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Home arrow Gaza arrow Walls triumph over bridges…conference on siege is a victim of siege
Walls triumph over bridges…conference on siege is a victim of siege PDF Print E-mail
Oct 20, 2008 at 01:03 AM

Gaza Community Mental Health Programme  Date : 10-20-2008 
 
In a shocking turn, the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme found their International Conference, "Siege and Mental Health… Walls vs. Bridges" under siege. The conference was scheduled to be held on 27-28 October in the Gaza strip. However, following one year of planning and preparation, the academic conference has been disrupted by the Israeli Authorities decision to deny admittance to the international conference participants, only two weeks prior the conference. What better irony to highlight the effects of the siege?

The conference has been organized to serve as a forum for professional discussion and scientific exchange concerning the impact of the Gaza siege on children, families, and communities and peace-making efforts. The plan is to gather top researchers and academics from around the world to build bridges for dialogue, mutual acknowledgment, and peace. Some 120  participants from universities around the world were scheduled to attend. 25 of them are presenting papers and original research. The main themes of the conference are addressing professional, mental health and human rights matters. 
 
If Israel imposes strict siege on the whole population of Gaza strip for "security reason", as claimed, we wonder, how could such a conference constitute a threat to the Israeli security.
 
These actions represent a profound blow to the rights of academic freedom, free speech, education, and cultural dialogue"
 
We view this action as an action to block communication, distort the platform for mutual acknowledgment, understanding, and admitting the suffering of others.
 
Once again, and unlike what is claimed, Israel - as an occupying power- is proving that it is controlling the Gaza Strip, preventing people from entry or exit. 
 
Despite all the challenges, we are determined that the conference will go ahead. We plan that the internationals will participate in Ramallah with a video link to Gaza for the local participants who are prevented by the Israelis from leaving.
 
We affirm that, If Israel can impose siege on our bodies, they cannot besiege our minds and interaction with the outside world. Despite the unjust decision, we have the determination to continue with the conference as planned. We aim to be able to achieve goals of the conference as well as raising awareness about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of siege on the civilian population of Gaza . 
 
We demand the Israeli authorities to change their decision and allow conference participants to enter Gaza.
Finally, we urge our participants, friends, solidarity groups, human rights organizations, and mental health communities, to protest against this decision, denounce it, and expose the ongoing Israeli policies and violations of human rights. 
 
For more information, please contact Husam El-Nounou
Public Relations Director
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
 
0599 862595
08-2825700
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Vancouver panel says: "Enough!"
Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

It is the conviction of Canpalnet that there are many and varied pathways that can and do bring Canadians to a simple conclusion; namely, that Israel's occupation must be ended, for elementary justice, and to salvage the humanity of all.

To illustrate this, a diverse and distinguished panel of speakers assembled in Vancouver at a press conference on June 6th to express their opposition to Israel’s 40 year occupation of Palestinian lands, and to call for the government of Canada to take action against that occupation and in support of human rights and international law. The conference took place in the Bank of Nova Scotia Room at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver.

Dr. Naseer Aruri, noted Palestinian intellectual and prolific author, was a special guest. Born in Jerusalem, now Emeritus Chancellor Professor at the University of Massachussetts, he has been a member of the international board of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (USA), and Palestinian human rights groups. His most recent work is Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine.

A statement of support was sent by the all-party parliamentary group in Ottawa, the Canada Palestine Parliamentary Association.

That message and the statements of the panelists (listed below) are posted on this site.  

  • Svend Robinson, long time member of Parliament.
  • Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.
  • Murray Dobbin, journalist, broadcaster, and author of books on Canadian politics.
  • David Diamond, founder and artistic director of Headlines Theatre and recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Harmony Award.
  • Lee Lakeman, organizer of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and a representative for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers.
  • Carl Rosenberg, editor of Canadian Jewish Outlook Magazine.
  • Terry Greenberg, recently retired member of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • Reverend Brenda Faust, Minister of Port Coquitlam Trinity United Church.
  • Henry Krause, pastor of Langley Mennonite Fellowship.
  • Cynthia Flood, prize-winning Canadian short-story writer.
  • Dr. Ivar Ekeland, Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Economics at UBC and former President of the University of Paris-9.
  • Ken Davidson, head of the International Solidarity Committee of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees).
  • Thekla Lit, founder and president of BC ALPHA (Association for Learning and Preserving the History of World War 2 in Asia).

To see podcast of press conference:

40 Years of Occupation(Part 1) Press Conf. WM video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007

40 Years of Occupation(Part 2) Press Conf. video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007

 

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