The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Please Help Put A Smile On The Faces Of Palestine’s Poorest Children This Christmas

Margaret Quinn • 28 November 2004

The countdown to Christmas has begun and, no doubt, most people’s minds are increasingly consumed by thoughts of the dreaded Christmas shopping. So much to search for in overcrowded shops - gifts for family and friends, as well as children’s “surprise” toys from Santa who has, most likely, already received many letters containing huge catalogues of “I wants” from the little dears! Then, of course, there is the planning, buying for, and organising of that all important Christmas centre piece, the “perfect” dinner which, in my case anyway, has yet to live up to expectation no matter how great the effort I expend on it.

As a mother and grandmother, I know well how frantically busy and stressful Christmas can be, especially, often solely, for women. Despite this however, I ask you to please add one more thing to your ever growing list of “must does” this Christmas. I ask that you please remember the people in occupied Palestine, especially the children. Preferring to adhere to the humanitarian, rather than political, situation - as much as possible anyway - suffice to say that, after decades of Israel’s progressively brutal and suffocating occupation, the social and economic conditions in Palestine are now truly dire. Orphans abound and, according to most reputable humanitarian agencies and organisations, poverty and malnutrition levels - the latter, particularly among young children - are on a par with sub-Saharan Africa. Palestinians, as a people living on their own land, have been pushed practically to the edge of extinction. With hunger, water deprivation and trauma their constant daily companions, they struggle on, fighting for their freedom, justice, and dignity, whilst adapting to and enduring everything the occupation throws at them. Their determination and fortitude, in the face of international silence, constantly amazes not just me, but those international and Israeli peace activists who stand alongside them.

We can help in their struggle, and in a very simple, tangible way – a way that will make a real difference. A young Palestinian living in America, Riad Hamad, runs the charity, Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund (PCWF), a Fair Trade website for Palestinian products. PCWF is a totally non-profit making, “religion blind,” non-governmental organisation. Its aims are twofold; to provide the poorest, most deprived children of occupied Palestine, Christian and Muslim, with their most basic needs, like food, clothing, health care and educational implements (pencils, notebooks, school-bags, etc.): and to promote fair trade for Palestine farmers, women's groups and wood craft artisans, thus enabling them to feed their families.
Every single penny of PCWF profits (and donations; tax deductible in the USA) goes directly to the children and projects it sponsors throughout occupied Palestine (the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem). Administrative costs are nil, due to staff consisting entirely of hard working, highly dedicated volunteers, as well as public and private benefactors, of all religions (including Jewish), who wish to ensure all the money raised reaches Palestine’s most needy children.

As to the goods themselves – what can I say?! The quality is superb and the range is vast. From lapel pins to olive oil soap, to great tee-shirts, to kuffiyas (scarves), to hand made Christmas decorations, cards and cribs – all sorts of Palestinian arts and crafts can be found in this virtual Aladdin’s cave. And for those who both care enough, and have the wherewithal to do so, there is also a facility to either partially or fully sponsor a Palestinian child. The children’s photos – their innocent little faces, smiling in spite of so much adversity - would almost break one’s heart!

Then there is the tree planting service, which gives people world wide the opportunity to plant an olive or orange tree in Palestine. A tree can be planted for any reason – to honour or thank a friend; in memory of a deceased loved one; or simply as a gift to someone you care for.

As to Palestinian people themselves, two very important points must be borne in mind: First, they do NOT want to live on charity. By selling their goods at a fair price they manage to retain the one thing over which - in at least one aspect of their lives - they have a small modicum of control – their dignity. Second, most of their products have been, and continue to be, made during the long, Israeli imposed curfews. Throughout these prolonged, tedious days, weeks and sometimes months, men and boys while away the monotony by carving beautiful olive wood ornaments, whilst women and girls employ themselves in exquisitely detailed embroidery.

I urge you to please visit, explore, and order at least one item – no matter how small – from the PCWF website. After two to three years ordering from it, I can confirm that every single item has been delivered safely and promptly, normally within about ten to fifteen days, although more recently, with Israel’s tightening of movement in occupied Palestine affecting stock maintenance, delivery time has taken a little longer.

Please help put a smile on the beautiful faces of Palestine’s poorest children this Christmas by showing them that, despite the international community of so-called “World Leaders” having turned its back to their plight, many ordinary people around the world really do care about them and their welfare. Let us show them, tangibly, they are not alone. To most of us, ordering a lapel pin, key ring, or kaffiya costing just a couple of pounds, is a very small thing. But to a hungry Palestinian child, it may well mean the difference between him or her having adequate food and water for at least one day.

Email Riad Hamad should further information or assistance be required.






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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

28 November 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Anthony McIntyre

The Cost of the Failure of Politicians is Immeasurable
Mick Hall

A Provisional Pushover
Tom Luby

Seeing What You Want to See
Eoin O Broin

Puritan Death Ethic: Ronan Bennett’s Havoc, in its third year
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Mairtin O Cadhain
Liam O Ruairc

Please Help Put A Smile On The Faces Of Palestine’s Poorest Children This Christmas
Margaret Quinn

23 November 2004

Dropping the Last Veil
Tommy Gorman

No Place for Silence
Anthony McIntyre

The Vacuum

The Unpopular Front: James T. Farrell then, Margaret Hassan now
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Reflection on an Election
Patrick Hurley

New Work on Perry Anderson
Liam O Ruairc

I, a Collaborator
Dorothy Naor

The Murder of Margaret Hassan
Ghali Hassan

The Orange Order and the KKK
Richard Wallace



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