With The Women of Gaza On International Women's Day: We Will Not Be Silent!

Would women in Gaza really
celebrate International Women's Day?" was the question members of
our 58 person delegation from United States, Canada, Pakistan, France,
Australia, Egypt, Dubai and Turkey asked as we travelled from Cairo
to the Gaza border.

In less than three weeks,
the delegates had responded to an appeal by Codepink: Women for Peace
to join an international delegation to try to go into Gaza at the invitation
of the United Nations Works and Relief Agency of Gaza (UNWRA).

Women of Gaza have so little
to celebrate.

Women of Gaza were subjected
to the 22 day Israeli military attack on Gaza that killed over 1400,
including 192 women and over 400 children, and wounded more than 5,000
Palestinians. Women of Gaza waving white flags were killed by Israeli
snipers. Women of Gaza standing at kitchen windows were blown
apart by Israeli bombs made in the United States. Women of Gaza
died in the streets when Israeli soldiers refused to allow emergency
medical personnel to help them to hospitals. Women of Gaza watched
the bodies of their children melt from white phosphorus wounds. Women
of Gaza held their dying children in their arms. Women of Gaza
found the bodies of the husbands and children in the rubble of their
homes. Women of Gaza now wait for their wounded children to return
from hospitals in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Women of Gaza live in
tents because their homes were destroyed in the bombings. Women of Gaza
hold children who have nightmares about the bombings they have endured.
Women of Gaza wake up from their nightmares about their lives in Gaza.

Women of Gaza have endured
18 months of the blockade of Gaza. Because of the blockade, women
of Gaza are prevented from leaving Gaza. Because of the blockade,
women of Gaza feed their families from food smuggled through tunnels.
Because of the blockade, women of Gaza wait for glass to repair the
windows in their homes. Because of the blockade, women of Gaza
live with minimum electricity in the home because damaged power plants
cannot be repaired. Because of the blockade, women of Gaza cook
cannot get cooking gas and cook with wood. Because of the blockade,
communication with the rest of the world is difficult.

Our delegation on March 8,
International Women's Day, while visiting with over 1000 women in
13 different community development centers throughout Gaza, found that
women of Gaza do celebrate.

The women of Gaza celebrate
- their determination to survive.

But the women of Gaza wonder
why women of the world are silent about the Israeli military attacks
on them and the 18 month blockade of their country.

And that is why we were there--
in Gaza, on International Women's Day, to stand in solidarity with
the women of Gaza.

We Will Not Be Silent!