When I came to Gaza in November 2011 I planned to stay for 2 months maximum, at least that was the deal I made with my pregnant wife. But as happens Palestine has a way of seducing you, and in my case the Egyptian authorities have a way of imprisoning you, so my stay lasted 6 months rather than 2. In turn I ended up missing the birth of our second child.
Although I planned to film 30 separate family profiles here in Gaza, to have these families tell their story directly to a western audience, I did not plan to meet the Samouni family as their story had been told many times before. Fate had other plans however and this meeting was arranged without my knowledge.
It is ironic how unplanned events often impact your life far more than those that are planned. Before you know it you are taken down a path of which the universe, God, some unknowable force is clearly in charge, we become but a passenger. Meeting the Samouni family has been like that, it has caused a chain reaction of events that has dominated my life for the last 18 months. In that time I have known the greatest of joy, the joy of receiving a child’s smile upon your return for instance. I cannot guess at the amount of smiles reciprocated with the Samouni kids and yet the joy it produces never diminishes.
In the last 18 months I have also known rage, primarily from the betrayal of those I trusted. To trust is to love, it is expose one’s underbelly in the interest of union. It is the cornerstone of partnership, it is essential for any significant progress in effecting a better world. Those that are afraid to trust, to love, will never know the joy of love, and my willingness to trust has been one of the greatest sources of the immense blessings I have known. I have no regrets, even with the betrayals.
So the price one inevitably pays for misplaced trust is to be praised one day, and then slandered with the most filthy lies the next. This is the tactic of infiltration, get inside, develop trust, establish an apparently credible basis to defame the target, then attack. For me this extends not just about me, but of my wife, my mother and even my children who have been called “illegitimate”. I have even seen Palestinians create a Facebook page designed purely for the purpose of defaming me (a blatant violation of Facebook’s duplicitous, Israel slanted policies). I have been unlawfully arrested by the UK police, my family home has been violated and my property stolen by thieves in uniform. And yet I am grateful for it all because it is in these greatest of challenges, the injustices, that one finds the greatest opportunities to grow, to become wiser and stronger.
I am grateful because through the joy and through the hardship I have never lost sight of how blessed I am. When I look back at my life there is such richness in the stories I have accumulated and the friendships I have developed. I have thought with my heart more than with my head and in a world of collective insanity I realised long ago that popularity and approval is not what a content and honourable life generally provides, in fact it almost never does. The path of popularity is not for me, it is self-respect, service to life, commitment to truth and justice that I am committed to. The hardship, ridicule and slander is all part of the path and ultimately can only be overcome by steadfastness and love, love of truth, love of justice, and ultimately love of peace.
Indeed I have taken the path less travelled by and without doubt this has made all the difference. This path has lead me back to Gaza, and as potentially dangerous as this path is it doesn’t really matter, if my mortal life ends today I will leave behind an example of what blessings await those that “think” with their heart and more importantly, act in accord with their heart.
So I am back in Gaza, and I am back with the Samouni family. What we have shared is what we shared before, love. If the full truth be known about all that has been employed to tear or relationship apart it could be made into a movie. Even a prominent human rights organisation has been advising the Samouni family to divorce themselves of me because I was all that I was accused of being by the slanderers. What makes this shocking is that this “human rights” organisation indicted me based on one source and one source alone, Facebook!
This organisation went even further to pressure the Samouni family to press charges against me. When the family asked for one simple thing, evidence, this organisation refused. Indeed this has been the judge of me for many, Facebook. What does this say about some of the so-called “friends” of Palestine, that they are so incredibly stupid as to validate a known CIA/Zionist tool as a source to crucify one of Palestine’s most easily verified allies?
What I find myself saying more and more about the plight of the Palestinians is, “with friends like these, who needs enemies.”
Between the human rights organisation and the corrupt UK police and court system and Zionist agents online and importantly, the idiots who give credence to all of the above, it is safe to say that the only thing that has truly protected me is integrity. And the only thing that will save the Samouni Project and the educational program it entails is steadfastness. And even if these poor, poor human beings who wish otherwise were to succeed, I will die with my integrity as it is not subject to the whims of a human society that is, literally, collectively insane to the point that we remain on the brink of the human caused end of the world as we know it.
But make no mistake at all, those who have instigated baseless slander against me, those that have stolen resources for the Samouni Project, Aloha Palestine, Trade Not Aid, those that have been stupid enough to propagate lies without any critical thought, have not attacked me primarily, they have attacked Palestine and in particular, the Samouni family. A massive amount of effort has been invested in destroying the trust between myself and the Samouni family, it has not worked. I remain a loved member of this family and I love this family as if they were my blood.
In the next few days prepare to feel the joy I am feeling with me, as something beautiful is about to happen here in Gaza.
TONIGHT! – I will be on ‘The Ugly Truth’ Radio Program with Mark Glenn – Program starts at 11pm London time (tonight) in what will surely be a no holds barred conversation about truth and justice. If you do not know Mark, you should. He is a courageous man who refuses to bow to tyranny and is spreading the truth without compromise. We had a conversation today discussing tonights talk and I can assure you it will be one to listen to. There is an opportunity to call in as well so if you have a question for either of us, do call in. We will be discussing the Israeli whitewash ‘investigation’ into the Samouni family slaughter. Here is the promo info as found at Mark’s website;
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess and casts out the many peoples living there, you shall then slaughter them all and utterly destroy them…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy…You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you to be a special people above all others upon the face of the earth…”
–Book of Deuteronomy, 7:1-8
Israel’s decision NOT to investigate the slaughter of an entire Palestinian family–the Samounis–during Operation Cast Lead–An abberation?
The Palestinians, as alleged by political, religious and even secular leaders within Israel are NOT HUMAN, according to the dictates of Judaism, a religion characterized by Thomas Jefferson as ‘depraved’.
We are honored to be joined live from London by Ken O’Keefe, who spent a considerable amount of time with the surviving members of the Samouni family to discuss this and other relevant items.
Program begins at 6 pm eastern (Washington D.C., New York) and airs live at– http://www.justin.tv/theuglytruthradioprogram
Those wishing to call in with their questions/comments can do so at 530.881-1300, access code: 179164#
This is so worthwhile for every Christian to consider. Especially supposedly patriotic American Christians; think about what this short video is saying. Imagine that you, unwittingly or not, are paying for the murder of Jesus Christ’s blood relatives. Actually, do not imagine it; know it, and soak it up.
No matter how ignorant and manipulated we have become there is something so beautiful, about the truth… it knows nothing of ‘politics’ or ‘patriotism’, it is what it is, regardless of such things.
And while you ponder that, know that the little boy pictured in this video is 4-year-old Ahmed Samouni from Gaza. Murdered in cold blood by Israeli’s during so-called ‘Operation Cast Lead’. This little ‘terrorist’ is no more thanks to American ignorance manifested in Israeli mass-murder. Make no mistake however, this co-operation not only marks the end of this little boys life, but the unfolding destruction of the once great American nation… right before (y)our eyes.
For more about Ahmed Samouni and his grieving mother, here are two videos I produced while in Gaza.
To: Catherine Sarah Myles
From: Ken O’Keefe
Subject: Demand for Return of Trade Not Aid Property
Date: August 9, 2011
Let is be known that the pictured 18-ton truck has been fraudulently registered in the name of Catherine Sarah Myles and taken to a destination unknown and against my expressed will. The registration of the vehicle in Catherine Myles name has been verified by the Metropolitan and Swansea Police Departments. Upon legal advice and the advice of the Police I am hereby making a public demand to have the truck in question, reg # V97 DBA, handed over to me with the log book so it can be returned the mission it was intended for. This vehicle shall be registered as an asset of Aloha Palestine CIC, a trading company to which I am the Managing Director and which was set up to conduct trade with Palestine. It is also demanded that all cargo on that truck, cargo that includes trade items and aid, including medical aid, be protected and returned as it was when the vehicle was taken away from my charge. The property value of the cargo has been valued at £20,000+.
Stolen property of Trade Not Aid mission
Let it be know that there is a paper trail that includes a bank transfer, emails and a third party witness that will all verify that the funds used to purchase this vehicle were raised by myself, Ken O’Keefe, and that these funds were held by someone other than Catherine Myles until I directed this person to transfer said funds to Catherine Myles. This witness verifies the fact that this vehicle was never to be registered in the name of Catherine Myles, instead it was to be registered for the Trade Not Aid mission, of which Aloha Palestine is a partner.
Let this also be known, Catherine Sarah Myles has absolutely no legal claim to this vehicle, the registration of the vehicle in her name is fraudulent as it was always to be used as an asset of the mission that I created and which was endorsed by the Samouni Family in Gaza. The formation of a “committee” that rubber-stamped a hijacking of the Trade Not Aid mission, along with the subsequent slander campaign by Catherine Myles is the only basis of her holding the property of the Trade Not Aid mission. Never did Catherine Myles have any ownership rights to this vehicle and taking this vehicle with the cargo was done in direct opposition to my direction as the leader of the mission.
Having reported this matter to the Police, having consulted with legal counsel, it has been verified to me that should this go to court, with the facts as they are, especially upon public notice being served in an attempt to recover said vehicle, that Catherine Myles will be subject not just to civil liability and financial compensation, but criminal charges for fraud and theft.
The only way for this matter not to result in a legal process in which I will pursue criminal charges is for the vehicle, the cargo, and the monies raised on the Trade Not Aid UK Tour (approximately £4000) to be returned to me within three days (by Friday August 12, 2011). If this demand is fulfilled I am willing to consider not pursuing libel charges in response to the charges made by Catherine Myles and the “committee” she heads. In these spurious charges Catherine Myles and her partners state that I am a thief, a Nazi and that I attempted to lure young women into my apartment in Gaza. The latter charge has subsequently put peoples live in Gaza in danger and all three of these claims, among many others made, are completely false and according to UK law constitute libel and defamation of character.
To date, the Trade Not Aid mission has lost two fund raisers in August due to the hijacking of the mission. Property worth considerable money that would have seriously enhanced this mission has been withdrawn until this matter is remedied. These are provable damages that are intended to harm me, but they also harm Palestine and the Samouni family.
The longer this hijacking continues, the less chance there is of me not pursuing criminal charges to the fullest extent of the law. The libel charges are absolute and the theft charges are likewise should this public notice be ignored. A hard copy of this notice is also being served to Catherine Sarah Myles legal address so as to satisfy the requirements of the law in attempting to recover stolen property should this notice be ignored.
I request that friends of Catherine Myles post this on her wall and also spread this notice far and wide.
I shall repeat one last time, in the interest of the missio, I will consider not pursuing libel and criminal charges, charges that can be proven beyond any doubt, if all demands are met within three days. Let it be known as well that I have continued contact with the Samouni family in Gaza and they are now fully aware of this hijacking and the attempt by Catherine Myles to steal property used for the benefit of the family. The Samouni family have also retained legal counsel and I am acting in cooperation with their solicitors.
To help contact Catherine Sarah Myles at firstname.lastname@example.org, demand that the property be returned immediately.
I am beyond excited to announce that we are formalising a partnership that will ensure one of my fondest goals shall be achieved, that of a youth exchange between the children of Gaza and those of Europe. I am even more excited because we are focusing on the youth of Gaza as well as Belfast and Free Derry in the North of Ireland. These kids, ages 15 to 18, all know what violent conflict is about, and all of them deserve a chance to play with and understand their brothers and sisters from distant but all too similar conflict zones.
Our success will be measured in smiles and laughter and the building of bonds akin to creating a cherished extended family… and we will succeed.
I have wanted to do this for years, giving serious motivation to youth workers in an attempt to make it happen, trying through volunteers to get a program written up and funding to make it so. But with all that I was doing I simply had not managed to secure the right partners and funding, until now that is.
Myself and my partners are now entered into an agreement in principle with Mr. Maamon Hashem Khozendar, a prominent businessman and philanthropist from Gaza. As a resident of Gaza, Mr. Khozender is also witness to the atrocities committed by Israel against the 800,000 plus children there. His people are providing logistical support in Gaza and my team are partnered with people in the North of Ireland who are doing the same. In Gaza and Ireland we are working to identify eight youth to be part of our first exchange.
First we plan to fly the kids from Ireland to Gaza (via Egypt), or possibly carry them on our convoy from London to Gaza in July of this year. After roughly two weeks of educational tours and fun based activities with four youth from Gaza, all will return to Ireland for similar activities there. Mr. Khozendar will be providing the facilities and funds in both Gaza and Ireland and we have high hopes that the program will soon be expanded; which indeed it will if support from people of goodwill is what I think it will be.
I would love to see 50 or 100 children at a time for each exchange, but we shall start with eight kids, and work our way up from there. Plans are flexible, but again we are looking at two weeks in Ireland, two weeks in Gaza, with ongoing support to facilitate continuing communications and hopefully, regular reunions.
If you live in the North of Ireland and wish to nominate a child for this exchange or support this project in meaningful ways, please contact me at email@example.com. Together we are going to do something truly special and everyone will get to see the initial results by July at the latest.
This is one of those very unplanned articles born out of inspiration in Egypt.
I arrived in Egypt after being blocked by the Egyptian security services four separate times over the course of nearly three months. During this period, with an easy opportunity for attention and exposure, I kept my mouth almost completely shut. In the meantime I have quietly done what I could to depart Gaza and return to my family and to join my wife for the birth of our second child. Instead I was repeatedly blocked, missed the birth of our child and have been unable to give emotional, physical and even financial support to my family. All the while it has never been lost on me that this is only a small fraction of the injustice thrust upon Palestinians every single day.
The blessing in this is that the Samouni Project and other very promising work has transpired, due directly to me ending up in Gaza longer than planned. I am always keen to turn negatives into positives, and that is exactly what I have done.
In this extra time in Gaza, being separated from my wife and family I have become that much more aware of how ultimately blessed I am as a man. What my wife endures, all too often without any tangible support from me, is a man who is gone much of the time, who works every single day when he is absent or around, a man who earns almost no money and who by the nature of his work brings danger not just to himself, but possibly to her and our family. When you add all this up, I have a gem of a woman, the best kind of woman (in my mind anyway), a Palestinian woman, a shining example of womanhood.
It is said that behind every great man you will find a great woman. I do not look at myself as a great man per se, but I do see the greatness of the women in my life, and if I do indeed succeed in my ultimate goals, you can thank these women every bit as much as me. They have played the essential role in my character development, they are Goddesses, the fabric of a healthy society and responsible for the most important job that exists, that of being a mother.
My mother, my grandmother, and my wife are such women; all of them have shown me a love that is boundless and unconditional. Because of them, more than any other factors in my life, I hold great love for my fellow human beings and all life in general. When you combine true love with the understanding of a women’s intimate relationship and experience with injustice, you will be empowered. The strength that myself and countless others exhibit in the face of the sadistic tyrants and their minions in this world, is derived in great part by the beauty and essence of the women in our lives. I feel sorry for the lowly men trapped in the simplistic attraction of the sexual essence of a woman, there is so much more, so, so much more, and to know women as I do is to know the whole beauty of them.
I had no plans to write about women when I arrived in Cairo, but something happened and a link in my mind was made between the Egyptian Revolution and the cause of women in general. And I am always keen to link causes, always. I have met many people since arriving in Cairo and what has been communicated to me is that the revolution continues as a non-stop endeavor. I have been told the demands of the revolution are beginning to center around financial justice, workers rights and an egalitarian tax system that would result in a redistribution of wealth. The achievement of these demands would inevitably lift countless millions of Egyptians out of the deep poverty that Western cultural imperialism and Egyptian corruption have relegated them to.
As fate would have it I watched a movie in Cairo that developed a link worthy of sharing. I seriously recommend this movie to everyone, but especially to women. And though it may seem the message of the movie centers around equal pay for women, I have to disagree. I believe the central theme is justice, and as Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The movie is called ‘Made in Dagenham’, watch it, breathe it in and realize that the struggle for equal pay in Britain, the struggle for redistribution of wealth in Egypt, and every struggle you can think of has just one thing obstructing justice, and that would be unity. In the movie men and women of the workers unions united, despite the best efforts of the sell-outs, and in the end men and women united and gained. That is the secret waiting to be figured out by us, we all have the same cause, when we unite, we can achieve anything.
I supported the Egyptian Revolution from the moment I heard of it, which was before it officially began, and that explains the reason I have been blocked by the security services up till now. But I want Egypt to know, and the workers of England to know, as well as the Palestinians, the American’s, the students, the oppressed everywhere, to know, that you all have the same struggle, against the same centralized enemy. Think critically, open your heart, shed the fear, and you will know this to be true.
If you see the world the way I do, and I know I am not alone in this, you will see the methods of divide and rule are everywhere. The powers that be know all too well that we, the masses, the working class, the immigrants, the women, the blacks, the Hawaiians (kanaka maoli), the Palestinians and the occupied, oppressed and violated from all around the world are all fighting the same system. God help the tyrants should we ever figure this out, because the moment we do, we will begin to experience the sweet taste of justice and the liberation of a dignified life.
And so I go back to the women, the massive numbers of women who have been raped and beaten and exploited and violated, and yet they do what women do, they are moms. They look after us, love us, nurture us and support us, they shelter us from a cruel world. God help the child whose mother does not fulfill this role, I reckon you can explain to one degree or another the level of insanity in our collectively insane world, by the success or failure of the mothers in every child’s life.
I was blessed in this regard, my children are equally blessed, and now I finally see my failure as a man, my failure to be the father and husband, something that every woman and child deserves. As I return home to my family, after 8 months of absence, during almost the entire pregnancy of our second child, I vow to give the time and support my family deserves. I will finally find the balance of time for my family and time for the cause. I will not sacrifice my family for the cause any longer, I cannot, simply because I cannot respect myself as a man, when I chose my woman, impregnated her , while not honouring the commitment and responsibility that this inherently involves.
You will see less of me on Facebook and Twitter, but you will get more from me in the end. Leadership by example is a principle I believe in to the hilt, and to be a good father and husband is essential for me if I am to be considered a leader.
For those of pure heart and genuine support, know this, as I achieve greater success in my stated goals, I am all too predictably to be increasingly attacked by the idiots and agents. It seems the central charge, although there are so many, is that I do what I do for money and fame. Make no mistake; the timing of these attacks is not accidental. This latest round of attacks began just days after the birth of our second son, while I was involuntarily thousands of miles away from my wife. This attack included an extra charge that I was committing adultery, again within days of my wife giving birth… alone. Whether Zionists initiated this attack or not, they would be the first to cheer it on.
What can one say who is the target of such libel? Not many are willing to subject themselves to this type of poison, but putting yourself out there on the chopping block is inevitable should you walk the path that I do. Again it comes down to the love given to me by the women in my life. Does a mother abandon her child because her own life or character is at risk? Of course not, and so it is I will not abandon my brothers and sisters in Palestine, Hawaii, Iraq, Afghanistan, and indeed America and every corner of the Earth were people endure injustice. We are all family, flawed as we may be, and I am a brother, and I will act as such.
Through the women in my life I have been given love that has afforded me the self-respect so many others can only yearn to know. Rest assured, I will not abandon my mission for a better world, no matter how vicious the attacks on me. I prefer to die, as a mother does to protect her vulnerable child, then live and turn my back on my brothers and sisters who constitute my human family. And the women in my life are every bit as strong as myself, and they too will not be swayed by attacks on me or even themselves.
As for the slander directed at me, slander flying in the face of the facts, those of you who subscribe to this garbage make yourselves out to be dupes and fools. You are indeed a significant part of the problem. Do not get me wrong, nobody should be followed blindly, myself included. Never should a person abandon critical thinking. But to ignore the obvious commitment a person like myself has shown, by words spoken and deeds carried out, to buy into the slander leveled at me simply because supposed “allies” say it is so, is a disgrace. In doing this you feed tyranny and division, you attack a brother who has put his life on the line numerous times. It really is a disgrace, especially since most if not all of you have never risked what I or my family have.
The dupes fail to see that anyone who stands as I do against injustice, especially if they are getting results and inspiring others to act, will be attacked. They fail to understand the method of divide and rule through slander and liable. Wake up, smell the coffee, stop being dupes and join the struggle or identify yourselves as the agents of the enemy you are, unwittingly or not.
As the character Forest Gump says in the movie of the same title, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
As yet another means of educating the idiots I shall take an extraordinary step. My wife and family and all of my closest friends already know this truth, but some of you are suckered into doubting it. My path has meant an enormous amount of unpaid work; spiritually rewarding I must say, but the vast majority of it unpaid. And yes many people have helped my along the way, so that I could do what I do. The result however, in travelling this dubious, perilous path, for my wife and kids, is a sacrifice in which they are deprived of the resources required for financial security. I could make money a priority, but I have not. Nonetheless, I am not willing to subject them to this insecurity any longer; accused or not of doing what I do for money, I will secure a modest paycheck earned out of an honourable and altruistic job. My benefits will derive from the benefits of others. If you see me sporting flashy cars and living in a mansion, then you will have every right to sling mud my way, but bank on this, that will never happen. Riches for me are measured in terms of what you give, not what you take. And in this sense, I am one of the richest men on the planet, I will continue to give everything I have, except my self-respect.
And as I venture to earn this pay, to honour my duty as a father and a husband, I will submit my bank statements for the world to see. Thus you will all be able to see that while I have risked life and limb, as do so many others, I have done so with little to no reward in financial terms; and yet some very stupid or very evil people, have been spreading the lie, that I do what I do for money. I do not say this to defend myself, really I don’t, I say this to help others understand, because enough of us must understand in order to create a better world.
But I am telling all the idiots right now; I will not take on the full time job of responding to every spurious claim made about me. After I show my bank statements, the next charge will be that I have taken cash payments which were never deposited. How will I prove this false? The answer is there is no way to disprove this, and that is why such charges will inevitably come. The idiots will buy it, I do accept this, but the thinking people, those not clouded by jealousy, insecurity, cynicism and outright stupidity, you are the ones I am talking to now. You are the ones that matter, idiots do as idiots do, it is irrelevant as long as thinking, conscientious people do what they can do. And that really is the question, will enough of us do what we are capable of doing?
I have made it a goal of mine to help the stupid people who bite hook, line and sinker into the slander written and said about me, and I will help you. I will help you see the character assassination trash for what it is, and how it makes the Zionists and the tyrants smile. But I will not dedicate limitless time to this endeavor. I will do it because I know many of the idiots, like myself when I was a US Marine, are not bad people. You are just stupid, and easily manipulated, a crime worth forgiving. Like myself 20 years ago you deserve some love and effort, how could I not extend to you what was given to me when I was once you?
But the rest of you, the insidiously false “allies”, you I am happy to expose. You are often the neo-liberal wanker “activists”, you make us Western people of good heart look like the enemy. You are even worse then the direct enemies, at least they are much more honest about where they stand. You on the other hand are the people who destroy the capacity of good people in the West to express genuine brotherhood and sisterhood with our non-Western family. The damage you do is incalculable, and exposing you is a task of significant importance.
And so I return to the women, the women in my life are the core of my strength. Ultimate love and respect to all the sane and beautiful women out there. In me you have a brother or a son, look at me as you would your blood brother or your beloved son, and I in turn I shall give what you deserve of me. You, the true woman, you are our greatest hope; you are at the center of a just and peaceful future, I am born of you, and I will die of you.
During Operation Cast Lead Israel committed massive war crimes for all the world to see. Among these crimes the use of White Phosphorus in densely populated areas, use of Depleted Uranium, bombing civilian targets of all sorts without military necessity, destroying civilian infrastructure with no military justification and the infamous massacre of the Samouni family… among many other crimes.
In the aftermath of Cast Lead, Justice Richard Goldstone, a Zionist Jew, was commissioned by the United Nations to write a report on the alleged war crimes. Although the report did not go nearly far enough in exposing the brutality of all the crimes committed, crimes committed by the fourth largest military in the world against a essentially defenceless and captive population, it did allege that Israel (and Hamas) was almost undoubtedly guilty of war crimes and possibly, crimes against humanity.
But on April 1st, 2011 Justice Goldstone had an apparent change of heart and effectively said that he was wrong. With regard to the Samouni family he said, Israel simply made a mistake. It seems that the world in which we live in, a world of impunity for the favoured Israeli state, is set to continue. Unless of course we the people decide enough is enough. – Ken O’Keefe
We are looking at sending at least one bus from the UK to Gaza, loaded with materials to set up the Samouni Family Community Centre/Classroom. We would like to do this in the next couple of weeks so we need many things to happen very fast if we are to meet such a deadline. Keep in mind that there are about 112 Samouni kids, two years on from Operation Cast Lead with hardly any support in so many regards, so the sooner we make a difference the better. For 112 kids the requested items that follow are pretty modest; we will look to expand the facilities for sure, with a full educational complex planned, but the goal at this moment is ambitious yet realistic, it really is up to all of us. I am hoping everyone who reads this will give something, big or small. Now is the time to have a functioning classroom and community centre ASAP for this family. We have met with the family and consulted them at length, what they want, including the children, is a real learning facility where the kids can get back to where they were before Operation Cast Lead. We have the teachers ready to go here in Gaza, teachers the kids love, we just need to get the classroom up and running.
Yesterday we managed to arrange an Internet connection for the classroom; this took some bargaining I can tell you as the Samouni’s are not in the urban part of Gaza. We are building the official Samouni Project website right now, we have some great people on this; the site is going to be outstanding. The website will have photos and videos of the family, the children are keen to begin writing blogs (with automatic translations from Arabic to English), and there will eventually be a forum where the family can interact with people from around the world. This is one of my primary goals, to connect people outside of Gaza with the family, to create an extended Samouni family.
Items/Materials/Support sought immediately;
1) A UK based coordinator to facilitate this project, this is a volunteer job.
2) A mechanic or someone very good with vehicles that can travel to Retford, Nottinghamshire, in order to make sure the vehicle is sound and as purchased.
3) We need the vehicle MOT’d and taxed by hopefully the same person above.
4) Costs covered to put vinyl graphics on the bus, such as the Samouni Project logo as well as the logos of our sponsors.
5) Costs for food, fuel, tax, MOT, and insurance for the drive to Gaza.
6) Sponsors; we seek sponsors from unions, organizations, Mosques, community and Palestine Solidarity groups. We propose a minimum donation of £100 to become a sponsor, but anything will help so we encourage everyone no matter what you can contribute.
7) We will need at least two or three drivers who will have to sleep in or just outside the bus in order to ensure security.
8) More Vehicles: if we can get a couple more vehicles, possibly even a bus that can carry the whole family in Gaza, which would be great. There are good deals on vehicles and maybe people will have a vehicle or two that they would like to donate to the family, a work van would be ideal, but any working vehicle will be extremely valuable to the family.
9) Computers: Ideally we will bring 12 desktop computers, mouse, keyboard, computer speakers and if possible, 12 laptop computers so each household will also have something in their home.
10) Office Chairs – 12 is perfect.
11) Webcams with Microphone Headsets for Skype calling.
12) Laser Jet Printer/Copy/Fax/Scanner with refill ink cartridges.
13) Laminating Machine with lamination sheets.
14) Digital Cameras, the more the better, all the kids love cameras.
15) LCD Projector and screen.
16) Small generator, big enough to power a small home.
17) A nice Globe for teaching.
18) Large World Map for wall.
19) Quality books with emphasis on education, history, science, etc. English is great, but if people have Arabic language books as well, that will be fantastic.
20) We hope to bring 50 English teaching books which we already have a teacher to teach with, here is the link to the book we need; http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Headway-Beginner-Students-English/dp/0194376311/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301319517&sr=8-1-fkmr1
21) We are looking for a carpenter to build Custom Bookcase and deliver to London very soon.
22) If a carpenter can work right away, we can give dimensions and precut some material for long desktops to be used for the computers and classroom.
23) Lighting, good quality lighting, LED’s lighting would be ideal so the electricity consumption is low. But we want something other than fluorescent lights, something warm and nice to read and learn with.
24) Musical instruments, if you have an instrument that you can give for these children to experiment with and play; this will be a beautiful contribution. Does somebody have a Piano?
25) Office supplies, paper, paper clips, notebooks, pens, pencils (coloured as well), markers, pencil sharpener, etc.
26) Arts & Crafts of all sorts.
27) Puppets and educational toys.
28) A telescope, this has been asked for, would be great.
29) Tiles to lay on the floor, this is roughly a 10×15 metre space.
Items that would be good to bring now as well;
3) Kids football shoes.
4) Anything of value that might be useful.
If you have or are willing to purchase any of these items then please do so and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (please put ‘Samouni Project’ in the subject field). If you can provide a service, volunteer to drive to Gaza or be a coordinator then again, please email me.
The following are not likely to be arranged immediately, but maybe, you never know. But even if we cannot get these things now, I would like people to know of our longer-term goals and start looking around for ways to make this happen as well.
Supporting Independence for the family; long-term items sought;
1) We would bring a machine that can process Tomatoes into sauce. The Samouni family are farmers and if they had an industrial machine of this type they would be able to really get back on their feet and be independent soon. I will get more details of the exact type of machine that would be ideal tomorrow, if you think you can help with this then message me please.
2) A loom, an industrial loom that would allow the family to make Kuffiyeh’s, if we do this I am sure the family will have a real income with exported Kuffiyeh’s, made in Gaza, with the Samouni Family brand on it.
3) Building materials to make a small factory/warehouse.
And last, something that would just be wonderful for the entire family, especially the boys;
1) 1) The materials to build a 5 on 5 football pitch, the cement for the foundation, the padding and artificial grass, the walls, goals, bleachers, lighting for night time play.
I am already planning to make a video with the kids inviting FC Barcelona to come out this summer and do a football camp. I am making it clear to the kids that there are no guarantees, but if we try, we have a good chance of getting a result.
I would like to say to everyone reading this just one thing. If we really care, we will make this next phase happen and we will do so within a couple of weeks. We can do anything we set our minds to and what is asked for to make this project happen is completely doable. We all have something to offer, the question is what do you have to offer?
To my Muslim and Arab brothers and sisters, the Samouni’s are your direct family; please make this project happen now. As a community, you alone could make this happen within a week.
Love and respect to everyone who is helping with this, you are blessing yourself big time by contributing, believe me I know this all too well.
To make a contribution right now go to; http://www.indiegogo.com/Samouni-Family-Community-Centre-Classroom-1?c=comments%2F923%2Fdescription%2F0%2F0