Determination in the Face of Israeli Brutality – The Children of Gaza

This entry was posted by on Friday, 11 January, 2013 at


** Daithi Bell is a Sinn Fein Councillor and a teacher at Corpus Christi College in Belfast. He has kindly put forth the following submission after travelling out to Gaza on our most recent Delegation which took place immediately after the recent invasion of Gaza. To learn more about our program go HERE to see an example of the program go HERE.. Daithi’s report:

Sinn Fein Councillor Daithi Bell, who is also a teacher at Corpus Christi College in West Belfast, stands in the ruins of a bombed classroom in Gaza

It is with great difficulty that I will try to describe what I saw and witnessed during my visit to the destroyed schools in Gaza and the feelings I experienced. It would be wrong of me not to do so and I am duty bound to carry this message back to you all.

I experienced a mixture of emotions upon visiting the region. It was heart breaking to see the amount of devastation caused by the recent Israeli attacks on the area, combined with the high levels of poverty that are a direct result of the continued siege on the Gaza strip.

On our third day we were brought to the Ministry of Education and were shown one of the schools that was targeted during the attacks. I braced myself for the worst as I was already aware that during the Israeli assault, children had suffered the most, and the highest percentage of casualties were in fact children.

one of the many classrooms struck by Israeli missile at Umm El Khura Primary school.

I as a teacher cannot imagine teaching, never mind learning, in such conditions as I viewed bombed out classrooms and playgrounds. I asked myself constantly, how in any way could a school be considered a legitimate target?

West Belfast teacher Daithi Bell pictured with youth worker MaryKate Quinn. also from belfast, visiting bombed out school in Gaza.

Teacher Daithi Bell holds up sample of childrens school work found in the rubble of bombed classroom.

Children’s class books and work littered the floor. Huge sections of the walls and floors were missing. Tables and chairs were entangled in a mess of steel and iron. There were also holes in the walls were shrapnel from the bombs had cut like a knife through butter. I could not bare to imagine what the loss of life might have been had children been in the classrooms I saw. What I can say from seeing this is that there is no doubt that the Israeli statements saying that they were trying to target combatants is a bare faced lie! This eight day long bombardment was an attempt to break the spirit and moral of a determined, unbowed and unbroken, Palestinian people.

I am a proud Irish Republican but I believe it does not take a person to be politically motivated to realise right from wrong. It simply takes one to be human, regardless of your religious or political beliefs to see what has been inflicted upon the Palestinian people is nothing short of an act of genocide. I only hope that I in some way can make a difference.

Teacher Daithi Bell meets some former students of the bombed out school who tell about the devastating loss of their school and classrooms

Through the school twinning project that I will be working on I hope to share what I have seen with others. What we achieve as individuals may be small in the grand scheme of things, but a great man once said “Everyone, Republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something.”

This applies to every just struggle across the world, and it is with the thought of those smiling faces that greeted us upon entering Gaza, despite the oppression they have suffered, that we must have a renewed determination to work harder than ever for freedom, justice and equality. Tiocfaidh ar la!

Some of the beautiful Children of Gaza

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