Online registration now closed

As of midnight Saturday June 3rd online registration is closed  – but you can still take part in the run.

Come along to the registration tent 30 minutes before you expect to want to run and we can sign you up.

 

 

Freedom thru football

In early June 2017, the Diyar women’s football team from Bethlehem is coming to the UK – they will visit and play matches in Bristol, Bath, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and London on theirtour.

They visit Sheffield on the same weekend as the small park BIG RUN – June 10/11. We are very honoured that Diyar will be opening our run on Saturday at noon and participating in a fun penalty shootout competition on Sunday morning. From 1pm on Saturday they will participate in a tournament at UMIX  (details below).

Diyar Bethlehem was founded by players at Bethlehem University in 2008. It is one of the West Bank’s leading teams and many of their players are in the Palestine national women’s team.

Honey Thaljieh is co-founder of Diyar and first captain of the Palestinian women’s football team. She explains:

“Football is more than a game. It’s about social inclusion, identity and pride for one’s country. It’s about putting Palestine on the world map.” Her advice to other women players is “believe in your talent and be determined—with support you can achieve”.

In 2014, two women’s football teams, Easton Cowgirls from Bristol and Republica Internationale from Leeds, toured the West Bank area of Palestine to play against Diyar and other women’s teams.

They saw what life was like in towns and villages under Israel’s military occupation. In particular they found out some of the issues facing women wanting to play football in Palestine.

On their return, they made a film Balls, Barriers and Bulldozers about their experience. It shows how joyful but also how challenging, thought-provoking and at times sad their experience was.

Balls Barriers and Bulldozers Trailer from Harriet on Vimeo.

Inspired by that film, Liverpool Friends of Palestine took on the daunting task of organising and fundraising for this brave and groundbreaking tour.

The Diyar team will visit and play matches in Bristol, Bath, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and London on the tour.

You can support their tour by contributing to the Crowdfunding effort.

Champion from Champion!

Sarah Champion, Labour candidate for Rotherham and member of the shadow cabinet,  has written to us, offering a heartfelt message of support. Please see this below.

Sarah has also written a very moving article about observing a military court trial of children in Palestine

Thanks Sarah:

“I urge you to join in the small park BIG RUN event. Firstly, because it will be  great fun but secondly because it is for a wonderful cause.

I’ve been to Palestine twice now. The differences between reading about Palestine and visiting it are stark – more so than any other country I’ve experienced.

The reality of the occupation to the Palestinian people is chilling. The wall frequently cuts through the centre of villages, separating families from each other, children from their schools and farmers from their land. It can take hours to make the convoluted trek to the nearest security barrier to queue up (often getting rejected) to then go about your daily business. On my last visit in January, it felt like Palestine has become an open prison and I can’t imagine what that must do to you psychologically.

I haven’t visited Gaza as MPs are not allowed to enter, therefore I don’t feel able to reliably comment on the rights and wrongs of the complex relationships between Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. However, there is no doubt that the residents of Gaza are trying to survive in the midst of a massive humanitarian crisis.

I am therefore very grateful that women and children from Gaza will benefit from the kindness of people from South Yorkshire. There is no debate that everyone deserves the right to reach their potential and the causes being supported will help that to happen.”

Sarah Champion

Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Rotherham & member of the Labour Shadow Cabinet

Water water everywhere …and not a drop to drink!

 

Public supply of water is often unclean and presents dangers of disease

While we have been very lucky to get water for the run sponsored by local co-op stores, and mostly we have easy access to tap water in our homes, we should not forget that water is a terrifyingly precious resource in Gaza.

Gaza has long suffered severe water problems with its aquifer contaminated by sewage, chemicals and seawater and the territory’s three desalination plants unable to meet demand. To drink, most citizens depend on imported, bottled water. And some travel many miles to fill cans.

UP to 28% Gaza’s water is lost due to poor infrastructure

The source of the problems are varied but centre on the blockade of Gaza by Israel and destruction of key infrastructure for the safe supply of water and treatment of sewage. Desalination plants are poorly maintained because of difficulties in obtaining spare parts. These factors exacerbate behaviours that will tend to deplete the aquifer that sits under the Gaza and forms the basis of its water supply.

As the aquifer drains, salty sea water seeps in and with it sewage and chemical pollution further degrading the supply.

Collecting water is a daily activity for most people

Meanwhile in the West Bank, in the occupied territories, there are inequalities of water supply that reflect the aggressive approach taken by Israeli colonial settlers and the army that protects them,  to dismantling Palestinian civil life.

Water use by colonial settlers is 4 times that of Palestinians in the occupied land reflects the relative poverty of Palestinian people.

Since 1967, Israel has prevented access to the Jordan River supply by Palestinians and supply of water to Palestinians by the Israeli water company, is subject to strict control.

Generally, settlements are built on high land, water is gathered and prevented from reaching into the lower reaches of hills and supplying Palestinian villages. Waste water from settlements is regularly pumped into an already depleted Palestinian supply.

So thank you to the Co-op for supplying our water; and, when we are drinking our water on the way round the park, let’s spare a thought for the difficulties  Palestinians have in obtaining it.

More information

Water Situation Alarming in Gaza, World Bank Report, November 22, 2016

Water supply and sanitation in the Palestinian territories, Wikipedia

And sign up to the run!

https://s-p-b-r.eventbrite.co.uk

Regather Co-op bears fruit

Regather Veg Box Thanks Regather Co-op for supplying fruit for the runners’ bags.

Regather are a co-op based in Sharrow, Sheffield. Find out more about what they do here

If you would like to support the run, please contact us.