Free Gaza Squar, Cairo

Others have already describe parts of yesterday’s events elsewhere. As Starhawk writes about the process of moving us from the street to the sidewalk.

“Another couple of people piled onto me and her. The cops were really mad, but also confused. They kicked one guy and grabbed him really roughly to pull him off, but no sooner did they have him than someone else dove through five lines of police and launched himself onto the pile Every time they got rid of one person, someone else appeared. It was one of the most powerful moments of practical solidarity I’ve ever seen and I would have liked to savor it but almost immediately we were all being pushed, shoved, pummeled and pressed back onto the curb across the street. Our pile of people on the bottom half of Lisa got pushed one way-the top half of her went another and I lost her.

I ended up on the curb smack in front of the lines of cops trying to shove us back, along with a mass of people.”

And about the space we held in central Cairo for much of the day:
“We all felt great about the action.
Against all odds, we had done what we set out to do-to say to the Egyptian authorities and the world, “if you won’t let us go to Gaza, we’ll simply start from here and walk.” If you want to stop us, you’ll have to physically stop us-we won’t comply with your orders. And if you physically stop us, then we will have brought Gaza to Cairo-we will dramatize for the eyes of the world the situation that the people of Gaza are in. This pen, this improvised prison in the central square is another annex to the huge, open-air prison that Gaza has become, where a million and a half people live in the most densely crowded conditions on earth, where the Israelis control the borders and decide who can get in and who can get out, rationing out the necessities of life, b;ocking the materials of reconstruction and the means of livelihood for the Gazan people.

So we held the space throughout the day, with songs and chants and drumbeats, with shared food and water and an improvised pee station.”

While some of us wanted to keep the space until after midnight, i.e. the new year, the collective decision was to leave on our own terms after 4 pm, in small groups so everyone was safe. The day and the year ended with a vigil for Gaza in Tahrir Square.

Today, January first, non-Zionist Jews led a rally with hundreds of international GFMers in front of the Israeli embassy. Some of the hunger-strikers (includy Hedy Epstein) had broken their fast earlier in the day, the rest broke their fast at a Shabbat prayer led by Rabbi Lynn, as they shared bread in a Shabbat ceremony and sang of Shalom (peace) in the midst of a high-spirited crowd.


David Heap

David Heap

David Heap is a parent of two and a life-long peace and social justice activist. A University of Western Ontario faculty member (French & linguistics), he is particularly interested in connecting...