City’s women give warmly to support Palestinians living in Gaza

2011-11-21 00:00

MORE than 500 women packed the Campsdrift Function Centre in Barnsley Road on Saturday to hear the remarkable story of two South African women who travelled in an aid convoy from Cape Town to Gaza.

Shenaaz Farred told the gathering that they did not know if they would come back alive when they set off. She said there were 67 members of the team and it reminded her of former President Nelson Mandela’s initiative of doing a good deed in 67 minutes. “This was our part of giving back.”

Farred said the trip was life-changing and the suffering and pain of the Palestinian people who live under siege and constant attack from the Israeli army is engraved in her heart forever.

She said Gaza was being bombed right until the day they got there. “We knew about the bombings and yet we were never afraid,” she said.

Farred told how the convoy travelled through Egypt to the Gaza border. They had to pass many checkpoints but did not experience any problems. “The Egyptian army escorted us right through and handed us to the Palestinians saying: ‘here are your guests’.”

Their convoy was warmly welcomed even by children who stayed up past midnight waiting for their arrival. The goods they took included two shiploads of medical supplies, which were used in three months because of the dire shortage.

At the function the women dug deep into their pockets to raise funds for Palestinian aid. Besides buying tickets to attend the function, which included a sumptious lunch of Middle Eastern delicacies, they bought a variety of goods from wild olive trees, bottles of rose water and recipe books. Jewellery and an abaya were also auctioned off.

The three Palestinian women, who acted as guides to their South African counterparts, were contacted through Skype and were able to see the gathering and explain first hand what it was like living under siege.

Farred reminded the women that the assistance for Palestine was not just a Muslim cause, because Christian Palestinians were also the target of the Israeli army and churches were being bombed.

The function was organised by the Women In Defence of Al-Quds — a Palestine support organisation; the Al-Ansaar Foundation which runs a Muslim community radio station and the Women’s Cultural Group in Pietermaritzburg.


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