Tears on Capital Hill and Amena’s Stuffed Animal Stampede for Palestinian Children

Amena and friend Deema

Amena and friend Deema

The North America Nakba Tour literally brought Washington DC to tears a few days ago.  Mariam and Amena had meetings with staffers of several members of Congress, and distributed letters (published in Dissident Voice) to signers of the Leahy letter.  Their testimony brought tears to the eyes of one of the staffers as it has to other audiences.  That’s what happens when people learn about how their government’s policies destroy lives.

Potter's House 2It was also standing room only at Potter’s House.  Audience reactions there and in Richmond, Atlanta, Jackson and Dallas have been enormously supportive.  Despite rumors of controversy, there has been none from those who have actually witnessed the presentation, only from those who refuse to hear it.

Regrettably, two venues have been withdrawn and a second event (after Stanford) has been cancelled for reasons having nothing to do with who these women are or their presentations.  Not everyone supporting Palestinian rights will agree on every issue, but do we have to undermine each other’s efforts or refuse to work together where we agree, as well?  Cui bono?

Umm_Akram_cooking1Mariam is a brilliant cook, and it’s one of her favorite roles.  Recently, she went food shopping with one of our hosts and then cooked up a storm, passing on her recipes.  Don’t miss the chance to tap her expertise, if you have time.

On the road, a flat tire and floods in Houston slowed our travellers, and the tour is taking its toll on them.  Their hosts have been wonderful and attentive
and generous, but under the best of circumstances it’s difficult to keep up with what needs to get done when changing places every two days or so.

Canada on Our Mind

Canada is on the horizon.  There are five events scheduled there, from Montreal next Friday to London the following Thursday.  The only problem is that the visas are not yet ready and we might not know if we have them until the day before the team is due to enter.  The backup plan is for electronic presentations, with the video and PowerPoint sent ahead and live participation via SKYPE from Amena and Mariam.

If the visas don’t arrive, the team will make its way east to Ohio and Illinois, while stopping to do the electronic presentations.  Since the 7th and the 9th are free days, however, it would be possible to do one or two additional events along the way, in places like Rochester, Ithaca, Syracuse, Cleveland or similar stops if there is interest and if the lead time is not too short.  Let us know if you have any thoughts on this.

Amena’s Stuffed Animal Stampede for Palestinian Children

This is one of Amena's investments (but too big).

This is one of Amena’s investments (but too big).

As reported last time, Amena loves animals.  It takes great restraint for her to avoid filling the car with stuffed toy animals.  This gave us the idea of creating Amena’s Stuffed Animal Stampede for Palestinian Children (ASASPC).  We are partnering with the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund to send donated toys to children in the refugee camps in Lebanon.  If you wish to contribute a stuffed animal, you can send it to:

Amena’s Stuffed Animal Stampede for Palestinian Children

405 Vista Heights Road

     El Cerrito, California 94530

The toy must be a stuffed animal in new or like new condition and not too big, please.  We will put the toys into large suitcases that Amena will take with her as excess baggage to be distributed among the children, and the PCWF will pay the cost of the baggage. We can include anything that arrives by June 1st.

We require urgent help creating events on April 10th in Arizona, 12th in Albuquerque and 14-18th in Texas as well as Dallas. We also have dates in May for KC, SLC, Boise and Eugene. Anyone who can assist with this should contact us right away.