Health and trauma in Palestine – zoom after the run


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Every year after small park BIG RUN we link up with our partners in Palestine. It is a wonderful event; and this year it also an opportunity to learn from and show solidarity with Palestinian people.

It is a wonderful and important moment of solidarity and friendship. Please join us!

Our theme this year is health and health inequalities in Palestine and we have some great speakers lined up:

– We will hear about the impact of Covid-19 on healthcare in Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem from Dr Mohammed Abu Sroar.

Osama Freina

Dr Osama Freina, Director of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme in the Southern Part of the Gaza Strip, will describe to us the terrible impact of violence on children. 
– As in past years we will link up with our partners at the Never Stop Dreaming Charity Association (http://bit.ly/neverstopdrreaming) – this is one of the organisations that we have worked with for many years and will benefit directly from your fundraising efforts. It will be very moving and heart-warming to see children in Gaza and hear their voices!
– We are also delighted that the organiser of Run for Freedom, Wala’a Abu Shalbak will join us. In 2019 Wala’a organised a solidarity run numbering several hundred that took place at the same time as the small park BIG RUN! (Picture below) Despite the terrible problems Palestinians currently experience we are hopeful Wala’a will be able to report on a Run for Freedom activity this year. 

To attend our Zoom meeting please follow this link

We call it a run – but you don’t have to!

So we call it a run cos that’s what we do.

But we know running is not everyones cup of tea and this is a whole community thing: we want to be as inclusive as we can!

  • You don’t have to run
  • You don’t have to be in Sheffield
  • Do what you like best, where ever you happen to be
  • Sign up here

Carrying the flag for Palestine

Last year Judy, a local supporter of Palestine Solidarity and of the small park BIG RUN, carried the flag around Meersbrook for 72km and talked to loads of people about why she did this. She is doing the same this year. Say hello if you see her. This is her blog

Hello. I’m Judy and I’ve lived in Meersbrook, Sheffield for 14 years.

Standing in Meersbrook Park

As a teenager in the 60s I did the ‘hitchhiking across North Africa’ thing and the ‘kibbutz’ thing and i was blissfully ignorant of the reality and the history until relatively recently.

I am the same age as the State of Israel and I credit the small park BIG RUN with focussing my awareness on the Nakba – ‘the Catastrophe’ – that resulted for Palestinian people.

So last year, as we could not gather together in the park as we usually do, my activity was to walk a kilometre for every year of my life, every year that Palestinians have been enduring injustice.

I wrote a diary about that highly rewarding experience; in fact it was so rewarding that I am doing it again, this year. 73k with my Palestinian flag.

You can read about Judy’s adventures here

#spbr21 merchandise – order your buffs and flags

Our fantastic new buff design uses recycled plastic. It costs just £5 and all profits go towards the children’s projects and women’s scholarship fund. 

We also have Palestinian flags for sale to carry around on your DIY activity prices below:

Both will be on sale in the park on June 19/20 but you can also order now via email. We will contact you to arrange delivery or pick-up.


small park BIG RUN: our virtual poetry tent

Members of a women’s writing group in Sheffield have compiled videos of poems about Palestine, Freedom, Running and Health (this year’s particular theme) for Small Park Big Run 2021.

 There is one poem (at least) every hour on the hour for the 24 hours of the run. You will find them on our Facebook and Youtube channels.

We have stunningly powerful poems by local Sheffield and Derbyshire poets as well as the ‘great sower of hope’, Mahmood Darwish (pictured), Susan Abulhawa, Naomi Shihab Nye and Rafeef Ziaddah.

Be sure to set your clocks to watch the broadcasts as they come out!

The web version of the timetable is here and a pdf is here

The perils of running in Palestine

Today, there was a run 3.5 kilometres from Sheikh Jarrah to Silwan.

All runners wore t-shirts that had # 7850 printed on back, the number of Palestinian Jerusalemites under threat. During the run, one runner (@jalalak_jojo on twitter ) tweeted about being beaten several times by Israeli forces:

“I am a runner. I run marathons around whole world. Never have I been attacked violently by police forces as I was today, during the Jerusalem run from #SaveSheikhJarrah to #SaveSilwan. I was beaten six times, attacked by Israeli forces, for running in my ancestral town & city.”

You can see this on the video:

Dana’s 24 hour treadmill run 19-20th June

I have taken part in this event ever since I knew it existed. I joined small park BIG RUN (#spBR21) at Meersbrook Park in 2019 (having posted leaflets about the event with GoodGym) and then contributed 3 hours of running last year as part of the DIY lockdown event. I knew this year I wanted to try a solo challenge. As a Palestinian, the charity focus is always close to my heart, but more so now that so many others are speaking up and sharing the truth, there is so much good done already, but it is ever more necessary now.  

My Gazan father was forced out of his home as a child, becoming a refugee and we have family still living in the apartheid state.  Being Palestinian and British means I feel it is my duty to speak up and be proactive. The sense of collective community and kindness shown by Sheffield Palestine Cultural Exchange (SPaCE), Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund and the local Meersbrook and Heeley community to help improve the life chances, aspirations, and opportunities for the most marginalised and silenced voices in the world means so much to me. Shukran for all donations, be they solidarity miles or money.

I’m aiming to try to cover no less than 120km, so averaging about 5km an hour.  If I can push towards 150km I will be proud – but the resilience to be on a treadmill, in my Baba’s Garage is going to be one of the more challenging aspects of my run. I am trialling my hourly speed at present, playing around with splitting my hours into fast and slow intervals to keep energised, allow food, and clock up the mileage.  A day of discomfort is nothing compared to the conditions and treatment of Palestinians controlled by illegal occupation since 1948 and the pain of those (like my father) who find themselves interrogated and refused return to see loved ones.

I run to hopefully one day be able to see the village where my family comes from. To see it in more than just photos. #FreeFreePalestine

If anyone has any recommendations for my running playlist – English or Arabic classics (big fan of 90’s arab pop!) send them through.

If you can spare some money to donate to my efforts please visit the link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DanaAbdulkarim 

‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’.

RUN TOGETHER, RESIST TOGETHER!

We cannot sit back and plan this year’s run without mentioning, as a priority, the awful events in Sheikh Jarrah and the storming of Al Aqsa  mosque in Jerusalem and the subsequent bombing of Gaza. We, the organisers of small park BIG RUN feel deeply outraged, angry, and upset.

The daily injustices that are meted out to Palestinians by Israeli authorities have now escalated into yet another attempt to stamp out all resistance.

As you can see in these pictures: these are our friends, people we and you, small park BIG RUN supporters, have run with; people we have talked to over a crackly phone at the end of the Fun Run in previous years.

We want to give context to the media reports many of you will have seen and give you a sense of what you can do to help.

spbr-the-Sheffield Way

In our second year of going ‘DIY’ we wanted to highlight things we know people are up to , in case you need some inspiration or want to join in and do the same.

Some innovative people from Sheffield Palestine Womens Scholarship Fund are taking on the DIY activity to new heights by adapting The Sheffield Way .

SPBR walkers in 2020

The walkers will be taking with them a Palestinian flag and an olive branch that came from Palestine (and which has been at all of the small park BIG RUN events)

There are 6 legs to this walk and it is 53 miles in total. Leaving from Meersbrook Park at midday on Saturday June 19th, the walkers will return on Sunday June 20th at midday. You can find out more about the route by downloading the maps and you are welcome to make your own pace on any section – or all of them! We will be publishing the expected times of arrival at the checkpoints in case you would like to meet up with the main group.

Dont forget to enter via Eventbrite

You can download the SPBR-The-Sheffield-Way maps from here