Sunday 19 October 2008

A message from Abu Dis

To everyone at the birthday party on 18th October 2008

I want to thank you all for the efforts that you have been putting into Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association for the last four years.

People in Abu Dis – in fact people across Palestine but in particular lots of people in Abu Dis - are very pleased with what CADFA has been doing in these past four years. This is useful work in bringing attention to the Palestinian human rights situation under the Israeli occupation.

There are so many things that CADFA has done, too many to list. Really so many…

The first thing that jumps into my mind is the work that CADFA has done to shine a spotlight on Abu Dis, to put the name of our town on the map, so people know what is going on here.

This shines a light that is very important on the miseries that the people here have been going through since the Israeli occupation. CADFA has looked at what is happening now, and also what has happened in the past.

CADFA has done some work documenting the history of the occupation. I was pleased to be part of a project of gathering oral history from the time of the 1967 occupation (“The First Six Days”). This was really useful work, not only for telling our story to people internationally. People in Abu Dis itself learnt from it too.

We have done other things like this too in CADFA – the book “Voices from Abu Dis” collects stories from 1948 onwards. There are stories on the internet about our experiences, because CADFA listens to the voices of people from Abu Dis.

As for things going on now, CADFA is showing the world the pressures of the Israeli occupation on Abu Dis organisations such as the schools. When soldiers entered a school and beat the children, CADFA raised this internationally. We feel supported by CADFA’s activities such as prisoner adoption; and activities in Camden when people in Abu Dis have been killed, such as Shahadeh Mohsen two years ago and Maryam Ayyad last month. CADFA always does something.

Also important are the visits that CADFA have organised which take ordinary people from Abu Dis and give them a role in explaining internationally about the suffering of the Palestinian people. And the visits in the other direction which give us hope and establish links. And so many other things.

We are still suffering so much in Palestine, from the the expansion of settlements and from land expropriation and from all the Israeli violations - the checkpoints and the Wall – all the things that go along with the taking of the land. There is no sign at the moment of any political solution.

We need the world to take notice of this and to do something about it, and CADFA is playing a good role in this.

I also want to ask you to help CADFA in the future, because it needs your help. All this wonderful work that CADFA is doing, the best thing for it is to continue. So to make it continue, CADFA needs all the support it can for the coming period.

Sometimes because of what this organisation is doing, people think that this is a big organisation with huge and stable resources. Unfortunately it isn’t true. It is depending on the voluntary work of individuals who are working hard.

And it will only continue if people can manage to find solid help and support.
The important issue is to make this work sustainable.

I am asking all of you who are here to see what you can do to ensure that the organisation continues and put all of your efforts into helping it for the next 4 years or more…

From Abdul Wahab Sabbah, CADFA Abu Dis Co-ordinator

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