Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mahmoud Sarsak Free, Alive and Victorious

It was good to hear that Palestinian footballer  Mahmoud Sarsak who I wrote about here was greeted joyously in Gaza yesterday, after he had returned home from an Israeli prison where he had been held for three years without charge or trial and without visits from his family. He was taken to a hospital in Gaza where he reemerged from an ambulance and kissed his parents and siblings.
In a press release for  U Free Network  Sarsak said that despite he was a hunger striker, he managed by his steadfastness to force the Israeli occupation to accept his condition that he launched a hunger strike for, adding ' My demands were represented in not recognising the non-combatant law, which was issued by the Israeli military court, and releasing me to my home city, Rafah in Gaza Strip."
He had  endured an epic three month hunger strike that had brought him close to death, which he agreed to end last month after Israel had agreed to free him. Concerning , the many  international and local support, he appreciated the role of all human rights organisations that had supported him. It is remembered that the FIFA President, Sepp Blatter  had contacted the Israeli authorities seeking help in his release, and the camnpaign succeeded in reaching several European organizations and parliaments.
With former Manchester United player, Eric Cantona and British filmaker Ken Loach  also among the many who signed a petition calling for his freedom., plus  numerous other world renowned football players and athletes.
A victory of sorts , but as I type Akram Rikhawi's hunger strike continues  in an act of nonviolence that continues to inspire Palestinians and many others, sustaining their dignity under the most difficult and inhumane circumstances.
Amnesty International  is now calling for the release too of Samer al Barq and Hassan Safadi with Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Ann Harrison saying

" While the long overdue release of Mahmoud al-Sarsak is a huge relief to his family and friends, it doesn't reflect any fundamental change in the use of administrative detention as state policy by the Israeli authorities. In fact it further underscores just how unjust, arbitrary and secretive this measure is."

" Israel must immediately end the use of administrative detenrion, and release all Palestinians held under any legal provisions allowing its use, or charge and try them fairly in a court of law consistent with international standards. In particular, the internment of Unlawful Combatants Law should be repealed.

"Palestinians detained without charge should be released or charged with recognisable offences and tried according to international standards.

" The Israeli authorities must also guarantee them, and all other detainess and prisoners on hunger strike,  regular access to independent doctors and lawyers. Samer al-Barg, who has been on hunger strike for almost 50 days, should be immediately admitted to a civilian hospital so that he can recieve proper medical care."


4,700 Palestinians remain

in jail.

Mahmoud Sarsak
being released

Sameeh Shugai's song ' Think of Others'
originally a poem by Mahmoud Darwish

As you fix your breakfast, think of others. Don't forget to feed the pigeons

As you fight in your wars, think of others. Dont forget those who desperately demand peace

As you pay your water bill, think of others who drink the clouds' rain.

As you return, your home, think of others. Don't forget those who live in tents.

As you sleep and count planets, think of others. There are people without any shelter to sleep.

As you express yourself using metaphysical expressions, think of others who lost their rights to speak.

As you think of others who are distant, think of yourself and say " I wish I was a candle to fade

away the darkness.

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