EARLIER this month, a fund raising and awareness evening was held in Newport for Palestine, where the audience lived the lives of people in a different part of the world. Dasa, a film-maker from the Czech republic organised the audience to help with the cooking of a traditional Palestinian dish. Participants got into large groups, washing, whisking, and chopping together for a group meal, as it is the norm in Eastern countries. The full hall then watched films with a food and farming theme.
In Palestine trouble is a part of everyday life. One film showed men arguing light-heartedly and cooking the same dish we had just prepared, but unfortunately they were taken away by the Israeli forces before they had a chance to eat it. The people were left to eat, still debating the best recipe. The next film showed how groups of women are forming cooperatives to get Palestinian produce back on the shelves and in the markets, organically grown. There were some great characters with powerful stories to tell.
Men are now asking to join the women’s coops, and offering double membership to get in. Much of the land they are growing on is now being seized by Israel against international law. At other times olive trees are cut down and livestock killed. Inevitably people asked what they could do. Opportunities for boycotts and letter writing were among the answers. Attendees who had visited Palestine recalled their experiences. A young woman from Narberth was part of a circus group formed to bring joy and laughter into troubled lives.
They had all been held for hours or days by the security forces before they could get into Palestine. They said that the enormous warmth and welcome made it an unforgettable experience, everyone in Palestine speaks English! The day before our meeting there was a passionate back-bench debate in Westminster and the day of our event France voted to recognise Palestine as a nation. There is no doubt this is the hottest international topic not just in the world but in Wales too.