Press Release 17 June 2012

To be forgotten, too, is to die a little. It is to lose some of the links that anchor us to the rest of humanity.

Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict, for suffering degrades and embitters and enrages.

Aung San Suu Kwi extracted from her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech 16 June 2012

Scottish Friends of Palestine welcomes the opportunity given to Burmese pro-democracy and human rights activist, Aung San Suu Kwi, to receive her Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1991. We note that this was a consequence of the application of sanctions against Burma for over a decade. Her presence in Oslo was a direct result of the determined will of the international community.

Scottish Friends of Palestine also welcomes the statement of support for Palestinian footballer, and hunger striker, Mahmoud Sarsak, from footballer Eric Cantona and others.

Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, is a members of the Palestine National Team and was detained over 3 years ago as he tried to make his way from Gaza to play in a football match. Sarsak has never been charged, there has never been a trial. His so-called “administrative detention” under Israel’s “Unlawful Combatants Law”, has been renewed six times. After the sixth renewal on the 19th March, Sarsak went on hunger strike. He is now at death’s door. He should either be charged and put on trial or released. Largely forgotten and ignored he is representative of those 300 or more “administrative detainees” held by the state of Israel without charge. He is a political prisoner.

And where does the football fraternity stand on this matter? When it comes to Euro 2012 hosted in the Ukraine, footballing bodies and politicians have been outspoken in their condemnation. Indeed, some government officials are boycotting group stage matches in Ukraine because of perceived human rights abuses in that country. When it comes to Israel’s brutal suppression and denial of Palestinian rights, there is silence.

As for Scotland, on the very day that Aung San Suu Kwi’s courage is acknowledged, we host the UEFA Euro Women’s Qualifier, Scotland v Israel – with the latter being responsible for a military occupation where racism, human rights abuses and gross violations of international law are a daily occurrence. There is no hint of boycott or sanctions. There is no censure. Yet again Israel has been accepted as normal state on Scotland’s soil.

Such double standards, resulting in a people ignored and forgotten until the next eruption takes place is, as Aung San Suu Kwi has observed, the condition for the seeds of (further) conflict to take place.


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