Thursday, February 28
10 am – all day
Student Union Building, University of British Columbia
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/424142921007889/
Samer Issawi’s struggle against the oppression of the Apartheid Israeli state is not a personal struggle only, it is a struggle on behalf all the oppressed people on earth. He’s the brother, father and son of every single person who was arrested for making his or her voice, tortured or killed for the sake of freedom, dignity and humanity. With his empty stomach he jailed his jailer and brought to the forefront the plight of thousands of political prisoners – women, men and children – who have been tortured, oppressed, intimidated and often killed by the criminal security apparatus of the Apartheid state.
Samer Issawi is one of 4,812 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli occupation prisons. Nearly every Palestinian family is affected by political imprisonment – for example, in the West Bank and Gaza, 1 out of every 4 Palestinians has spent time in an Israeli prison. Some of these prisoners are held under administrative detention, without charge or trial, while others are placed before military courts with a 99.74% conviction rate. Issawi is a former Palestinian prisoner who was freed on October 18, 2011, only to be re-arrested on July 7, 2012 under a military order allowing former prisoners to be arbitrarily re-arrested on the basis of secret evidence. He has been on hunger strike for over 200 days in protest of his detention. Tareq Qa’adan and Jaafar Ezzedine, two prisoners held under administrative detention, and Ayman Sharawna, a re-arrested former prisoner in a similar situation to Issawi, are also engaged in lengthy hunger strikes. Their efforts come on the heels of hunger strikes by dozens of prisoners – and a mass hunger strike in April 2011 that involved thousands of prisoners – demanding dignity, freedom and justice.
It should be noted that on February 23, Arafat Jaradat, a newly detained Palestinian prisoner held under interrogation, was killed in prison, his autopsy pointing to torture as the reason for his death. Palestinians have taken to the streets – and eight more prisoners have joined in hunger strike – in response to Jaradat’s death.
Here at UBC, Palestinian and pro-Palestinian students, professors and people of conscience are saying enough is enough and that Samer’s voice, and the voice of his fellow Palestinian political prisoners, will not pass unheard. This year, Israeli Apartheid Week at UBC is dedicated to the heroism and perseverance of Samer in exposing the criminal treatment of Palestinian under the hands of Israel. The Battle of the Empty Stomachs inside the Palestinian prisons will be symbolically represented by members and supporters of Palestine and Palestinian freedom and justice with a one-day hunger strike.
Join SPHR in the Student Union Building at UBC in a collective hunger strike organized in support of Samer Issawi and his fellow prisoners. The strike will begin Thursday morning. There will be posters, placards and signs and all you are required to bring is your empty stomach and your dedication to support a just cause.