PRESS RELEASE: UK / Palestine – Children hand in letter to British Prime Minister urging action over Palestine


Islamic Human Rights Commission

8 February 2009

PRESS RELEASE: UK / Palestine – Children hand in letter to British Prime Minister urging action over Palestine

Approximately 90 children attended a rally today, Sunday 8 February, opposite 10 Downing Street, London, UK in support of children in Gaza.

The children with guardians, were aged between a few months to 16 years of age. Some stood silently with placards – some home made. Others took the mic provided by the organisers and chanted slogans in support of Palestinian children.

A group of children headed by Vian Al Hilli, the author of a letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, handed in the missive at 2.30pm, after which the letter was read out to the public. The full text of the letter follows at the end of this press release.

Massoud Shadjareh, chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, one of the joint organisers of the rally said:

“It was heartening to see so many children attend in such cold weather and after such a disrupted week in London. This event was organized because of the need for events that help children and youth express their feelings and concerns over recent events in a proactive and peaceful manner.

“We hope and pray that this generation will be the last generation that needs to protest at the injustices perpetrated against the Palestinians.”

The rally was co-organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission and the Palestinian Forum of Britain. Supporting organizations included: Friends of Al-Aqsa, British Muslim Initiative, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestine Internationalist, Friends of Lebanon, FOSIS, CAMPACC, Islamic Centre of England, Innovative Minds and Palestinian Return Centre.

For more information please contact IHRC in (+44) 20 8904 422, (+44) 7958 522196 or email
Full letter to Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister:

By hand, on behalf of the Children for the Children of Gaza Rally

Sunday 8th February 2009

Dear Mr Brown

I am writing to you to express my concerns about the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the effect it has had on the children of Gaza.

I did not know how to begin this letter. I thought long and hard about what and how I should address the Prime Minister of my country; how I should address the person at the forefront of a country that lectures the rest of the world on democracy, humanity and ethics. Should I remind him of the first article of the universal human rights declaration that states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”? Does this by any chance exclude the people of Gaza?

The Gaza strip was bombarded by the Israeli forces in such an inhumane manner, that the horrors the children are facing there, can hardly be imagined. The images and videos that are being portrayed around the world show only little of what has happened and what is happening now. With scarcely any medical supplies to start of with, now that the number of injuries has reached over 5,320 one can only imagine their condition.

I look back at the declaration that was made back in 1917 and how this country played a part in placing the Israelis in Palestine, and it makes me think, are they not partly responsible for what is now happening? Britain is neither weak nor poor, and if the Prime Minister is ready to help Palestine, to send them aid, and to condemn the treacherous acts of the Israelis, then the British people will wholeheartedly support him.

The British people have expressed their outrage on the streets of Britain, yet their outrage has been responded to by deafening silence. Can you justify the deaths of innocent children? Did these children choose to be a part in this war? Why were they targeted? You yourself have two children whom you dearly love, and you want them to be safe. Think for a minute, what about the parents of these Palestinian children? Remember your own personal experiences and the pain you went through and then think about the pain and suffering the Palestinians must have experienced when they saw the burnt bodies of their loved ones. Did they even have water to quench their thirst before they died?

On the one hand, Britain lectures Sudan’s government on the use of disproportionate force against the tribes of Darfur, and on the other hand, you are silent when similar war crimes are committed by the IDF against innocent civilians. Mr. Prime Minister, I urge you to be consistent when you lecture the rest of the world about political morality. Why does the west have double standards when it comes to Israel? Why do the western powers have a total disregard for oppressed communities?

I wish to see a world where those who lead do so by example; and those who preach practise what they preach. I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Vian Al Hilli [ENDS]

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