Washington DC Panel Talk – South Sudan Voice for Freedom Organization

February 11th, 2009

Attendees Arriving - Panel Talk Luncheon at Hedref Publications

Attendees Arriving - Panel Talk Luncheon at Hedref Publications

Danielle Goldberg, Jimmy Mulla and Richard Greenberg (Washington Jewish Week Associate Editor)

Danielle Goldberg, Jimmy Mulla and Richard Greenberg (Washington Jewish Week Associate Editor)

Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom (SSVF), a Washington based advocacy group, presented its findings on the plight of Sudanese refugees in Israel at a panel discussion held February 11, 2009 at Heldref Publications.  Panel speakers included the following:

George H. Knerr, Jr.  Charlotte, N.C.  a volunteer who is working on the ground with Southern Sudanese in Israel.

Jimmy Mulla, President, Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom (SSVF), Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization

Simon Deng, a New York-Based Sudan Activist

Tally Kritzman, is a Hauser Research Scholar at New York University School of Law. Kritzman has been a part of the Refugee Rights Clinic in Tel Aviv.

Representatives from the following organizations attended the discussion: USAID, Ant-Deformation League, Institute on Religion and Democracy, Hebrew Immigration and Aids Society, Beja Congress, the RFK Center for Human Rights, Nubia Project, and the Sudanese Workers Union

Panel Speakers - (Left to Right) Danielle Goldberg, Jimmy Mulla, Tally Kritzman, Simon Deng and George Knerr (not shown)

Panel Speakers - (Left to Right) Danielle Goldberg, Jimmy Mulla, Tally Kritzman, Simon Deng and George Knerr (not shown)

Panel Talk Speakers & Guests

Panel Talk Speakers & Guests

South Sudanese

Isaac Pel from South Sudan & The City Of David

February 3rd, 2009
Isaac & George near the Western Wall

Isaac & George near the Western Wall

Hezekiah's Tunnel Entrance

Hezekiah's Tunnel Entrance

isaac-hezekiahs-tunnel

Isaac Coming from Behind in Hezekiah's Tunnel

I met Isaac Pel earlier in my trip in front of the Jaffa gate.  Isaac had been talking to some IDF personnel when I noticed his tribal markings and decided to introduce myself, I thought they were Dinka and he corrected me and told me he was from the Nuer Tribe.  I’ve seen Isaac several times since and today bumped into Isaac on my way to the City of David and asked Isaac to join me on my adventure today and a great day it was for Isaac and I.  The ruins of the City of David where great but I must say the highlight was Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  Here is the sign that greeted us at the entrance:

Hezekiah's Tunnel Warning Sign

Hezekiah's Tunnel Warning Sign

Isaac Just Inside the City of David Park Gates

Isaac Just Inside the City of David Park Gates

Inside Hezekiah's Tunnel

Inside Hezekiah's Tunnel

george-knee-deep

George Knee Deep in Hezekiah's Tunnel

Israel Travel, South Sudanese

Albino a South Sudanese Would Love to Learn Computers

February 2nd, 2009

Albino's Contagious Smile

Albino's Contagious Smile

Albino Dhieu Marial visited me today at Gabriel’s apartment.  Albino is a great friend of mine and a good soul and man of faith.  Every time Albino comes by Gabriel’s besides bringing his big contageous smile, Albino is picking up an ESL book, or Gabriel’s GED book and reading it and asking me questions.  He has a real desire to learn and prompted me to ask for used laptop donations to send to the South Sudanese in Israel (See my Support page).  The South Sudanese could realy use laptops to learn and stay connected with their community here in Israel and abroad.

Albino Giving Thumbs up to South Sudan Flag

Albino Giving Thumbs up to South Sudan Flag

Uncategorized

Tel Aviv South Sudanese Friends & Kite Surfing

January 31st, 2009
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tel-aviv-kite-surfing3

I visited Santino, Matthew, Simon and Bol in Tel Aviv spending much time talking about the issues they are facing, enjoying some great cookies that Simon’s girlfriend baked and saying my fairwells.

On my way back I stopped by the beach and took some pictures of kite surfers taking advantage of the very windy day.

tel-aviv-kite-surfing2

tel-aviv-kite-surfing4

Israel Travel, South Sudanese

Students for Sudanese Refugees Symposium

January 28th, 2009
Gabriel Speaks at Hebrew University

Gabriel Speaks at Hebrew University

 

 

 

Mollie Gerver & Students Hebrew University Auditorium

Mollie Gerver & Students Hebrew University Auditorium

 

 

 

Sara, a Student Member, Speaks

Sara, a Student Member, Speaks

 

 

 

Security asks me to test my camera

Security Asks Me to Test My Camera

Students for Sudanese Refugees (4asylum.org) held a story telling symposium at Hebrew University.  Speaking at the symposium were Gabriel Kuol Makes South Sudan), Maleth Duoc (Darfur), Abudermed Ahmed Abedel (Darfur).  The Symposium was attended by a number of students and faculty.  Mollie Gerver, leader of the Students for Sudanese Refugees opened the symposium and introduced Gabriel the first speaker.  Gabriel opened with his experience as a South Sudan war refugee, his time in prison in Khartoum, his escape into Egypt and eventually the almost identical religious and racial oppression in Egypt forced Gabriel to seek safe haven in Israel.  Gabrel then interpreted for Maleth and Adudermed who had similar stories but from a Darfurian perspective.  Members of the Students for Sudanese Refugees then gave testimonies as to their involvement.  Mollie Gerver then asked for volunteers and many students signed up to help. Side Note – I briefly stepped away from the meeting to see if I couldn’t meet the Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who was accompanying Tzipi Livni, acting prime minister of Israel,  and speaking at Hebrew University at the same time as our Sudanese meeting.  Security was tight and I spoke with Aljazeera English who were also outside waiting to get in past security.  I eventually talked with Israeli government security who were kind enough to escort me in for a couple of pictures.  The event were for Hebrew University students only and the “real” press.  The two Israeli government security officers I spoke with were actually very kind and I was surprised at their generosity.  Being thourough in their job they made me take a picture with my camera, asked me if I had any weapons (you get used to this question in Israel) and then escorted me personally inside the auditorium where I was able to take a few pictures of Tzipi while she spoke.  The top of the auditorium was packed with press.  The pictures are poor in quality because of a week flash and my distance from the podium.
Sudanese Symposium

Sudanese Symposium

 

 

 

Abudermed Ahmed Abedel Speaks on Darfur

Abudermed Ahmed Abedel Speaks on Darfur

 

 

 

Maleth Duoc Speaks to Hebrew University Student

Maleth Duoc Speaks to Hebrew University Student

 

 

 

Tzipi Livni Speaks at Hebrew University

Tzipi Livni Speaks at Hebrew University

South Sudanese ,

Gabriel, Maurice, Kuol and George Visit Western Wall

January 27th, 2009
George at the Western Wall

George at the Western Wall

Kuol at the Western Wall

Kuol at the Western Wall

We made a trip to the Western Wall to do some video but someone thought he had well charged video recorder batteries but did not.  Here are some “still” pictures just the same.
Gabriel at the Western Wall

Gabriel at the Western Wall

Maurice at the Western Wall

Maurice at the Western Wall

Uncategorized

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

January 11th, 2009

churchholysepulchre

stone-of-unction

I spent Shabbot (Friday/Saturday) inside trying to overcome a cold, but today I got up “relatively” early and went to meet one of my South Sudanese friends, Arop, at the Jaffa Gate and then off to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which after being in Israel, mostly Jerusalem 12 weeks out of the last 12 months, I have yet too see. My work with the South Sudanese has kept me very busy and for good reason. The issues facing the South Sudanese are pressing and serious. As providence would have it, Arop and I did not find each other at the Jaffa Gate and I met “Yanna” from Poland at the Church of the Holy Sepluchre and we set off to go to the Mount of Olives and the Churches there. A very good day. No pictures from the Mount of Olives as my camera battery went dead. churchholysepulchrecandlegirl

greekorthodoxcalvary

Israel Travel

Israel Tour with Union for Refugees

January 5th, 2009

I have been traveling with executive officers of the South Sudan Union for Refugees in Israel. We’ve been to Eliat, Arad and now are in Tel Aviv. I will catch up my past days blogging soon, before the memories evaporate too much from my memory.

South Sudanese

Gaza War & Ashqelon

December 27th, 2008

ashqelonpark

ashqelonhomes

PM: 5 miles north of Gaza in the south part of Ashqelon when I got asked by a park ranger to leave.  I had heard several explosions during the day thinking it was Hamas’s daily barrage of very limited range missles.  At one point I heard an explosion to my left then an explosion to my right which did not make sense and I assumed I misheard somehow.  I was in a park in the South part of Ashqelon when I park ranger began to yell at me in Hebrew. I couldn’t understand him. He kept yelling and yelled at some others who didn’t tell me what he was yelling about. I asked some little kids but they just looked at me strange and walked away. So the ranger came up to me and told me the park was closed and I had to leave. I asked him if it was because of the bombing and he said yes. He said go anywhere in Israel but not Ashqelon. He was acting as if this was a big deal but I thought Hamas was throwing bombs their way daily so I didn’t know what the big deal was until I got back to Jerusalem and learned that some of the explosions I had heard was the IDF and not just Hamas. Also that Hamas had longer range missiles that could reach into Ashqelon and by the news reports did.  Besides the explosions I saw numerous Apache helicopters overhead and seemingly over Gaza. Making it back to Jerusalem, I heard gun shots long into the night towards the Old City from where I stay in French Hill. Reportedly tear gas shots to subdue Palestinian rioting.ashqelonsouthshipsashqelonapache

Israel Travel ,

Ashqelon Shores, Israel

December 27th, 2008

northashqelonshorenorthashqelonshore2Combed the northern banks of Ashqelon finding a few treasures and also hearing a few explosions south of me in the process. Before combing the shore banks I picked a spot in the Old Testament to read while on the beach shortly after waking. The spot I picked talked about people marrying women from Ashod and not keeping the language. Ashod was just a few miles north of me at that point.

Uncategorized