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Massacre survivors cry out for justice
26 August 2012
Human Rights activists once again protested outside the Tower of London on 26th August 2012 demanding the Steinmetz Israeli blood diamond be removed from display at the Tower, the Steinmetz company had adopted the Israeli Givati Brigade which is responsible for war crimes in Gaza including the Samouni family massacre.
The Tower of London makes an excellent location for engaging the public.
The Samouni Family from Gaza are asking the people of the UK, and the Queen on their behalf, to reject the Steinmetz Blood Diamond.
During Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, the Israeli Army's Givati Brigade rounded up 100 members of the Samouni family, and ordered them into the house of Wa’el Samouni. The house was then bombed, and the ruined building cordoned off for four days during which time rescue services were prevented from approaching, with ambulances being shot at. When rescue workers were finally allowed into the ruins, they found 29 bodies, and traumatised children under the rubble with dead family members. They also found daubed on the walls racist graffiti in Hebrew which read "The only good Arab is a dead Arab".
The Steinmetz Company supports the Givati Brigade through charitable donations. Their foundation on its website claims to "fosters a close relationship with the commanders and their soldiers" and "during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip the foundation helped the unit buy complementary equipment" and "visited and cared for the soldiers".
A Forevermark Steinmetz diamond, has been presented by De Beers to the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee. We are asking that this “Blood Diamond”, currently being exhibited at the Tower, be removed immediately. For the last three month there has been a protest most weeks outside the Tower of London.
On Sunday 26th August activists once again protested outside the main entrance of the Tower of London where the offending blood diamond is on display. The weather was great and we had a good turnout of activists. By this time the Tower security having got used to our presence didn't even approach us to raise the usual objections, and there was no police presence.
Even with the main Olympics now over we were still seeing an international audience though less so then at the previous protest.
It was amazing to see people stop mid-walk to stand for nearly 5 minutes to read the message from the Samouni family to the Queen. The overwhelming majority of people were visibly shocked at what they read and very sympathetic asking how they could help, was there a petition they could sign, etc.
The next protest will be in a fortnight, on Sunday 9th September 2012, meet at 3pm outside Tower Hill tube station.
Family asking to sign the petition
Stopping mid-walk to read the message from the Samouni family to the Queen
People visibly moved my the Sammouni letter to the Queen.
Reading the Sammouni letter
Stopping to read the Samouni message..
Signing the petition
A talented musician activist joined us on the day.
Your Majesty Say No! To Israeli Blood Diamond in the Tower!
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"[Deportation at the airport] We saw the injured [Turkish] men going through.. a lot had a leg cut out of their trousers or an arm cut out of their top. It had been cut out to treat their wounds.. they were covered in blood, blood that had been there for three days, and some of them had wounds that were still bleeding.. What upset me most was seeing the dozen men, one after another, hobbling across the terminal, with a bandaged foot. I couldn't ask them why so many of them had a bandaged foot, I couldn't ask them what had happened, because if they spoke or if any of us spoke to them the Israelis beat the injured person.. We later found out that they had these injuries on the tops of their feet from when the troops came down from the helicopter on the Mavi Marmara, and they came down firing - they had been shot from above. Some of the men that were killed were shot at close range - head and chest, but a dozen of the men who were shot, among 59 people who were shot, they were shot at the tops of their feet - the bullets were coming down.. They weren't given a wheelchair or a pair of crutches, and if any of the other passengers stood up and tried to offer [help].. that person was dragged away and smacked by these Israelis. The Israeli soldiers sat on the floor, laughed and sniggered and made every one of these Turkish men hobble and hop all the way across, some 200 metres, everyone of them, one by one, made to do that purely for the sick amusement of the Israeli soldiers."
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