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Palestine war vigil attracts toots, waves in Square

May 7, 2024 May 2024 No Comments

Palestine vigil at Martinborough Square Memorial Gate wins passerby support.

By Ray Lilley

A protest group holding Palestinian flags, posters reading “Toot for Gaza,” “Genocide” and “Free Palestine” is winning solid support – with tooting, waves and thumbs-up from passing motorists and, notably, younger tourists who stop to add to the gathering of between 12 and 20 locals.

Some join the weekly vigil for 10 minutes, a few journey down from Carterton and Featherston –  and some join other vigils being held across the Wairarapa, protester Alan Barker told The Star.

Some of the group also fly the Palestine flag at their properties in solidarity with a people who have been under Israeli bombardment for more than seven months, after the Hamas raid into Israel on October 7 sparked the so-called Gaza War. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the campaign.

“We get toots, a lot of people gives thumbs-up, a lot of people pausing to look and maybe going away to have a think,” Barker said. 

“We’ve had a few thumbs-down, a couple of people shout at us, call us  terrorists – a label I’d be happy to wear if I was capable of being one, paraplegic as I am. We’ve had people from Palestine here tell us we’re dong a good thing.”

“The objective is to say to people around us there is something happening you can’t avert your face from – there’s something happening here. Is this your inheritance, you allowed this to happen on your watch?” 

“Its now almost totally onesided and horrific to watch and I don’t want to be part of that, for God’s sake.” 

Retired surgeon Robert Logan was adamant that “New Zealand is missing an opportunity to join some other smaller countries and be seen to take a lead along with them in bringing some sense to the situation.

“Clearly in America they’re tied up with the electoral process, but a smaller country like New Zealand and like Norway, Ireland – smaller countries that don’t have that (U.S.-style support) baggage – if they speak together they can have an influence,” he said. 

“We forget that, we think we’re small and insignificant. But working with others we definitely have some clout.”

“That’s why I feel terribly proud about the anti-nuclear stance years ago. While across the world it likely made damn all difference, but it’s showing that we think, we’re prepared to take a stand and we’re not a puppet. We need to take a stance. 

“I don’t know what it is (that’s occurring) if it’s not genocide,” Logan said.

Barker said soie of the group had been to Wellington to join the marches “and what’s interesting is that they are very poorly reported (by media). There can be, my guess, six thousand people with moving speeches being made … and not a word of it reported.”

Former academic and government advisor Barker said Israeli Zionism is a classic white racist movement.

So there was no suprise that South Africa had taken a genocide case to the International Court of Justice where they got “an incredibly powerful judgment.”

“In 1900 some 10 percent of wider Palestine was Jewish so the Zionist movement is a long and deep one and has brought with it of course huge financial support from America which is being hugely hypocritical sending bombs to Israel _ which are  used on the same day as they parachute in aid to the Palestinians. 

“It’s a extraordinary hypocritical performance,” he added.

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