Monday 29 January 2024

Diabetic children in Gaza


On January 24th the UN humanitarian relief coordinator for Gaza confirmed that Israeli authorities have blocked entry of insulin pens for diabetic children there.
Eylon Levy responded to this with “This is just made up. Israel has placed NO LIMITS on the entry of medicines and medical supplies into Gaza, and has facilitated that on a large scale.”
Even if the UN coordinator is lying the treatment of diabetes is not just dependent on a supply of insulin pens and insulin. Controlling diabetes means managing the health of the whole body. This necessitates a primary care provider, an endocrinologist, a diabetes care and education specialist and family or close friends able to understand and coordinate the child's diabetic care.
Gaza historically had 36 hospitals, but 85% of the territory's 2.3 million people are now displaced, and that includes health workers, doctors, nurses, surgeons and administrative staff.
I dread to think about the fate of diabetic children in the region with or without their pens. I was a co-founder of War Child at the time of the siege of Sarajevo in 1992/4 and helped take insulin into the city. We had to make sure that our insulin was kept refrigerated en route and that we were able to make contact with the children’s hospital there. You can ‘facilitate’ the entry of medicines, but without specialist care and oversight it is meaningless. Death becomes a certainty.

Sunday 21 January 2024



I am not going to post yet more photos of destruction in Gaza, of childrens’ ruined bodies in the rubble, of Israeli troops mocking their slaughtered victims. As a lifelong anti-fascist I am going to say ‘Enough’, ‘Suficiente’, Ya basta!,كافٍ’ , ‘מספיק’ ‘If it is enough for you too, what do we do?

Wednesday 17 January 2024

This is a moment of truth


Francesca Albanese, the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Reem Alsalem, the special rapporteur on violence against women and girls and Pedro Arrojo Agudo, the special rapporteur on human rights, have warned that Gazans now account for 80 per cent of all people facing famine or catastrophic hunger worldwide. 

Currently, every single person in Gaza is hungry, a quarter of the population are starving and struggling to find food and drinkable water, and famine is imminent. It is unprecedented to make an entire civilian population go hungry this completely and quickly. Israel is destroying Gaza’s food system and using food as a weapon against the Palestinian people.”

Israeli forces have destroyed more than 60 percent of Palestinian homes in Gazam causing domicide through the mass destruction of dwellings, making the territory uninhabitable. 

"A lack of sufficient nutrition and healthcare is endangering the lives of pregnant women and their unborn children and all children under the age of five, about 335,000 in total, are highly susceptible to the effects of severe malnutrition as the threat of famine continues to grow.”

We have raised the alarm of the risk of genocide several times, reminding all governments they have a duty to prevent genocide. Our alarm for the unfolding genocide does not only refer to the ongoing bombardment of Gaza but also concerns the slow suffering and death caused by Israel’s long-standing occupation, blockade and current civic destruction, since genocide advances through an ongoing process and is not a singular event.”

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General adds that “The humanitarian system in Gaza is facing a total collapse with unimaginable consequences for more than 2 million civilians. Misery is growing by the minute. Everyone must assume their responsibilities. This is a moment of truth. History will judge us.”

How will history judge you? At the very least contact your friends, repost this, make sure you attend the next Palestine Solidarity demonstration, donate to Medical Aid for Palestine, write a poem, write what you think about the situation. Talk with your neighbours. Write to your MP. Raise the issues in your trade union. Join the Boycott campaign. 

You are not powerless.

STOP PRESS: 3 months ago there were 36 hospitals in Gaza. Today there are none

Monday 15 January 2024

Blocs and Balance


I went on the London Gaza/Palestine march on Saturday 13 January. It was the biggest yet. When I reached Trafalgar Square it was full and Whitehall was at a standstill with marchers unable to reach the also packed Parliament Square at the far end. I made my way back to the Embankment using side streets and it too was now at a standstill. I went up onto Hungerford bridge and saw the crowd reached at least as far back east as Waterloo bridge. Many hundreds of thousands.

As important as the size was the ‘spirit’. Multi-everything and the loudest and most militant there were the women. It also felt more like a new movement rather than a march and demonstration.

The next day a few thousand Zionists half-filled Trafalgar Square. Thee BBC reported both days as having been similar Saturday was, “Thousands protest for Palestine” and Sunday was “Thousands protest for Israel”. I guess that counts for media ‘balance.

The Israeli Ambassador, Tzipi Hotovely, ("every school. every 2nd house is a legitimate target") spoke and thanked King Charles, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer for supporting her state and speaking out for the UK’s Jewish ‘community’. I took this photo on Saturday and the Jewish bloc there might disagree with that lie.

A number of people are finding their FB links not getting spread out to their contacts and it seems likely that the algorithms are picking out words like ‘genocide, ‘Palestine’. ‘Gaza’. With mine too judging by the fewer ‘likes’ I get so am going to start posting mine on my website.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Message from the Gaza Music School

As first director of the Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina, I have received an update about the Gaza Music School.

"After three months, Khamis Abushaban, Administrative Assistant of the ESNCM branch in Gaza and a guitarist, finally reached it. Located at the Red Crescent Society emergency services building, Khamis discovered the door bombed open, with more than half of the structure burnt and heavily damaged. Musical instruments, equipment, and teaching tools were either burnt or damaged. 

These instruments and rooms had brought joy to countless boys, girls, families, and the wider community in Gaza. The impact of all this remains etched in their hearts and minds. The sole grand piano in Gaza survives, serving as a witness to this destruction and eagerly awaiting the chance to be played again.

We are committed to continuing to enrich people's lives through music."

Sima Khoury Odeh

Executive Director

Edward Said National Conservatory of Music