Akka, or the city of Acre, is just 20 km north of Haifa. Being at the northern corner of the Haifa bay, it is the old little sister of Haifa. When the new city of Haifa was established 250 years ago, it was by Daher Al-Omar, the ruler of the Galilee, whose center of government was the old city of Akka. Since then Haifa overtook Akka as the main city and the center of government for northern Palestine. Haifa, of course, is proud of its many intellectuals and writers, but none of them equals Akka’s legendary revolutionary writer the martyr Ghassan Kanafani.
As the Hunger Strike of the Palestinian prisoners is completing its first week, we were invited today, Monday 23/4/2012, to take part in a demonstration in Akka in support of the striking prisoners. The invitation came from of a new youth group in Akka, named after Ghassan Kanafani. It was held near a traffic circle on the main road that enters the old city, just north of Akka’s formidable historic defensive walls. On the circle stands one of Akka’s famous old iron cannons, which famously helped to prevent its occupation by Napoleon, in his 1799 siege. So the circle used to be called “the cannon’s circle”. For the event the organizers gave the circle a new name, Ghassan Kanafani circle, a tribute to the man that gave his life and educated generations on the resistance to the continuing Zionist siege of Acre and Palestine.
On Thursday the Zionists are celebrating 64 years for the occupation of Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of most of its Arab population. So the Zionist Akka municipality covered the city with the blue and white flag that symbolizes Jewish dominance. But when we came to Ghassan Kanafani’s circle a little late, those flags were almost unseen, as the demonstrators flied high a collection of Palestinian flags.
The prisoners strike is a major challenge. There was a previous strike in October 2011, and there was a nice solidarity campaign, but then came the prisoners’ exchange and the strike lost steam and was suspended.
In the meantime the Israeli racist prison authorities continue to invent new restriction on all vital aspects of the prisoners’ lives. Prisoners are highly restricted even in basic issues as holding books and the right to learn in prison. It is not only the prisoners that suffer. The authorities make it always harder for their families to visit them and use the permitted visits as an occasion to humiliate the families.
You would expect that on the essential issue of prisoner’s humanitarian demands, especially in the emergency of a hunger strike, all Palestinian forces will unite and put all their effort in the solidarity campaign. We still hope. Till now it the youth that are leading the struggle, like the newly established Ghassan Kanafani group from Akka. We need everybody to follow the example of the Akka youth and break the siege on the prisoners.
For some information about the Palestinian Prisoners and their struggle you can visit
Site of Ad-Damir Prisoners Support Association (but they should give more cover to the ongoing strike).
To see images from the demonstration you can follow the link: