Friday, 7 August 2009

Gaza:o tornamento Rachel Corrie Ramadan de Football

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

2009 Rachel Corrie Ramadan Soccer Tournament, Gaza

The Rachel Corrie Football Tournament is a way of promoting healing.

By John Harvey - Olympia, Washington

"Reeling from the Israeli occupation, a crippling siege and the after-shocks of a violent factional struggle, Palestinians in Gaza face a grim and grinding daily fight to prevent social collapse and cultural extinction."

This was my assessment after I visited Gaza in the winter of 2008 as a citizen-representative of Sister Cities International. With the added brutality and destruction of the December massacre, the situation has since worsened.

In the US, the question I hear from many people is “What can I do to help?” There are many ways to become involved and make a difference, but for me the answer came directly from my friends in Gaza.

As an officer of the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project and a friend of Rachel Corrie’s family, my travels took me to Rafah, where my friends Khaled and Adnan live. It was there I was introduced to a special community project.

We toured a field located at the border between Gaza and Egypt: a wasteland where Israel had demolished whole neighborhoods to create a ‘security’ buffer. Not far from here, Rachel Corrie died defending a home while Khaled’s wife and children watched fearfully from inside.

The community had cleared the rubble that was once their neighborhood. There was no hope of rebuilding (Israel allows no construction supplies to enter Gaza). So with great effort they leveled it off, placed sand over it and dubbed it the “Unity Field." Its purpose was to provide a safe community space that provided not only a respite from the brutality of the Israeli siege but one which was free of Gazan factional enmity.

Khaled and Adnan told me they wanted to put on a special event at the field for Ramadan: the "Rachel Corrie Soccer Tournament.” “Rachel did not think in terms of this faction or that faction,” Khaled explained. “She joined us in our struggle for justice as Palestinians.”

Adnan, who worked with Rachel Corrie with youth in Gaza, added, “The great fear is that factional divisions are driving the young in the wrong direction. There is an increase in rage amongst the youth as a result of infighting and lawlessness that have recently taken place in the Gaza Strip.” The result is a retreat from the basic values of good citizenship, democracy, participation and humanitarian action, all replaced by the exchange of accusations and violent actions.”

Khaled and Adnan had conceived the Rachel Corrie Football Tournament as a way of promoting healing within their own community and providing relief from the intense stress caused by the dire situation, particularly as it affects youth.

I was captivated by the project and returned to the United State determined to help them achieve their goal. We raised enough money to support the first Rachel Corrie Soccer Tournament during Ramadan 2008. It was a tremendous success that provided a lively tournament for the whole Yebana community, with prizes for the winning team and a festive finale. Please visit our website to see photos and commentary.

Gaza is an intensely traumatized land. Her people need investments to help them rebuild relationships, trust, and community. "It is not enough just to eat and be alive," was a refrain I heard again and again. "We need help creating programs that support our community and young people. We need activities that relieve the intense stress of the occupation and siege, that sustain our spirit and bring us together."

The 2009 Rachel Corrie Ramadan Soccer Tournament Fundraiser is underway, and we ask you to join us in supporting this innovative, community-developed event. Help strengthen the Gaza community by providing a wholesome activity for young and old during the celebration of Ramadan.

To learn more and make secure online donation visit us at:

Or send your tax-deductible check to:

1101 Eighth Street, Suite 100, Berkeley, CA , 94710
(Please indicate “Rafah Soccer” in the memo line.)

-John Harvey is a Buddhist Priest and a great admirer of the Palestinian people. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

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