces the same problems as Tunisia with hikes of 20-30% in essential products and 20% unemployment, as well as lack of housing. Demonstrations began in Algiers on 29 December, with police attacking the marchers and arresting 29. Burning barricades were set up and molotovs were thrown at the cops. More protests followed in Tipaza on 3 January, continuing on 5 January by the setting up of barricades in the Bab el Oued district of Algiers and road blocks and burning barricades in Oran. Two nights of rioting followed on 6 and 7 January. On the 7th there was rioting in Annaba and battles with the police. Attempts by local imams to restore order were ignored. On the following day, police killed two but unrest seems to be ongoing.

Anti-cuts protest in Haringey
A thousand people attended a march against cuts in Haringey on 18 January, including teachers and council workers. The council plans on implementing £87 million of cuts that will lead to over 1,000 job losses. At least one primary school was shut down as staff there went on to attend the march. There was also a large group of maintenance workers employed by the “arms length” company Homes for Haringey.

Unfortunately, the Labour Party got its grip on the march with Clare Kober, Labour leader of the council, addressing the crowd and defending Labour’s part in implementing cuts. She was heckled by a large number of attendees, but workers who wanted to speak out about the cuts they face were stopped from addressing the demonstration. Labour councillors will now attempt to implement the cuts. As one activist in the Alliance for Public services noted, they will be providing a “human shield” for the government.

Elsewhere in the same week 500 marched in Portsmouth against proposed cuts whilst 250 lobbied the council in Stockport.

Victory for community group in Leeds
A community group in Leeds has won the right to turn a closed school into a new community centre, the consequence of years of organising which culminated in a two-week occupation organised by the group in November 2009.

The Royal Park Community Consortium (RPCC) has been pressuring the council to allow the community to take over and run the former site of the Royal Park School ever since it was closed in 2004, and had been promised that the building would be retained for community use. During this period however the council left the building to fall into decay, and entertained an offer to sell off the land to a private company planning to turn the former school into flats for the elderly, despite being located opposite a busy student pub. This offer eventually fell through.

Unhappy with the way the council was consistently ignoring the needs of the people who lived in the area and allowing the building to become so badly damaged it required demolition, the RPCC and other members of the community organised an occupation of the building using squatters law, reclaiming it for people to organise community events in the grounds and the main building, as well as allowing much-needed work to be carried out to make the building safe and prevent further structural damage. During the occupation broken windows were made safe, debris was cleared, repairs were made to the roof, the school yard was tidied and the electricity supply was restored, and jumble sales, film showings and open-mic nights were organised.

Despite years of procrastination by the council in the years leading up to the occupation, the council bosses’ reaction to the occupation was to swiftly take the occupiers to court in an effort to clear the building, so that it might stand empty once again. In spite of the large group who turned up in support of the occupiers, the courts found in the council’s favour and on 23 November 2009 ordered the squatting community members out, fining them £3,000 to cover the costs of the council.

However, as a result of the occupation of the school and the support it had both in the local area and around Leeds, the RPCC grew from a handful of members to a group of 300. While previous offers from the group to take over and run the site had been ignored by the council, in the aftermath of the occupation the council finally gave in, and granted the community group the leasehold on 5 January 2011, agreeing that as a result of the occupation the group had come on “light years”, but bitterly refusing to drop the earlier fine for legal costs.

The RPCC now faces the task of raising the money required to make the building safe, and to get the rooms in a state where they will be able to be rented out for community use. Donations can be made at http://www.royalparkschool.org/

(Snow)balls to the Police
Three people are facing police assault charges in Edinburgh for throwing snowballs during a student protest against tuition fees. The demo had held a "teach-in" outside LibDem offices at Haymarket and was notably less rowdy than events in London. But Lothian & Borders police spent cold Christmas nights studying video footage to pick out some students to teach them a lesson. Several were approached and reported to St Leonards Police Station at the start of the year, to avoid being picked up at a less convenient time. After ‘snow comment’ interviews two people were charged with using, in the words of the indictment, "snow compacted into ice" (that's a snowball to you and me) to assault police. Since then another person has been charged with the same offense and many eyebrows have been raised. Why are the police bothering with a lengthy investigation into such a trivial matter? How will they produce the evidence in court? In a freezer bag?

This case is amusing but the intention is clearly to chill any student campaigns and freeze them into inaction. Leaving people to fight police charges alone, no matter how trivial, could cause cracks in the intended solidarity. Is it time for better co-ordination of legal defence between the various student and anti-cuts campaigns?

Sabotage at Work
Apparantly the term sabotage derives from when French factory workers would throw their wooden shoes ("sabots") into machinery to stop production.

Both individuals and organised groups of workers such as the Luddites and Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) have used the tactic of sabotage as direct action against working conditions. Anarchists see sabotage as one of the forms of working class resistance that are not controlled by trade unions.

This month in Resistance we print a brief account of sabotage in an American saw mill by Crawdad:
“The Fort Bragg Redwood sawmill is owned by Georgia-Pacific, a large company with interests in building materials and chemicals. Workers used to call bomb threats into the company. They waited until 1:00 pm on Fridays, in spring, when it was balmy and glorious. They would call the dispatcher, the same person they called in sick to, and say "I put four charges of plastique in the powerhouse. It goes off at 4:00. Nobody works today!" and hang up. Then they'd get a cold-pack and a gram of hash and drive out to the river.

Another tactic is to drop metal and glass into the Hog, a machine which chops wood trimmings and waste into Hog fuel, or chips and dust to be burned for power generation. A metal detector and a full-time worker guard the Hog against such foreign objects, although the odd aluminum soda can will get by, and everyone then enjoys a half-day or so of relaxation while millwrights attend to the damaged blades. The mill loses between $100 and $200 per minute while the Hog is broken. Equipment breakdowns are fairly common events, and I always enjoyed them to the fullest while bosses got all red-faced.”

Thanks to libcom.org and Prole.info for the extracts from “Sabotage in the American Workplace” by Martin Sprouse.

Please send your own experiences of sabotage at work into Resistance: surreyhants[at]afed.org.uk
Events

International Conference on Women’s Rights, Sharia Law and Secularism, 12 March 2011, 10.00-19.00 hours, University of London Union, The Venue, Malet Street, London WC1E (Russell Square)

The one day conference to mark International Women’s Day will discuss the adverse impact of religious laws on the status of women.

Speakers include: Mina Ahadi (International Committee against Stoning), Karima Bennoune (Law Professor), Helle Merete Brix (Journalist), Nadia Geerts (Writer), Hammeda Hossain (South Asians for Human Rights), Monica Lanfranco (Journalist), Anne-marie Lizin (Honorary Speaker of Belgian Senate), Maryam Namazie (One Law for All and Iran Solidarity), Taslima Nasreen (Writer), Yasmin Rehman (Women’s Rights Activist), Nina Sankari (European Feminist Initiative Poland), Sohaila Sharifi (Equal Rights Now), Bahram Soroush (Civil Rights Activist), Daniel Salvatore Schiffer (Philosopher), Annie Sugier (la ligue du Droit International des Femmes), Anne Marie Waters (One Law for All), Linda Weil-Curiel (Lawyer), and Stasa Zajovic (Belgrade Women in Black).

Entry fee: £10 individuals; £3 unwaged and students. For booking form and speaker bios visit http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/12-march-2010-international-conference-on-women%e2%80%99s-rights-sharia-law-and-secularism-london/. The event is sponsored by the International Committee against Stoning, Iran Solidarity, Equal Rights Now and One Law for All.

Event against Stoning, 9 July 2011, 14.00-17.30 hours, University of London Union, The Venue, Malet Street, London WC1E (Russell Square)

The Event against Stoning marks International Day against Stoning and will include a film screening of The Stoning of Soraya M followed by a panel discussion including with film director Cyrus Nowrasteh and campaigners Mina Ahadi and Maryam Namazie. The event will be dedicated to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.

Entry fee: £10 individuals; £3 unwaged and students. For more information visit:

http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/9-july-2011-event-against-stoning-london/. The event is sponsored by the International Committee against Stoning, Iran Solidarity, Equal Rights Now and One Law for All.
Save your place now!

To register for the above events, send a completed booking form along with a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal at:

http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/donate/. Donations are also welcome.

Gaza Youth Revolt
A group of young people in Gaza, sickened by both Israeli oppression and the grip of Hamas have issued the following manifesto:

Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16’s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in; we are like lice between two nails living a nightmare inside a nightmare, no room for hope, no space for freedom. We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, homemade fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.

There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalizing this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope. The final drop that made our hearts tremble with frustration and hopelessness happened 30rd November, when Hamas’ officers came to Sharek Youth Forum, a leading youth organization (www.sharek.ps) with their guns, lies and aggressiveness, throwing everybody outside, incarcerating some and prohibiting Sharek from working. A few days later, demonstrators in front of Sharek were beaten and some incarcerated. We are really living a nightmare inside a nightmare. It is difficult to find words for the pressure we are under. We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. They did not get rid of Hamas, as they intended, but they sure scared us forever and distributed post traumatic stress syndrome to everybody, as there was nowhere to run.

We are youth with heavy hearts. We carry in ourselves a heaviness so immense that it makes it difficult to us to enjoy the sunset. How to enjoy it when dark clouds paint the horizon and bleak memories run past our eyes every time we close them? We smile in order to hide the pain. We laugh in order to forget the war. We hope in order not to commit suicide here and now. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the earth. During the last years Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. We are a generation of young people used to face missiles, carrying what seems to be a impossible mission of living a normal and healthy life, and only barely tolerated by a massive organization that has spread in our society as a malicious cancer disease, causing mayhem and effectively killing all living cells, thoughts and dreams on its way as well as paralyzing people with its terror regime. Not to mention the prison we live in, a prison sustained by a so-called democratic country.

History is repeating itself in its most cruel way and nobody seems to care. We are scared. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We are afraid of living, because every single step we take has to be considered and well-thought, there are limitations everywhere, we cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want, sometimes we even cant think what we want because the occupation has occupied our brains and hearts so terrible that it hurts and it makes us want to shed endless tears of frustration and rage!

We do not want to hate, we do not want to feel all of this feelings, we do not want to be victims anymore. ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want!

We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask? We are a peace movement consistent of young people in Gaza and supporters elsewhere that will not rest until the truth about Gaza is known by everybody in this whole world and in such a degree that no more silent consent or loud indifference will be accepted.

This is the Gazan youth’s manifesto for change!

We will start by destroying the occupation that surrounds ourselves, we will break free from this mental incarceration and regain our dignity and self respect. We will carry our heads high even though we will face resistance. We will work day and night in order to change these miserable conditions we are living under. We will build dreams where we meet walls.
We only hope that you – yes, you reading this statement right now! – can support us. In order to find out how, please write on our wall or contact us directly: freegazayouth[at]hotmail.com
We want to be free, we want to live, we want peace.
FREE GAZA YOUTH!

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