Shalit demonstration touches Melbourne’s CBD

August 30, 2010 Agencies
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More than 300 people demonstrated in Melbourne’s CBD creating public awareness of the plight of Israeli IDF soldier Gilad Shalit who turned 24 on the weekend…during his fifth year in captivity in Gaza…as ‘guest’ of Hamas.

Organiser Jake Searle told J-Wire: “We handed out over 4,000 postcards to passers by. The cards outlined Gilad’s story, and gave us an opportunity to engage with city lunchtime walkers.
We had some interesting reactions. Many people didn’t know about Gilad, and seemed genuinely interested, and asked how they could help. Many indicated they would go onto the website (www.meetgilad.com) and leave a message for Gilad. We also had some negative reactions – by people who showed their ignorance by saying things like “If Israel left Palestine they’d let him go’. All in all, it was a huge success in terms of raising awareness and engaging in discussion.”

Searle spoke to the meeting before the reading of excerpts of a letter from the soldier’s mother, Aviva Shalit.

Others letters followed including one written by Shalit in captivity and the reading of Shalit’s story.

The protestors sang peace songs between the readings.

Searle added: “The demonstrators joined in on and the atmosphere was really good.”

This is what Jake Searle had to say in his address o the meeting:

“My name is Jake. I’m 16 years old and together with my friends, we’ve gathered here today to remind you of the situation of a young man, not much older than us, who was abducted in 2006 and has been held captive since. He has not been allowed any contact with his family. He hasn’t been allowed to have visits by doctors or the Red Cross. No-one knows where he is, how he is…

This boy’s name is Gilad Shalit,  and  On the 25 June, 2006 he was kidnapped from his post in southern Israel by Hamas terrorists. Gilad was 19 years old. Last Saturday, Gilad turned 24. He is still in captivity held by the hamas  terrorists.

Gilad’s parents, Noam and Aviva have had only two signs of life from him. After one year, Gilad’s terrorist captors sent an audio cassette and Last year, a video was released. How must they feel every morning – when they wake up. they must only hope and pray that Gilad wakes up too, That he is being treated humanely and that there may be someone who will say a kind word to him. They have not been able to speak to their son and Every request by the family or by international dignitaries to make any contact has been denied by the terrorists.

On Saturday, Gilad turned 24. This is the 5th birthday he’s spent in captivity.

Gilad has spent over 4 years in captivity. That’s 50 months. 217 weeks or 1527 days. Can you even remember what you were doing in June 2006. I was 12 years old. Gilad has missed over four years of his life, confined, imprisoned and isolated.

Do you believe in dignity? The right to medical treatment? Do you believe in freedom? Or human rights? The case of Gilad Shalit is a shocking infringement of basic human rights.

And we call on Hamas to let him go.

We can only imagine what goes through Gilad’s mind each and every day. I wonder if he even knows he just had a birthday.  I wonder if he believes he’ll ever be released.

What did you do on your last birthday? What did you wish for?

I think I know what Gilad would wish for, for his birthday. Just one thing. His freedom.”

The demonstration was organised by a group of year 11s from Yavneh School and pupils from other schools and community members also participated.

Comments

6 Responses to “Shalit demonstration touches Melbourne’s CBD”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    JPL; One mother making a stand for her children, automatically brings to mind others in similiar circumstances, it’s a Spiritual thing.
    They haven’t been forgotten.

  2. Moishe says:

    Mazel Tov to the caring students of Yavneh and the other schools.
    Let’s all please keep campaigning for his release.
    Another practical thing we can do is to pray to G-d for Gilad’s wellbeing, and for peace in the hearts of his family.

  3. JPL says:

    I want to know why Gilad is the only soldier for whom we make a noise – spend money, time and resources when there are other Israeli soldiers in captivity too. It feels as tough his captivity has become a brand which everyone wants to buy in to and there is no logic behind why he should receive so much attention and the ohter soldiers none.

    If it is the fact that his parents are so vocal then that’s ok – they care about their son and it;s their right to do everything they can to have him free. It doesnt mean we all must also ignore the other ones.

    thoughts?

  4. Lynne Newington says:

    Good on the Jewish youth; and mother going in to bat for her son; what mother would not.
    Argentina’s come to mind and the poor Irish as well.
    Nothing could be worse for a mother than empty arms for a beloved child.

  5. Sol Salbe says:

    A list of the peace songs sang by the demonstrators will be greatly appreciated.

  6. nj says:

    very impressive. well done to the students at Yavneh

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