DAILY STAR EGYPT
By Sarah Carr
February 6, 2009
CAIRO: Fourteen activists from Egypt, the US, the UK, Spain, Poland and France marched “to Gaza” on Friday in solidarity with Palestinians.
Beginning in Shobra, North Cairo, the activists marched to Kafr Hamza in the neighboring Qaliubiya governorate.
Activists Philip Rizk, one of the march organizers, explained that he hoped this would be the first of many activities organized in solidarity with Palestinians.
“We anticipated that when Israeli bombing stopped, the momentum would end and we were right,” Rizk said, “but we wanted to follow up on this momentum with a series of popular actions.”
The group started their campaign on Jan. 23 to coincide with the anniversary of the breach of the Egypt-Gaza border in 2008.
At the time, tens of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip crossed into Egypt to stock up on fuel, food and other supplies not available in Gaza because of the ongoing Israeli siege.
“The march is a reminder of the continuing suffering in Palestine, which is a political problem — we don’t want to join the humanitarian bandwagon,” said Rizk, adding that 85 percent of Gazans rely on aid.
The campaign website, ToGaza.net, is being sent out to similar groups all over the world to “encourage people to do whatever they think is right to raise awareness about the situation in Palestine.”
A statement on the website reads: “We hope for the call to spread organically and to look different in different places around the world. …Our resistance is ignored and obscured by the hypocrisy of our respective governments and so we, the multitude, have no choice but to take to the streets in a collective global expression of condemnation of Israel’s actions.”
Pablo De Soto, a Spanish architect and artist based in Cairo, described the march as “imaginative,” saying it is an unusual form of protest in Egypt, highlighting the apt timing of the start of the campaign with the anniversary of the border breach.
Abigail, an American who preferred not to use her last name, said she joined the march because she believes that her own government is complicit in the Palestinian problem.
The marchers reached their destination, but were stopped by 15 police officers on their way home and were asked to show their identification documents.