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From the Director


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Your MECA
DOLLAR$
at WORK Arab world. People in the Arab world also want to gain

great writers and thinkers whose books are in English.


Mosab made his vision a reality by reaching out to the
Edward Said Public Library
all those who contributed books and funds to establish the
Opens in Gaza
liance for becoming the Edward Said Library’s U.S. part
ner organization.
The great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and Ed
ner and we are so happy to join this initiative started by Mosab ward were dear friends for many years. Mahmoud’s fare
Abu Toha.

Arabic and English, regularly hold workshops for writers and By traveling freely across cultures
teachers, conduct English language classes, and host visits for those in search of the human essence
schoolchildren.
Books are a way to travel freely across cultures.
Libraries provide place for all to sit.

Children reading new books provided by MECA staff.

in the town of Beit Lahia, in Gaza, Palestine.


Edward had several deep passions to which he dedicated
his life. His family, of course. The liberation of Palestine.
And his love of books and music. English literature was the
center of his professional life as a Comparative Literature
Professor at Columbia University and he believed in the
power of books. He was determined to share his love for
and knowledge of literature with as many people as pos
sible, especially young Palestinians.
Although the founder of the Edward Said Library Mosab

been great friends, talking for hours about writers and

ple think, how we can communicate with them, how we can


understand them. Language is what makes us all human,”

with a clearer and more evocative understanding of the

2 MECA NEWS
Boys from the neighborhood enjoy the new swings. MECA distributed backpacks with school supplies to
1,092 children in Gaza.
Education and Play
Come Together in Beitunia School Supplies & Winter Relief
Waed Abbas, MECA Palestine Projects Assistant in Gaza and Lebanon
In September, I had the pleasure of joining MECA partner Ri
vide protection from the harsh weather for families in Gaza
Beitunia Municipality, the Beitunia Girls School, and the Indian and refugees from Syria in Lebanon. By the time you get this
Embassy to celebrate the opening of the Educational Garden in
Beitunia! This garden will provide a playful, green space for the
children to learn and enjoy their time under the sun, surrounded 3,000 children in Gaza. MECA’s friends at Zam Zam Water and
PaliRoots raised the funds for the bundles. Volunteers covered
for the project of rehabilitating Beitunia’s old city. dozens of homes with plastic sheeting to keep the wind and rain
What’s unique about Beitunia’s old city is that there isn’t an away from homes in disrepair because of Israel’s military at
old city centered in one location. In Beitunia you’ll see modern tacks and blockade of building materials. MECA also distrib
cement houses and then scattered, gorgeous old houses every
In Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Shatila Refugee Camp, and Burj
worked for many years renovating buildings for families and the
community.
This new garden, built with funding from MECA is right
next to the youth center that will open soon and the girls’ school.

ment clearly visible on their faces. I heard one of them whisper MECA’s annual
winter relief efforts
to see a few weeks back. It’s perfect, so pretty!” give children new
The students weren’t the only ones who were excited. I saw shoes along with a
the science, art, and PE teachers discussing the kinds of classes sense of delight and
they’d like to conduct in the garden. The garden contains sev pride.

plants, another is for evergreen ones, and a third for seasonal


ones. All of the plants are native to Palestine, giving the children
the chance to learn more about their homeland and how to take
care of native plants.

for an educational experience is what we were hoping this place

not our aim to only renovate old buildings, but also to make them

part of this aim that we’re extremely excited about.” MECA NEWS 3
Your MECA
DOLLAR$
at WORK
Eyewitness Account:
MECA Projects in Lebanon

MECA Bookkeeper and Administrative Coordinator

-
its to our projects on a recent trip to Lebanon. I was excited to Students greet us at the school for refugees from Syria in
get reacquainted with the chaotic and charming wonder that is Shatila Refugee Camp, Beirut.

ago, but its remnants can still be seen throughout the city. Forty-
year-old bullet holes still garnish concrete walls and buildings colored classrooms are decorated with art projects and posters

- during sports hour, children can be seen playing and laughing.


- My friend Dalal Al Sindi, who is the founder of the Art Ther-
apy Centre Bahrain, conducted an art therapy workshop with 12-
than one square kilometer.
-
loved ones who had died in the war. Some drew themselves as
partner. As we walked through the camp, Suha recounted the
MECA believes that every child deserves to live in digni-
For three days, Israeli forces sealed the camp and allowed anti-

thousand refugees. dreams can be developed and that is why MECA and its com-
Suha led us to an unassuming indoor memorial where the munity are proud to support these crucial programs.

faces line the walls.


When we arrived at a small windowless schoolhouse on the
-
Memorial posters in the Sabra and Shatila massacre
graveyard
- CREDIT: Ferdous Al-Audhali/Middle East Monito

lowed to attend public schools in Lebanon and their parents


are barred from most jobs. The school provides education and
a positive environment outside the family home. The space is
also home to a project aimed at counseling adolescent and adult
women on positive parenting, domestic abuse, and sexual health.
The following day, our journey took us east of Beirut and

classes, psychosocial support, vocational training, and an oasis


for children in seemingly hopeless environments. The brightly-

4 MECA NEWS
Volunteer Corner:
By Jamal Sultan
and organizations. For my senior project, I taught my high If you’re interested in volunteering, please get in
touch with us: MECA @mecaforpeace.org,
510-548-0542.
like falafel sandwiches and chicken kababs.
Later, when I became a student at California State Univer-
sity-East Bay, one of my professors suggested I contact the

knew I wanted to be part of the team and the friendly environ-


ment they created.
During my time with MECA I did a wide variety of tasks,
-
ing olive oil and other merchandise for shipment, serving food
-

me the opportunity to interact with people and answer ques-

met an Arab man in a café and we had a conversation about the

and other Arab countries. These interactions encouraged me to


continue my volunteer work at MECA because I realize that

about the issues affecting my community and ways to resolve

to connect with my roots, build friendships and connections, Volunteer Jamal Sultan (left) and Teach Palestine
Coordinator Jody Sokolower serving the crowd at
MECA’s Annual Palestinian Crafts Bazaar

In Memoriam
In 2019, two of our most dedicated volunteers died unex-
pectedly. Sue Bergman was a retired health educator, health
care activist, dog lover, and a whiz at any task we gave her.
Rhoda Slanger was a retired editor who taught English as a
Second Language, corrected our spelling and grammar errors
and kept our database clean as a whistle.
We remember Sue and Rhoda with much gratitude and
love.

MECA NEWS 5
The Big Ride
for Palestine:
Fifth Year Raising
Funds and Awareness

with support for the Palestinian people. They staged a marathon

ered hundreds of miles and raised thousands of pounds online for

how to become activists.

CREDIT: S. Smith Patrick

Visiting Alcatraz, Continued from page 1


Nakba and we’ll commemorate the two Nakbas

performing because they were telling the stories of their fami

MECA plans to organize a local sister fundraiser


in 2020. If you’re interested, please contact:
nancy@mecaforpeace.org. generations to reclaim your land and your future.

The 2019 Big Ride for Palestine raised $22,000 for MECA’s
girls’ sports and health education project in Gaza
CREDIT: The Big Ride for Palestine

people from diverse backgrounds came together to share their

the stories that my mother and others from the Nakba generation

inspires others.

6 MECA NEWSS
Decolonize Your Food:
In January, MECA and the Museum of the African
Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco hosted an afternoon
of delectable food and compelling conversation about
food justice with:
(from left) Activists and chefs Bryant Terry, Shakirah
Simley, Laila El-Haddad, and Reem Assil.

appropriate food supply for historically mar

This event was a fundraiser for MECA’s

Palestine.

youtube/ksd9ycp2rmg

Yes, I want to help MECA protect the health, lives, and rights
of Palestinian children and refugees from Syria.
Here is my tax-deductible contribution of:

[ ] $250 [ ] $100 [ ] $50 [ ] $25 [ ] $ ____________

[ ] I would like to make this a monthly contribution.


Federal and California
state employees, you can
give to MECA at work!
Please enclose a check or fill out the credit card form below.

Card Number: __________________________________ Expiration: ______/_____

Signature: ______________________________________ Security code__________

Email: _________________________________________

Name: _________________________________________
#15178
Address: _______________________________________

City_____________________ ST,___________ Zip:______________

Phone:_________________________________________

To make a donation online, go to: www.mecaforpeace.org/donate


MECA is a 501(c)3 exempt organization. Your gift is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.
NEWS 121352),7
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SHUPLW

COMING UP!
Naomi Shihab Nye
Sat. May 23rd,7:30pm
St. John’s Church, Berkeley

Info and link to


purchase tickets at
www.mecaforpeace.org
credit: Jay Finneburgh

CREDIT: Micahd