A farmer under occupation

Awad Melhim, a Palestinian farmer, talks about climate change the occupation and his love for the land. He is part of the cooperative of farmers whose produce is marketed and imported by Zaytoun, whose West Bank coordinator, Taysir Abassi will be speaking at smnall park BIG RUN in the Palestine Voices Tent on June 22nd.

Your efforts at #spBR2024 will help the children play!

The past months in Gaza have been terrible. A child’s experience will be to have seen rampant and incessant killing, constant noise of drones buzzing and bombs exploding, the screams of people in mourning or of the injured and a terrifying sense of jeopardy.

In spite of this, children will come out to play and laugh. We have had incredible short videos from the ruins in Gaza City where some of the team working with Sheffield PSC Emergency Relief Fund have organised some clowning about!

The first session took place in the middle of the devastation in Al Shijaiya east of Gaza city. This work before October 2023 was through “Qayis Centre for Psychological and Community Support” .

With your help at small park BIG RUN, work will be extended further north and in Rafah and Khan Younis .

#spBR2024 – Katelyn’s marathon for the BIG SING

So, we are not quite up and running for 2024 yet but we have a date: 22nd June and 23rd June. Please save it. And we have a theme: Land and Food, which we mention briefly, below.

Someone who is up and running right here right now is longtime supporter and co-organiser, Katelyn.

Katelyn was so keen to enter the 2024 Palestine Marathon she got number 7. But the Palestine Marathon has been postponed, so she is pounding our Sheffield concrete and will run a solidarity marathon on March 2nd, raising money to contribute to this year’s BIG SING for Palestine: please help her smash her target of £1500.

(see last year’s BIG SING below – hanky required)

Land and food

This year, as the land is being pounded, buildings destroyed, people crushed and dispersed and civil society crumbling, it seems looking hard at land justice and food sovereignty is essential.

How can Palestinians protect their food system from field to fork; and generate economic benefits through food exports? Today it seems further away than ever. In Gaza which is overrun by the IDF and in the West Bank which is under constant attack from settlers, the challenges are massive.

We hope to have representatives from Via Campesina and other experts in Palestinian food to guide us through the issues. And we will have a community meal in the park on Saturday evening. Details to come soon!

Solidarity and tree share deep roots

As we move to Autumn, we celebrate this year’s midsummer small park BIG RUN with a short film.

Inspired by the wonderful words of Mahmoud Soliman, the poetry and courage of Feryal and Arwa in Hebron and helped by the stunning photography of Ahmad Al Baz, Trees and Sumud is a short film paying homage to Palestinian trees and Palestinian resilience.

Arwa and Feryal sit by their tree resolute in its defence:

Solidarity events in Khan Younis and New Horizons 2023

Thanks the the Vanguard Video Unit in Gaza for producing this film. It interleaves footage of our event in Sheffield and the wonderful events in Gaza that took place at the same time: one by the children at Never Stop Dreaming Association in Khan Younis, the other at New Horizons Children’s Centre based at Nusseirat Refugee Camp.

The children in Khan Younis are remembering their friend Lian Al Shaier, who was 12 when she was killed by an Israeli bombing raid last year. You will see them holding her picture.

Trees behind the fence – a Palestinian voice

As in all past years, we surround the run with events that we hope raise awareness about Palestine and give voice to Palestinians. This year was no exception with talks in the Palestinian Voices tent.

Before these talks, on Saturday, we were joined by Mahmoud Zwahre, activist and academic who helped plant a solidarity tree in Meersbrook Park.

This was accompanied by Catherine reading a poem, Trees Behind The Fence, translated by our friend and comrade Arwa, who sadly died during covid but spent many days and hours, as Catherine explains in this video, defending her land from Israeli settler diggers trying to force her, as a Palestinian, off her land.

Trees behind the fence. Words are printed below

Our Trees Behind the Fence
On the day when our trees were cut
On the day when our land was fenced in
They gave me all sorts of excuses.
They said to me your trees are not legal
Your trees are not citizens
No religion forbids killing these trees.
I said, Oh God: Our Trees after today won’t bloom behind the
fence. Our sky after
today won’t rain behind the fence.
But there they are now; putting out new shoots,
coming to life again and I see the beautiful smile
tempting me
the almond trees calling me, saying “Get angry, be
upset but don’t stay crying for me.”

There they are now. Sending me a fragrant greeting
every morning. Oh our trees behind the fence
I thought that being fenced in would suffocate the perfume of your blossom.
I thought that being cut would be the end of you. There you are now blossoming again and sending out new shoots. Your roots in the
depths of the earth are not destroyed by being fenced in or cut.
Your roots in the depths of the earth are strong enough to defy
hurricanes .

Peace to you a thousand times our trees behind the fence God
bless you and protect you from all evil and wickedness.

Feryal Abu Haikal
(translated by Arwa Abu Haikal)
Tel Rumeida\ Hebron Palestine.

what a weekend #spbr23 was!

What a fantastic weekend that was!

Everything we hoped for, and so much more. Thank you all so much for coming!

Once we’ve sorted them, we’ll be posting a lot of photos over the coming week. Watch this space. Here are a few to whet your appetite.

And here is a lovely cut of the BIG SING from the Green Party; many thanks to Graham Wroe for producing this so quickly. And thank you all for taking part. We will have more over the next weeks.

When is the best time to run and marshal?

With one week to go it is time to sign up!

You can see from these ‘heatmaps’ when we most need help ensuring the run is supported and safe. Click on the images in the slides to get a full screen image.

  • Heatmap for marshals. Click to view.

You might not think it but signing up to take part at night time or very early morning is exciting, fun and invigorating . Owls, foxes and supportive marshals can be spotted making all sorts of noises, from hoots to hoorays!