“Land Day” – Canada Park – not in my name…

“What message are Canadians giving when our nation’s name is linked to the expulsion of a people from their land and paid for with Canadian tax-deductible dollars that has been used – in contravention of international law – to effectively annex a section of the West Bank to Israel? …

As we Canadians prepare for our annual spring ritual of filing our taxes, it is time to renounce our namesake park.” -Corey Levine (31 March 2011) (For the full article, click here.)

"Canada Park" - On the road to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv - 26 Jan. 2011 - Photo: Sherry Ann

“As spring sets in early, Israelis have been pouring into one of the country’s most popular leisure spots. Visitors to Canada Park, a few kilometers northwest of Jerusalem, enjoy its spectacular panoramas, woodland paths, mountain-bike trails, caves and idyllic picnic areas.

A series of signs describe the historical significance of the landscape, as well as that of a handful of ancient buildings, in terms of their Biblical, Roman, Hellenic and Ottoman pasts. Few, if any, visitors take notice of the stone blocks that litter sections of the park.

But Eitan Bronstein, director of Zochrot (Remembering), is committed to educating Israelis and foreign visitors about the park’s hidden past — its Palestinian history.

“In fact, though you would never realize it, none of this park is even in Israel,” he told a group of 40 Italians on a guided tour this past weekend. “This is part of the West Bank captured by Israel during the 1967 war. But the presence of Palestinians here — and their expulsion — is entirely missing from the signs.” ” – Jonathan Cook (2009) (For the full article, click here.)            ~~~~~~~~~~

“As North Americans, we support the “Global March to Jerusalem” (click here and here) on March 30, 2012. The March is initiated and will be directed by Palestinians from around the world. The Global March to Jerusalem will reassert and affirm the Palestinian refugees’ Right of Return and right of access to Jerusalem.

The organizers, endorsers and participants have committed themselves to a nonviolent march and have no intention to harm any person. We encourage other individuals and organizations that are committed to human rights and justice to support the Global March to Jerusalem: participate as marchers; volunteer services to the project; take legal, official and diplomatic intervention on behalf of the refugees; and, offer financial support.” (See more here.)           ~~~~~~~~~~

“Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon
them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and
redouble their efforts for emancipation.

By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have
commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental
celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces
gunned down six Palestinians, as they protested Israeli expropriation of
Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.

The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territories,
but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people,
or 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state
that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.” (For the full article, click here.)          ~~~~~~~~~

See an article from The Globe and Mail (30 March 2012) (click here) and follow that article to the Comments section (here).          ~~~~~~~~~

As a Canadian, I am embarrassed that a place (that is part of the story of the expulsion of Palestinians) in the occupied West Bank would be named Canada Park. I am moved to think about Canada’s own colonial history. I choose to listen and learn and join the global movement for justice for all…  As one step into this journey, I will be listening to the four-part video at this site – click here. Another step is to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – click here.

“Palestinian Christians…the Palestinian embroidery…” Jean Zaru

Plain and simple. Christians are indigenous to Palestine yet they’re leaving due to economic and political instability and the loss of freedom of movement as a result of the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestine. Not due to Palestinian Muslims. Yet, so many news headlines in the past week suggest that Muslims are to blame for so much…and that promotes Islamophobia. See Amira Hass’ article. Also, see today’s article by Karen Armstrong in The Globe and Mail.

“Palestinian Christians are referred to as the Palestinian embroidery – an interwoven and an integral part of the whole population.” –Jean Zaru

Jean Zaru is the Presiding Clerk of the Friends Meeting House in Ramallah and a founding member of Sabeel, the ecumenical Palestine Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. I highly recommend her book: Zaru, Jean. (2008). Occupied with nonviolence: A Palestinian woman speaks. Foreword by Rosemary Radford Ruether. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. Click here for info.

I also invite you to learn more about Palestinian Christians in the recent publication from EAPPI. Click here and then click on the hyperlinked title, “Faith Under Occupation” (the second listing of the title).      **See page 46 for the section that I wrote with my EAPPI team-mate. We had the opportunity to ask a number of Palestinian Christians for their perspectives.

For interest, why not check out the Charter for Compassion (click here), a civil-society movement facilitated by Karen Armstrong. By visiting the Charter’s website, I found the link to the above-mentioned Globe and Mail article by Karen Armstrong.

Plain and simple. We, as Canadians, have an opportunity to live up to our obligations to uphold respect for international human rights and humanitarian law (See Federal Election Kit, 2011, The United Church of Canada, p. 20).  Let’s be compassionate…Canada.

"Canada" - a cushion for kneeling in prayer - St. George's Cathedral, occupied East Jerusalem - 23 Jan. 2011 - Photo: Sherry Ann
























“The Cathedral is home today to two congregations: the indigenous Palestinian Anglicans, often called the ‘Living Stones,’ and a community of expatriate English speaking members.

The local Arabic speaking Anglicans are part of the historic Christian presence here since the time of the first Pentecost:

‘Cretans and Arabs – in our own language we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power’Acts 2:11

The Cathedral remains a focal point for theProvinceofJerusalemand theMiddle Eastand the Worldwide Anglican Communion.” (Click here for more info.)

World Water Day – 22 March 2012 – Water is a human right.

Are you thirsty? What would you suggest for equitable water distribution for all of the world, natural and human…

Here is a June 2011 excerpt from The Council of Canadians’ website:  “All governments are now bound by these historic UN resolutions. Whether or not they voted for the two resolutions, every member nation of the UN is now obligated to accept and recognize the human right to water and sanitation and come up with a plan of action based on the obligation to respect, the obligation to protect and the obligation to fulfil these new rights,” says Barlow.

“Even though the Harper government shockingly did not vote for the right to water and sanitation, it is bound now by this obligation. We are calling on the government to recognize these new rights and let Canadians know when it will be tabling its plan of action with the UN.”

Across Canada, all peoples have the right to water and sanitation…

In Palestine and Israel, all peoples have the right to water and sanitation…

Yet, the right to water and sanitation of all peoples in these places is not honoured or protected. I invite you to learn about World Water Day 2012 both in terms of the Canadian, at-home context (click here) and Canadian responsibility in our global community (e.g., in Palestine and Israel – please see below).

Thank you.

See the Sacred Water Circle site: http://sacredwatercircle.ca/

See the video supported by EWASH at this site: http://www.thirstingforjustice.org/new/

See the video, “Foul Smell: Treating Gaza’s Wastewater Under Israeli Blockade”.

Here’s the site for World Water Day 2012: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/


Awakening, awareness

Slow at first until:


Like an electric shock

A startled response

“Surely, this cannot be,” we say…

Surely, yes, this is what you ARE seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, touching:



Our pain, as people of this place,

weighed down by structural violence…systemic injustice…

Like you inCanada, only your collective pain is so deep and long that

You’ve forgotten.

Cannot see the pain that systematically is tearing you apart…


Do you remember? Try…

You taught us about reserved areas, permits, and passes…about a century or more ago.

Well, maybe not directly. But through visitors fromSouth Africa. You hosted them.

Then, we, from this land bridge between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean visited those inSouth Africa…

And then set up the reserved areas, permits, and pass system here.

Apartheid – it’s Afrikaans for “apart-ness”.


The friendship between us, now?Canada and ‘Israel’ – BFF: Best Friends Forever!!

Oh, the connection is long…the pain runs deep…

As you listen to the truth

-ARE you trying? To heal, and reconcile as a society…?

“The mandate for The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is found in Schedule N of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.” (See here.) 

Help! Help…we don’t want to bury our pain and forget like you.

BFF – Let’s walk together, listen, and listen some more.


Awakening, awareness

Slow at first, and then

An electric shock!!

-Sherry Ann (15 March 2012)

News from Gaza

“As the Israeli  army, continues its military attacks, against the Gaza strip, those attacks that started since Friday 10th of march 530 pm, and continue  targeting  Palestinian resistance armed men, those offensive acts are  illegal  according to international law,  every human is entitled a trial , and assassination act is illegal while resisting occupation is legal according to international law.

Usually the entire civilian population includes women and children, pays large price and takes the brunt of this situation. Our concern is the lack of medications and supplies, and if the operation continues, the number of causalities will increase; the toll is 16 dead and 30 injured till this minute

Gaza Population already lives under a devastating humanitarian situation, while the occupation continues, and the internal conflict is not solved, and the governments of the world are silent. And indifferent.

We at the RCSG, appeal to the international community, and to our friends and supporters, spread the word, make the pressure on your governments, to stop these attacks soon.

The humanitarian situation in GAZA is on the verge of collapse. The military attacks continue, while we lack electricity and our medical facilities and hospitals have all but exhausted what little fuel we have to  operate the alternative generators.

We have insufficient medications, 186 basic medications are lacking in our pharmacies and drug stores. Apart from the insufficient medical supplies, children in the special care baby units are in great danger as are renal dialysis patients and cancer patients are dying unnecessarily, unable to have their treatment.  Diabetic and asthmatic patients as well as many chronic illness patients, those who  need their medications regularly cannot get them.  The list is too long to convey in this appeal.

Please act immediately to stop this attack against Gaza’s population.

You have been always great supporters and showed your solidarity, at the most difficult times.

Yours sincerely

Mona ElFarra
Vice president
Red Crescent society for Gaza strip
MECA Director –Gaza Strip

Mona ElFarra
From Gaza With Love”

For commentary from a left-leaning Israeli newspaper, click here.

For an article from a Palestinian newspaper, click here.


We say: Peace… on International Women’s Day.

water cannons, flash grenades, and tear gas from Israeli government forces… On 8 March 2012, these items greeted women who walked for peace… Click here to watch the video.

These are the women who stand for peace and who live with the ugliness of Qalandiya Checkpoint that prevents free movement between Ramallah, the village of Qalandiya, and East Jerusalem. I remember this ugliness from my time there on early mornings between Dec. 2010 and March 2011.

As we enter this new year (from one International Women’s Day to the next), we can draw on the traditional movement song, “We shall not be moved”. Just like this poppy of resistance that appears in spring in the hills around Jerusalem.

We shall be moved by flowers growing - Nabi Samuel - 1 March 2011 - Photo: Sherry Ann

"We shall be moved by flowers growing." - Nabi Samuel - 1 March 2011 - Photo: Sherry Ann (Quoting "We Shall Be Moved", Carolyn McDade, 2002)

And, I’d like to invite us…to be moved. We, we shall be moved…in love….

"Love is stronger than this wall." - Ar Ram, West-Bank side of Separation Wall, near Qalandiya Checkpoint - 6 Jan. 2011 - Photo: Sherry Ann

"Love is stronger than this wall." - Ar Ram, West-Bank side of Separation Wall, near Qalandiya Checkpoint - 6 Jan. 2011 - Photo: Sherry Ann

Choose a way…local, nearby, or afar…

For example, learn and participate:

1) The REDress Project –  “The REDress Project, focuses around the issue of missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. It is an installation art project based on an aesthetic response to this critical national issue.” Click here and here (for Edmonton’s connection).

2) Subject: [womeninblack] Call For Action – Hana Shalabi and other female prisoners

“Dear all, The following is a letter to be sent to the israeli authority in order to make some pressure to releas Hana Shalabi and the other palestinian women detainees of freedom. You can either copy the letter or create your own letter and send it to the provided addresses, you also can send a letter to Hana and the other women detainees by contacting Addameer.  if you are not able to see the text bellow please follow this link: http://addameer.org/etemplate.php?id=450    ”