Sail 4 Syria Update

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Maria, Simon and Rumi on shore

Paul, who also made the video of Maria and Simon’s departure which can be seen here https://vimeo.com/101240401, went down to Gravesend on Saturday 19th July and has kindly provided us with a short report (with photographs) about how they’ve been getting on:

“Maria and Simon spent the whole of last week at Gravesend Sailing Club.
The club’s hospitality and help was way beyond the call of duty. Maria
and Simon were allowed to sleep inside the club house and members of the
club repaired and configured the boat to make it fit for the journey.
Apparently, after hauling the boat out of the water, four holes in the
hull were discovered. The sailing club members made all of the necessary
repairs for free. There was also lots of advice on how to proceed with
their adventure in probably the most amazingly sociable and friendly
place you could imagine. As well as helping with the boat repairs and
making preparations for the next stage of the journey, Maria and Simon
also pitched in at the club house doing cooking, cleaning and lots of
tea making. I was certainly carrying a few extra pounds when I left
after munching my way through sausage, egg and beans and a huge lentil
curry. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to find out about the
people at the club. But I got photos of Mike and Colin who were part of
the team helping out with the boat. Maria and Simon have also promised
to go back and give a talk about their journey upon their return.
Weather permitting, Maria and Simon should have set sail again at 7am on
Sunday (20th July).”

GravesendSailingClub

Thank you to everyone at Gravesend Sailing Club for supporting Maria, Simon and Sail 4 Syria. We look forward to sharing more news of their voyage as it develops.

In peace,

Russ

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Colin and Maria

Sail 4 Syria updated departure details

Update: Sunday 13th July 2014

Maria and Simon set off from central London on their Sail 4 Syria odyssey to Lebanon yesterday afternoon.

After spending last night in South Dock in Rotherhithe, this afternoon they will continue eastwards past the Thames flood barrier in Woolwich.

Please support Maria and Simon in any way you can, such as by making a donation to Sail 4 Syria and/or the Syrian Eyes appeal.

Maria and Simon row off down the Thames from central London, 12 July 2014 - Image (c) 2014 D. Viesnik / Syria Peace & Justice)

Maria and Simon row off down the Thames from central London, 12 July 2014 – Image (c) 2014 D. Viesnik / Syria Peace & Justice)

*** More photos from Saturday’s departure from central London: ***

https://picasaweb.google.com/vd2012.pics/Sail4SyriaDepartureFromCentralLondon

http://www.demotix.com/news/5239889/sail-4-syria-starts-gabriel-wharf-london#media-5239857

Click here for a link to a video featuring interviews with Maria and some other Syria Peace & Justice group members.

#Sail4Syria supporters gather on the South Bank of the river Thames in central London on 12th July 2014. Credit: Syria Peace & Justice.

Syria Solidarity activists to sail from London to Beirut

 Sail4Syria duo to depart from the shore of the Thames at The South Bank (the beach next to Gabriel’s Wharf), London, Saturday 12th July 2014 at 3 p.m. (click here for map)
 
On Saturday 12th July, following several months of preparations, two peace activists, Maria Gallastegui and Simon Moore, will embark on a sailing voyage of over 3500 miles from London to Beirut, Lebanon.  This action is in solidarity with the people of Syria. They will travel aboard ‘Rumi‘: a 16-foot Wayfarer dinghy.
Maria Gallestegui on board 'Rumi'.  Sail designed and painted by artist Helyn Gulley.

Maria Gallestegui on board ‘Rumi’. Sail designed and painted by artist Helyn Gulley.

The aims of Sail4Syria (S4S), which is a project of London-based Syria Peace & Justice (SPJ) are as follows: [1]·
  • To show solidarity with people whose lives have been torn apart by the crisis in Syria, including those still living in war zones and besieged areas and the more than 2.5 million refugees dispersed mainly around neighbouring countries, including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey;·
  • To build networks with and support grassroots organisations and communities inside and outside Syria working to address the serious humanitarian and societal issues created by the crisis, as well as those working non-violently for positive democratic change within Syria; [2]
  • To publicise our call for an end to the fuelling and intensifying of the conflict by various governments including UK, USA, Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudia Arabia and Turkey who have been facilitating the flow of weapons and military equipment into the country to all sides, [3] and without taking their full share of responsibility for the ensuing humanitarian crisis. [4]

SPJ is calling for non-violent action to highlight and challenge the above behaviour and encourage a responsible, compassionate and peaceful approach to the Syria crisis from the international community.

The S4S team is seeking to link up with like-minded groups and individuals as it passes through various cities, towns and villages along its route.

SPJ and S4S will soon be announcing the sponsorship of a children’s activity project for Syrian refugee children, in co-ordination with Syrian Eyes. [2]  This will be published via the Syria Peace & Justice website.

For media enquiries or further information, please contact: syriapeaceandjustice [at] gmail.com

Tel:  Maria: +44 (0)7907 233 861;  Simon: +44 (0)7963 475 195;  or Dan (UK-based): +44 (0)7506 234 091/ +44 (0)7774 543 818

Notes to editor:

1. Syria Peace & Justice (SPJ) is an open, London-based non-sectarian grassroots group, formed in October 2013. It wishes to promote a peaceful end to the terrible conflict in Syria and justice and human rights for all of its people.

More information about the group and updates on the progress of the Sail4Syria (S4S) voyage can be found at:
http://www.syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

2. SPJ and S4S are currently supporting one group called Syrian Eyes, which is made up of mostly young unpaid Syrian refugees who dedicate their time to providing for the needs of the Syrian refugee families in Lebanon.

Syrian Eyes’ main method of communication with the wider world is through their Facebook page. This is mostly written in Arabic, but does allow non-Arabic speakers to see many photos illustrating their activities in Lebanon. Syrian Eyes describes itself thus*:

“Seeks to provide immediate relief assistance to the displaced people in the Syrian refugee camps in the State of brotherly Lebanon, in addition to the establishment of a small development projects to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of these camps as much as possible.
*auto-translation from Arabic;

3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22906965
4. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/13/syrian-refugee-catastrophe-european-union-united-nations

Pop–Up ‘Syrian Refugee Camp’ – Wednesday 11th June 2014

Syria solidarity in Parliament Square, 11 June 2014. (c) 2014 D. Viesnik / Syria Peace & Justice

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***CLICK HERE for more photos from 11th June action***

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** 9 Million Displaced Syrians Must Not Be Forgotten **

Show solidarity with the Syrian people and support the pop-up ‘Syrian Refugee Camp’

Parliament Square, Westminster, London SW1A OAA

Wednesday 11th June 2014

10am to 6pm

No need to bring tents as already organized.

Bring good energy, banners, placards, tea, and coffee.
Check weather forecast for brolly alert!

The U.N. estimates that over 6.5 million people are internally displaced — an increase of more than two million in just six months.

Over 2.7 million have fled Syria to escape the violence, mostly to surrounding countries: Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. This has caused great pressure on the host countries, who are in turn suffering from their own internal turmoil.

The lack of clean water and sanitation in crowded, makeshift settlements is an urgent concern. Diseases like cholera and polio can easily spread — even more life-threatening without enough medical services. In some areas with the largest refugee populations, water shortages have reached emergency levels; the supply is as low as 30 litres per person per day.

http://www.news24.com/World/News/UN-warns-of-drought-crisis-in-Syria-20140408

Arms companies supply weapons to kill predominantly civilians, in other countries and make an obscene amount of money.

The money for the weapons is unwittingly supplied by the taxpayer.

Aid is then sent to these destroyed countries to ‘help the victims’ This is the taxpayer’s money.

Charities are then set up to help in the short fall of funds, again this is the taxpayer.

The ordinary person in the street unwittingly foots the bill to make people they don’t know and will probably never meet, suffer and be killed, while making someone they don’t know and will probably never meet, VERY RICH.

“I hope that those that have the most important responsibility in world affairs will be able to understand that forgetting Syria will be a total disaster,” says António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Wars Fuelled by Western Powers

Blood money: UK’s £12.3bn arms sales to repressive states:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/blood-money-uks-123bn-arms-sales-to-repressive-states-8711794.html

Russian arms manufacturer and supplier to the Syrian Government allowed to exhibit at the world’s largest arms fair in London, DSEI:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/05/arms-control-syria_n_3864687.html

The time has come to peacefully decline.

Syria Peace and Justice

http://syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

syriapeaceandjustice [at] gmail.com

07506 234 091

Twitter: @syriapj   Facebook: Syria Peace & Justice / Sail4Syria

#sail4syria

Earthian Global Peace Mission

http://earthianblog.wordpress.com

http://tinyurl.com/ophtc7x

Twitter: @earthiankvn   Facebook: Earthian Kvn

#earthianpeace

Peace Strike

http://www.peacestrike.org.uk

07907 233 861

Twitter: @peacestrike   Facebook: Peace Strike

#popupcamps

Latest update for Sail4Syria.

The departure date for the Sail4Syria (has now been moved from June 21st to late June/early July (exact date to be confirmed).   We are in the process of carrying out essential tasks needed to ensure the safe and successful undertaking of our journey.

We welcome all support; if you would like to be involved in the project in anyway (for example with foreign language translation for promotional literature production), please send an email to: syriapeaceandjustice [at] gmail.com
All donations are very welcome.

PS:   Maria and Simon will be talking about the Sail4Syria project at the 29th Anniversary of the London Peace Pagoda at Battersea Park, London at 2 p.m. on Saturday June 21st. Please see the following link for details:
http://www.networkforpeace.org.uk/calendar/peacepagoda/2014/jun/29th-annual-celebration-london-peace-pagoda

Sail4Syria

Syria solidarity activists to sail from London to Beirut – For immediate release

Sail4Syria duo to depart from South Bank of river Thames (from the beach next to Gabriel’s Wharf), London, Saturday 21st June 2014 at 2 p.m.

On Saturday 21st June, two peace activists, Maria Gallastegui and Simon Moore, will embark on a 3500-mile sailing voyage from London to Beirut, Lebanon in solidarity with the people of Syria. They will travel aboard a 16-foot Wayfarer dingy:

 

The boat which Maria and Simon are sailing to Beirut

The boat which Maria and Simon are sailing to Beirut

The aims of the Sail4Syria project, which is a project of London-based Syria Peace & Justice are as follows: [1]·

  • To show solidarity with people whose lives have been torn apart by the crisis in Syria, including those still living in war zones and besieged areas and the more than 2.5 million refugees dispersed mainly around neighbouring countries, including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey;
    .
  • To build networks with and support grassroots organisations and communities inside and outside Syria working to address the serious humanitarian and societal issues created by the crisis, as well as those working non-violently for positive democratic change within Syria;
    .
  • To publicise our call for an end to the fuelling and intensifying of the conflict by various governments including UK, USA, Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudia Arabia and Turkey who have been facilitating the flow of weapons and military equipment into the country to all sides[2], and without taking their full share of responsibility for the ensuing humanitarian crisis.[3]
The route.  (Maybe subject to change)

The route. (Maybe subject to change)

Syria Peace & Justice is calling for non-violent action to highlight and challenge the above behaviour and encourage a responsible, compassionate and peaceful approach to the Syria crisis from the international community.

The Sail4Syria team is seeking to link up with like-minded groups and individuals as it passes through various cities, towns and villages along its route.

For media enquiries or further information, please contact:  syriapeaceandjustice [at] gmail.com

Tel:  Maria: 07907 233 861; or  Simon: 07963 475 195

Notes to editor:

1. Syria Peace & Justice is an open, London-based non-sectarian grassroots group, formed in October 2013. It wishes to promote a peaceful end to the terrible conflict in Syria and justice and human rights for all of its people.

More information can be found on the group’s website: http://syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-229069653

3. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/13/syrian-refugee-catastrophe-european-union-united-nations

Updates on the progress of the Sail4Syria voyage will be published at: http://syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

‘Children on the Frontline’ Documentary film screening + discussion

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‘Children on the Frontline’ doc screening + discussion at London Action Resource Centre, Wednesday 9th April.

Doors open at 6.30 p.m. film starts at 7 p.m.

The Syria Peace & Justice group are hosting a film screening of “Children on the Frontline”, a recent documentary commissioned by Channel 4 which tells the story of five young children whose lives have been changed forever by the civil war in Syria. Following the film there will be an oppurtunity to discuss the issues raised in the film.

Here are some reviews of the film:
http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/jan/23/children-on-the-frontline-syria-review
http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/children-on-the-frontline-c4/5065651.article

Syria Peace & Justice is an open, London-based non-sectarian grassroots group, formed in October 2013. We wish to promote a peaceful end to the terrible conflict in Syria and justice and human rights for all of its people. For more info, please visit: www.syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

Venue: London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fielgate St (corner of Parfett St), London E1 1ES (Nearest tube: Whitechapel / Aldgate East / Aldgate)
Map: http://tinyurl.com/k3qajlh

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/484726721653269/?source=3&source_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Solidarity with the Women and Children of Syria: Report

by Catherine

On Saturday 8th March, eleven members of Syria Peace and Justice (including five women) attended the Million Women Rise march in central London on International Women’s Day, in solidarity with all those working to end violence against women and children across the world.Image

In particular, we wanted to show support for women and children from Syria affected by and seeking to end all forms of violence against them, whether living inside the country or as refugees in other countries.

The event was an opportunity to publicly emphasise the struggle of the region and raise awareness of the plight of the people. We carried placards expressing our support and concern and brought leaflets to hand out, which included an invitation to take action with us.*

We were a mixed group of women and men. At the assembly point just off Oxford Street, it turned out that men were not permitted to join the march proper. There was initially some hostility from an organiser regarding this male presence, but other organisers aided us in defusing the situation, and in the end the men were invited to show solidarity from the pavement.

Moments afterwards, we were asked to remove ourselves from the pavement by police officers, who suggested that we were creating an obstruction to pedestrians.  Once the above predicament was explained, the officers suggested that we retreat to the back of the march, ahead of the police van.  A few of us agreed, while others peaceably stayed put.

The march proceeded from Oxford Street to Trafalgar Square, with members of the public and marchers alike showing interest and support for us along the way.  Those of us who stuck to the pavement (i.e. the men and those women who had decided to remain with them) halted at a few points along the way. This assisted us in engaging with passers by, many of whom saw our placards and approached us for leaflets and additional information.

Once the march reached its destination in Trafalgar Square, most of our group mingled around the fountain as speeches were made from the stage. This provided another good opportunity for us to share information with fellow activists and members of the public. Overall, it felt like a successful afternoon’s networking and public engagement.

*The full text of the statement that we handed out on the day can be found at the end of this post

Click here for more images from the day

Next Syria Peace & Justice group event: Info evening, Wednesday 19th March

Our group’s next event is an information evening in Whitechapel on Wednesday, titled: “Peace and Justice in Syria: How Can It Be Achieved?” The evening will feature short films, talks by UK-based Syrians who have recently spent time with other Syrians based in the region affected by the conflict, and discussion. All are welcome to join this free event.

 For more details, click here