By Yousef M. Aljamal, CPDS
On Wednesday 2nd May the Gaza Center for Political and Development Studies staged a ceremony to award a group of writers and activists addressing prisoners’ issues. The ceremony, sponsored by The Islamic Society-Jabalyia (ISJ) and Viva Palestina-Malaysia, was attended by dozens of activists at the prisoners’ tent at the Square of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City.
“This event takes place in order to support Palestinian political prisoners in their struggle for their inalienable human rights. A year ago, CPDS announced a creative writing contest to promote prisoners rights. We received more than 20 submissions by activists from different countries. This competition is to encourage people to keep telling the story of Palestinians’ suffering. Today we are celebrating those activists and encouraging other young writers who can convey the message of those who sacrificed their happiness, families and future to defend our collective rights as Palestinians,” said Dr Mahmoud Alhirthani, CPDS chairman.
“Without the support of different bodies, this effort would not have succeeded. Thanks to the Islamic Society in Jabalia and thanks to Viva Palestina Malaysia, who help CPDS and provide us with the support necessary to stand by the prisoners. This support is enabling an Arabic opera to be subtitled in English and a number of reports on the prisoners to be translated into English,” he added.
The event, the first of its kind in Gaza, was attended by ex-prisoner Chris Bandak, who was freed in the last swap which took place in October 2011 and deported to Gaza. In his speech, Bandak highlighted the importance of supporting prisoners.
“Palestinian prisoners expect us to stand by them. They have nothing to fight the armed soldiers with but their stomachs and resilience. If you fail them, you fail Palestine. They are the symbol of our eternal struggle,” he noted.
Eng. Abdul-Reheem Shihab, ISJ chairman, stressed the importance of supporting prisoners who are subjected to humiliation in the occupation jails. “The Society supported prisoners-related activities and will keep doing that,” he concluded.
The ceremony is one in a series CPDS has held to award young writers who write about Palestine. The center is set to hold a course on Writing Press Releases for the Western Media to get the word about Palestine out to the English speaking world and western media outlets.