Rebuilding has begun in Silwan but can only continue with your support!

Dear Friend,
I’m writing to you from the West Bank, where I live and work for MECA. Just two weeks ago, our partner in Silwan called to tell me the cultural café that MECA helped fund had been bulldozed. I was shocked and upset but I knew we had to act quickly.

MECA staff sent out an email message and — thanks to the response of dozens of people — the rebuilding has already begun! But it can only continue with your help, again, now.

I want to tell you more about my visit to Silwan the day after the demolition, but first, I ask you to please, do two simple but crucial things now:

  1. Sign a letter to Israeli officials letting them know that you are concerned about the plight of children in Silwan and oppose the destruction of an important community space
  2. Make a donation to help the community rebuild in time for their Mothers’ Day celebration on March 21, 2012. (Mother’s Day in the Arab World)
As I approached the site of the cultural café, I expected to be surprised by the wreckage but I realized this was a familiar sight. After so many years of working and living in Palestine, I have sadly gotten used to the images of rubble left behind in the wake of Israeli bulldozers, tank shells, or missiles.
A young man from Silwan told me about waking up to see Israeli police blocking the road as other officials brought in equipment to demolish the cafe. (See this short video of Mahmoud’s account of the demolition.) They even tried to take the ping pong table and other games but people blocked their way and kept these for children in Silwan.

Even amidst the wreckage of the café, children gathered for a game of soccer while adults sorted through the rubble to salvage materials. The community has already begun work to rebuild the cultural café. With your help, they will complete it in time for aMothers’ Day celebration on March 21. 

Each time I visit Silwan I learn more about the hardships the community faces. Children are arrested and beaten. Settlers took over a home while the family was at a wedding. A kindergarten was recently damaged by the settlers’underground excavations.

But I always get a taste of the resilience of the community on these visits too. Families fighting in the Israeli courts to keep their homes. Children performing at concerts for their families and friends. Women learning the traditional art of mosaic-making.

Please, stand with the brave and determined people of Silwan bysending your letter of protest and making the most generous contribution you can afford today.

You support mean so much to people who are struggling every day to protect their children, their homes and their land.

Josie Shields-Stromsness
Program Director

( / 01.03.2012)

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