Outraged by the death of over 400 children as a result of Israel’s intense assault on Gaza, a group of local women have initiated an artwork campaign to remember the dead by name, rather than statistics. They will be creating banners that will be on display at a mass march organised by the National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P), earmarked to place on Women’s Day on Saturday 9th August.
Latest statistics coming out of the Gaza Strip have put the current death toll at well over 1800, with more than 9000 injured due to Israel’s constant shelling of the region. A temporary 72 hour humanitarian truce was agreed on Tuesday, but Hamas has rejected an extension to it unless some of their demands have been met.
One of the coordinators of the ‘Remember the Children of Gaza’ campaign, Shireen Mukadam, was motivated to initiate the project after a close friend in Gaza’s family became the victims of an Israeli airstrike.
“For me that was a turning point. I was very upset about what happened. I thought about how we could remember his family and honour them. Then the idea came about how we could remember all of the dead, not just as statistics but as people,” she said.
As part of the initiative, she said they would be creating banners consisting of the names of at least 290 children, and pregnant woman who have been killed over the past month. During the march, those banners would be left in a public space to serve as a remembrance for the local community.
Fellow coordinator, Tahira Jayes, said they were looking to illustrate the carnage of the conflict on a more personal scale, to allow Capetonians to reflect on each and every child whose life was cut short.
They would also be looking to move the demonstration to other public spaces across the city at a latter date, with the hopes of motivating the younger generations of South African society.
Despite an overwhelmingly positive response to the initiative, they called on the community to come up with further creative ideas to protest the conflict.
“I’d really like to encourage other people to be proactive, and do what you can in whatever capacity you have. There is always something we can do, we don’t have to feel helpless,” said Mukadam.
They also called on anybody with expertise on graphic design or illustrations, to come forth an assist with the creating of the banners.
If you would like to assist with the ‘Remember the Children of Gaza’ campaign, or would like to pass on any protest ideas, you may contact Shireen Mukadam on 071 889 6068, or Tahira Jayes at 084 648 1425.
Alternatively you can also use the Twitter hashtag #RememberGazasChildren. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)