This is a copy of the Open Letter LALIT sent out to its members, supporters and friends yesterday, 27 December,2009:
It is exactly one year today since the Israeli army bombed and invaded Gaza, which was already under siege. Today one of LALIT's leading members, Ragini Kistnasamy, is in Cairo, joining other representatives of organizations from 43 different countries, who are gathering to work out the details of their planned demonstration in favour of the Palestinian people, and in particular at this moment, in favour of the people living under siege in Gaza.
The planned march is called the "Gaza Freedom March", and it is organized by a common front of organizations including the US women's association, Code Pink. The date planned is 31st December. Ragini Kistnasamy has been to Palestine twice in order to witness the daily horror of living under occupation, and LALIT has published her "Palestine Diaries". Both times she went to the West Bank. Today she is planning to go to Gaza, with the 1,400 other delegates.
The plan was originally for the 1,400 delegates to march from the Egypt side through the Rafah border crossing into that part of Palestine which is under total siege, that is to say Gaza. Amongst the marchers is an 85 year-old survivor of the Holocaust or Shoah, Hedy Epstein, and also a group of US army veterans. Amongst those marching will be families of three generations, doctors, artists, rabbies, priests and imams, trade unionists, lawyers, students, a large women's delegation, a Jewish contingent, and Palestinians born overseas who have not seen their families in Gaza ever before. There will be 20 South Africans.
As the delegates to the March are gathering in Cairo, the Israeli army has assasinated three men in the West Bank, and sent an air strike into Gaza, killing another three Palestinians. The Egyptian Government has announced that the Rafah crossing is now closed until January, thus complicating the plan for the March. Today the organizers of the Gaza Freedom March, in particular the women's organization Code Pink, is meeting to agree on how to face the new repression, this time not just from Israel, but from the Egyptian government.
We are calling on organizations and individuals in Mauritius to:
- Express support for LALIT member, Ragini Kistnasamy, who is due to be on the March, as well as for the March itself. (This can be by letter, e-mail, SMS or phone call to a LALIT member).
- To email the Egyptian Embassy here and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo in order to call for the opening of the border, not just for the marchers to go through, but so that the siege is effectively lifted. The Egyptian Government is sensitive to international pressure.
- To call for an immediate end to Israel's siege of Gaza, as well as to join the longer struggle against the Israeli and US Governments to get all troops withdrawn from Palestine, and to close down all "colonies" that Israel has set up in Palestine.
Tonight at 7 pm (Mauritius time) Ragini Kistnasamy will, together with the other delgates, float 1,400 candles on the river Nile in commemoration of the dead in Gaza.
Alain Ah-Vee, for LALIT 27 December, 2009
208 5551 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details: www.lalitmauritius.org
Model letter to Ragini Kistnasamy (You can cut and paste it, or write your own lines: email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org ) (She has not got easy access to internet so copy to us, so we can tell her when she phones.)
Dear Ragini Kistnasamy,
We write this letter in order to express, via your presence on it, our support for the Gaza Freedom March. It is now over one year since the bombardment of Gaza, and we call for the siege to be lifted by Israel. We call also for the Egyptian government to open the Rafah crossing for the Marchers to go through, and also for Palestinians to be able to cross freely.
(Org, if any)
Model Letter to Egyptian Government re opening of Border. (You can cut and paste it, and email it to the two addresses, one through embassy here, one direct.)
Copy to email@example.com
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt
We are writing to express our full support for the December 31, 2009 Gaza Freedom March. We urge the Egyptian government to allow the 1,400 international delegates to enter the Gaza Strip through Egypt.
The aim of the march is to call on Israel to lift the siege. The delegates will also take in badly needed medical aid, as well as school supplies and winter jackets for the children of Gaza.
Please, let this historic March proceed.
(Org, if any)