Sheffield’s cinema Palestino film season has been a fixture for 8 years now. This year we are showing 3000 Nights, an award winning film set in a Israeli women’s prison contratsing the britality of her treatment with the care given to new life and community
We are also showing a documentary by Hind Shoufani about her father, Elias Shoufani, academic, activist and exile. Winner of Best Non-European Documentary at the European Independent Film Festival, Paris this film is a personal, poetic and political archive and interview journey to discover family history.
On 9th July this summer, over a hundred people saw at Sheffield’s Broomhall Centre a performance by 20 Palestinian teenagers, from Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem.
The previous day, Sheffield’s Deputy Mayor had welcomed the group, the Lajee Dance Troupe, at the Town Hall. On Wednesday, October 5th, three of the 14-year- old dancers, Mustafa Bdair, Mutaz Barakah and Omar Radi were arrested by masked Israeli soldiers.
Attacks by the Israeli army on the Lajee centre have escalated since Celtic football fans raised over £170,000 divided between Medical Aid for Palestine and the Lajee Centre in Aida Camp.
These night raids by Israeli soldiers fit into a pattern of reprisals that have followed international gestures of solidarity with the Centre under an Israeli military occupation that the UK and other governments consider to be illegal.
Israeli soldiers attacked the Lajee Centre with teargas and rubber bullets on 19 Sept while the children were inside. The following night they forced open the gate of the centre, threw teargas grenades inside and closed the gate, trapping the children inside, forcing them to inhale toxic teargas.
Mutaz, Mustafa and Omar have been released on bail but will be tried by an Israeli military court where defendants are routinely found guilty.
In total, 440 children under 18 are currently held in military detention almost two-and- half times the number imprisoned a year ago. According to the Defense for Children International–Palestine (DCIP), no other country in the world systematically prosecutes hundreds of children in military courts each year.
Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign are urging Sheffield MPs to call on the Foreign Office to condemn the Israeli government’s campaign of intimidation against the Lajee Centre and to press for the dropping of the charges against the teenagers.
Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund is supporting 41 Palestinian women into university in Gaza this year. The students are studying a range of subjects from medicine to English Literature, from Law to Sociology. See the full list here and watch the video of students who have received funding this year: جمعية آفاق جديدة – منحة شيفلد
There are some this changes this year as we have been asked by the organising committee in Gaza to alter how much we pay for each scholarship. One university has reduced its fees to $500, others remain at $600 but medical and health related courses vary from $1-1500. By paying the additional fees for the medical and health related subjects, we are able to support Palestinian women to aspire and achieve.
However on top of this, the exchange rate this year has been very poor. This means that though we sent out more money than last year, it is worth less in dollars. Therefore, this year we are sponsoring 41 students (in 2015/16 we sponsored 43 students).
Please join us in wishing our students an enjoyable and successful year.
What better image can there be of cultural resistance to occupation than dancing under the separation wall. In spite of the occupation, destruction of civil life and countless barriers to cultural engagement, Palestine, Palestinians and their culture does not go away, or become invisible.
In solidarity with the right to roam walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and in Hebron, children in the north of the Gaza Strip participated in a walk organised by Al Asria children centre in Jabalia in walk on June 4th