Oxfam International Blogs - Egypt http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/tags/egypt es A global call for ending the sufferings of Syrians http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10267 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Thousands of Syrians continue to flee conflict every day, seeking safety in neighboring countries.</strong> Thursday 14 March marked the two year anniversary of the start of the crisis in Syria. Oxfam with partners around the region joined efforts to mark this day by organizing a candlelit vigil in different parts in the world. </p> <p>We publish below two messages from Oxfam teams and partners in Egypt and Jordan, about this <strong><a href="http://www.syriavigil.org%20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Global Vigil for Syria</a></strong> and the global call for <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis" target="_blank" title="Crisis in Syria" rel="nofollow">ending the sufferings of Syrians</a></strong>, a call which is more urgent than ever.</p> <h3>Cairo, Egypt</h3> <p><em>Message from Areeg Hegazi, Middle East Policy Adviser, Oxfam in Egypt</em></p> Areeg Hegazi <p>I was working with Gassad Wahed, a group of Egyptian youth working on relief work in a number of countries in the region to organize the vigil.  </p> <p>The vigil was organized in Moustafa Mahmoud Square, one of the busiest squares in Cairo. As we were gathering up, it was interesting to see that young men and women started to gather around us, each coming with something green to be able to recognize each other. Gassad Wahed had printed photos of Syrian people from outside and inside Syria. Some photos had the Syrian flag on it. One interesting photo one of the girls was holding was with two girls playing sea-saw in the middle of the rubble. We stood towards the outer end of the square each holding a photo. The group was a mix of Egyptians and Syrians and other nationalities too. Some came with the Syrian flag. As people were driving, they were slowing to look at the photos was then raising their voice cheering us.  Some were comparing the situation in Syria with Egypt. Others were sending encouragement messages, <strong>“Inshallaah this would be over soon”, “You’ll go back and reconstruct everything again”</strong>.  </p> <p>People on the vigil were interested to support for different reasons, some were very sympathetic with the Syrian people, especially the ones in refugee camps. A lot wanted to influence Arab countries to move and pressure Bashar to step down. Some were criticizing the current relief efforts that it’s not enough. <strong>Most people just wanted an end to the sufferings of Syrians.</strong></p> <p>As it was nearing dawn, we started to light up the candles, some of the young men and women started forming the letters Syria in Arabic on the floor which gave a good nice atmosphere and increased the visibility of the vigil. Just then, the electricity went off and there we were all standing with the candles, this lifted up the spirit of people as many considered it an invisible support for the vigil. <strong>Syrians in the vigil were touched with the numbers of Egyptians</strong> and with the opportunity to mark the anniversary being so far from home. They were very curious about the conditions of refugees in other countries knowing that Oxfam works with the refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. They kept on stressing how they were worried about the Syrians inside Syria and how they want to ensure that organizations and providing the help they need.</p> <p>Speaking with one of the organizers from Gassad Wahed about how <strong>women outnumbered the men in the vigil</strong>, he told me that mobilizing women was much easier because women related much more to the sufferings of women and children especially with the cold winter.</p> <p>One of the Syrian men in the vigil, said that the vigil is important to remind the world even the ones passing by us, about the Syrian crisis, about the people who are dying, leaving their houses, and they need help: "We are confident that the victory will come, we’ve seen it since two years ago, but we just want it to come faster."  </p> <p>A young girl was saying that Egyptians could have easily been in their position, and no one is helping them, I am confident that it’s the people that will help the Syrians and not the governments.</p> <p>I was very happy and proud to have supported in organizing and participating in the vigil. Even though this is a little move and probably won’t help in easing the suffering but sending the message to the World and to the Syrians that in spite of all the difficulties Egypt is passing by, <strong>our hearts are aching for our Syrian brothers and sisters</strong></p> <h3>Mafraq, Jordan</h3> <p></p> <p><em>Message from Stephanie Yousef, ARDD-Legal Aid - Media &amp; Advocacy Manager</em></p> <p>Jordanian human rights organization, <strong><a href="http://ardd-legalaid.org/" target="_blank" title="ardd-legalaid.org" rel="nofollow">ARDD-Legal Aid</a></strong>, hosted a Candlelight Vigil in Mafraq, Jordan on March, 14, 2013 in solidarity with the Syrian people.</p> <p><strong>ARDD-Legal Aid is the first Arab rights-based organization that is dedicated to fighting injustice</strong> through the promotion of human rights, democracy, and inclusive development in Jordan. The Syrian crisis has affected thousands of people and created an influx of refugees into Jordan. In this time of hardship ARDD-Legal Aid stands in solidarity with the Syrian people and works diligently for the voices of the refugees to be heard.</p> <p>March 14 marked the two year anniversary since the start of the crisis, ARDD-Legal Aid united Syrian refugees and Jordanian citizens to stand in solidarity. <strong>They stood together as one in this time of adversity and lit a candle for the innocent lives lost</strong> and for the inner hope that Syria will be a country of peace and a safe haven for their citizens to return to.</p> <p>ARDD-Legal Aid would like to thank all of our participants for the support and hope this event is just one example of unity and one step closer to peace in Syria.</p> <p>Please take a look at our video above, from the event, and take a glance at our photos at our <strong><a href="http://www.facebook.com/ardd-jo" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Facebook</a></strong> page. </p> <h3>Related links</h3> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="/en/blogs/13-03-18-global-vigil-marked-two-year-anniversary-conflict-syria" rel="nofollow">A Global Vigil marked two year anniversary of the conflict in Syria</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Donate to <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/syria-crisis#donate" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's Syria response</a> </strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>A global call for ending the sufferings of Syrians</h2></div> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:51:51 +0000 Céline Grey 10267 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10267#comments Visiting the Rubicon http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/8757 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>A truck load of Pampers is driven into the Kerem Shalom crossing ahead of us.  One consignment of 36 wooden pallets piled to a height of 160 cm. Not enough to meet the household needs in <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/gaza" rel="nofollow"><strong>Gaza</strong></a> where 170 babies are born every day. “We have seen a lot of Pampers and toilet rolls recently,” confides the Israeli army major who is assigned to liaise with the humanitarian community. Also macaroni and spaghetti now that they been approved at the political level of the Israeli administration.</p> <p>I am here with thirteen colleagues from the humanitarian community, three middle ranking Israeli soldiers and the manager of Kerem Shalom. Twenty adults earnestly discussing baby nappies and the security significance of pasta.  Meanwhile inside Gaza eight thousand families are waiting for the materials to rebuild the homes that were destroyed nearly three months ago.</p> <p>It has been a long drive to get here. Nearly two hours from Jerusalem including half an hour on the road since we passed the turn off to Karni’s purpose build commercial crossing into and out of Gaza. The Israeli government closed the Karni crossing in June 2007 after Hamas took control of Gaza. Since then all of Gaza’s supplies have been rerouted forty kilometers further south. Once they are inside Gaza the supplies are taken forty kilometers back north to the Gaza City area where most of the population live. Half an hour provides time to do the maths and think about the answer. Seven hundred trucks a week driving 40 kilometers further to use Kerem Shalom. That is 28,000 extra kilometers driven, and the same again inside Gaza every week. It adds up to nearly three million kilometers a year, using 2 million litres of diesel, over a million pounds’ worth at local prices.</p> <p>We stand in the wind that is blowing straight across from Egypt, less than two hundred meters away. Two truck drivers bicker, pushing one another in the queue to get their paperwork checked. Once one is cleared he drives his truck another hundred metres into the complex. We follow in our white UN bus, complete with a pile of blue helmets and body armor on the back seat in case there is an attack while we are here. Kerem Shalom is in an Israeli military area at the intersection of Gaza, Israel and Egypt. It has frequently been targeted by Palestinian armed groups in the past. A year ago a truck load of explosives was detonated by a suicide bomber. That shut the crossing for months. We are reminded that this is also where <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilad_Shalit" rel="nofollow"><strong>Gilad Shalit</strong></a> was abducted over 1,000 days ago. Policy won’t change until he has been freed we have been told.</p> <p>Kerem Shalom’s operations manager says his main aim is getting humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. However, he always gives priority to security, “If there is any danger for people, I will close the crossing immediately.” He describes how his operation is hemmed in. On one side, by problems getting his Palestinian workers to work on time: “Hamas is controlling everything, they hold up the workers coming from Gaza”. On the other hand he is ordered to manage up to 150 trucks a day although he says he could handle 400 or 500. “It depends on the policy.” Since June 2007, the Israeli government policy is that nothing other than humanitarian aid goes into Gaza.</p> <p>A truck drives away from unloading area b with several pallets still on board.  Tell-tale X shaped cuts in the packaging have revealed cosmetics instead of hygiene supplies. Rejected as not humanitarian in nature. On the ground in area b are lines of pallets loaded with goods that have passed the inspection. They have been offloaded from the Israeli trucks. Now they wait here for area b to be sealed and the shuttle to take them on the next stage of their journey. On the other side of the concrete screen the shuttle is at work in area a. Kerem Shalom works its pair of unloading areas in sequence. One is filled while the other empties. We troop off to the manager’s office to see the next stages of the operation projected onto his wall.</p> <p>Our host toggles the control of a remote camera to zoom in on a shuttle of sterile trucks. We look down on the empty lorries as they return from the Palestinian loading area just a hundred meters or so further in towards the Gaza Strip. They trundle into area b to be loaded and return to the Palestinian side to be unloaded minutes later. All day long they shuttle. Every piece of humanitarian aid has been loaded onto a pallet, wrapped in plastic and labelled before it began its long journey to Kerem Shalom. It has been unloaded from one truck onto the ground. It has been loaded onto the shuttle truck and unloaded again. Towards the end of the day it will be picked up a third time to be loaded finally onto a Palestinian truck to be taken into Gaza.</p> <p>The manager’s wall reveals one further feature of Kerem Shalom’s armory against smuggling and bombs. In a separate concrete-walled compound whole truckloads of pallets can be x-rayed. Smuggling is a real concern. Its not just lipstick and aftershave. Spare truck tires have been found packed with computer chips. A fake bomb was spotted just days before, “Israeli security put that in there to test us and we found it.” Our host and his team are keeping one step ahead of the businessmen and the security services who are trying to catch them out.  </p> <p>One final question, “If I have a truck load of children’s sports shoes, will they be allowed in?” I ask. The major will have to see, and if there is a problem he will ask his superiors he tells us. “So is there a list you will check?” The major seems weary, “The list, the list, you are always asking for a list.” If there is one it seems we shall not be getting a copy. We shall continue to do our best. Each of us in our own sterile compartment. Shut off by concrete and policy from the others. Drip feeding a million and a half people suspended in dependency while we wait for the policy to change so that they can take care of themselves.</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Visiting the Rubicon</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blog/09-04-07-cruzando-el-rubicon" title="Cruzando el Rubicón" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blog/09-04-07-visite-au-rubicon" title="Visite au Rubicon" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Tue, 07 Apr 2009 11:32:15 +0000 Michael Bailey 8757 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/8757#comments