Last November, during the European Social Forum in a convention on gays, lesbians and neo-liberalism, a GLBT peace mission in Palestine for June 2003 was proposed. In the following months this proposal was broadened with the idea of creating a GLBT international movement against war and in favour of a globalisation of human rights.
The idea of a peace mission in Palestine started from our need of putting
into practice the theory of our political positions in order to have an
active role in changing the current situation, through an interaction with
the international pacifist movement and an attentive analysis of our specific
condition. From our point of view it would be essential to meet each other
in order to look for and to find alternatives to war, violence, exploitation,
poverty, racism and social exclusion.
For a long time we have witnessed a strong pressure towards an establishment of all the “rules” of neo-liberalist society, mainly based on a policy of juxtaposition between poles (gay/straight, man/woman, East/West, Christians/Muslims etc) and at the same time we have seen a nearly complete cancellation of all the achievements gained in years of fights based on the valorisation of diversity as a moral value.
Moreover, the continuous militarisation of our lives, due to the new strategy of economic and social control, the war on terrorism, has narrowed our physical and political freedom even more. In fact this could justify a cancellation of freedom and human rights even in the West, as it is proved by last events of police and fascist repression, prohibition of demonstrations, increasing homophobia of our right government, reset of workers rights etc.
This situation has pushed the policies of liberation (for instance that of sexual orientation) towards defensive positions with a sterile policy of claims, without any critical analysis of the causes of oppression. This attitude is regarded as functional to the hetero/liberalism system.
We have chosen Palestine for the symbolic value that the Israeli/Palestinian
conflict has gained as a paradigm of imperialism, but also because of the
violent incommunicability which characterises it and which increases authoritarianism
and fundamentalism. But also because in Palestine and in the other Arabic
countries the growing power of fundamentalist organisations and the militarisation
of social relationships resulted from the war have stopped the traditional
“repressive tolerance” towards homosexuality. They have also
started a real persecution of gay people with arrests, tortures and, if
they are deported from Israel to Palestine, with killings when they are
accused of being informers of the Israeli police.
For these reasons we have decided to dedicate the 2003 Pride to the themes of peace and human rights. A delegation will leave for Tel Aviv on the 10th of June to meet some representatives of the Israeli society and some members of the parliament. We want to tell them that 36 years of occupation are too many and that violence, death and destruction do not carry peace but only hate and more violence. With this message we are going to participate to the Jerusalem Pride, in the town which is a symbol of meeting of cultures, religions and people. From the 15th of June we are going to be in West Bank and Gaza strip to see the effects of occupation and war but particularly to meet some representatives of Palestinian associations and also some politicians to tell them that the fight for freedom of a population is a lot much stronger when basic rights of individuals, such as the rights of sexual orientation and identity, are ensured. Several Palestinian politicians have already supported our proposals (for example: Mustafà Bargouthi and Palestinian NGO’s coordinator) and, we hope, a lot more will follow.
10th of June , coming back 20th of June. We will stay 2 days in Tel Aviv, and the other days in Jerusalem from where we’ll go to Ramallah, (16 June), Gaza (18 June). For accommodation there is the possibility to choose between: private house (for free), hostel (5-7 euro a day), hotel (25 euro a day).