Below is a list of suggested ways to educate and take action against the Wall. This list is not comprehensive, it is just a beginning. Take action and be creative.
• Commitment to education is a key aspect to ensuring the success of your campaign. Speakers allow students and interested members of the community an opportunity to hear about the Wall for themselves. Find out if there are students or members of the local community who have recently been to Palestine. These activists have likely visited and taken part in actions against the Wall. Invite them to speak at your school about their experiences, human rights violations occurring in Palestine and the Wall. Keep in mind that just sitting and listening to an "expert" talk can be disempowering. Consult with your speaker about ways to make the event more engaging and productive proceeding their talk. Have a group member facilitate discussion in break-out groups, make t-shirts to raffle off at the next event for a fundraiser, or have a brainstorming session about what resources individuals can offer to an action/campaign on this issue.
• Plan ahead by identifying and approaching your desired speaker in advance. You may be responsible for providing provisions for speakers such as an honorarium, the cost of room and board, travel etc. Asking and identifying a speaker in advance will enable your group more time to successfully fundraise. Your group should carefully assess what kind of funds you need for other organizing projects and decide whether you think a speaker's honorarium is reasonable given your future plans. Be honest and firm when telling speakers that you are a student activist group- they should try to work within your budget.
• Don't forget to ask other groups on campus to co sponsor the event, they may be able to help you fundraise and ultimately will help you make positive connections on your campus. Many campuses have Middle East/Near Eastern Languages and Cultures departments and Political Science, English, and International Studies are also good departments to approach. When asking them to financially co-sponsor the event, you should also ask them to co-sponsor it by helping publicize it in their departments. If you can contact professors personally, they may give their students credit for attending the event. (See Appendix for list of Speakers Bureaus).
• Teach In's are meant to provide general information about a situation or event and to get new people connected and involved. Have well-informed members of your group, professors, or community members "Teach In" about the Apartheid Wall. Check out power point presentations about the Wall at www.gushshalom.org, www.stopthewall.org, or www.palsolidarity.org. It will be important to keep other visual aids on hand including maps and pictures of the Wall. These visuals will give the attendees a better understanding of the gravity of the situation. Teach-ins should be engaging, interactive, and concise. It is important to leave a large chunk of time for questions- this is often when people learn the most. It is also important for whoever is running the teach-in to be organized and concise in their presentation, providing concrete examples and clear definitions. Those in attendance are at the event to learn more, so be sure to be well supplied with flyers about local events, lists of good websites and books, and perhaps an article or two.
• Be heard by chanting slogans at large or small rallies, vigils, actions, or wherever else you feel it is appropriate. This is an effective tool to get your message out loud and clear. Chanting helps strangers, not involved in your action, know why you are there and it also helps action participants to feel a sense of camaraderie.
• When thinking of slogans for chanting try to make them rhyme and full of catchy phrases. When leading a group in chanting, ensure that there is someone with a bull horn in charge who is prepared with a list of chants for the event. This leader should read the slogans in a call and response fashion according to the rhythm of the slogan. Pay attention to the crowd. Not all slogans and chants work at every event, if a crowd isn't catching on to a particular chant don't revisit it again at that event. It is a good idea to organize members of your group to write up some chants and make signs and posters before an action. This is a fun and creative way to get together and prepare for an action. This will also get your group thinking about the action in advance.
• Organize a film screening. Colleges and universities have huge movie collections that are often accessible to students. A film screening is an opportunity to hook up with unlikely groups and departments on campus like the Cinema Studies Department or the Film Club.
• View the film ahead of time and prepare questions for discussion in advance. When leading a discussion, even about a film, it is a good idea to keep talking points on hand. Ask your Audiovisual Department or Film Library for a copy of the copy right rules and regulations for your institution. (See Appendix for Film List)
• Vigils are often used to commemorate and remember a tragic event. When choosing a date for a vigil try to choose one that holds significance. Many vigils are candlelit and may start off by poetry readings, songs and include moments of silence. Check with the rules and regulations of your school before planning to use candles; some institutions prohibit the use of candles as a potential fire hazard. If allowed, provide candles and tin foil for the participants and if possible make copies of the program for the crowd.
• While vigils are meant for commemoration and often closure, they are also powerful spaces to promote awareness. It is important to have visible banners and signs so that passers-by can immediately know why you are there. The organizers of the vigil should decide beforehand how you will interact with passers-by. A silent vigil can be very powerful, having a couple people passing out flyers to passers-bys explaining why you're there is always good, having a sound-system and a couple of speakers is a possibility and having designated spokespeople to talk to the media so that everyone else can continue the vigil is always important. In each of these cases, the folks who will be interacting with passers-by and the media should have talking points and be sure that they represent the reason why everyone is gathered there.
• With any event panned outside, be sure to book and advertise for an alterative rain location.
Here are a few dates that might interest you:
March 30: Palestinian Land Day (For the history of Palestine Land Day: http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/pubs/20010330ib.html)
November 9: This date marks the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and was selected by PENGON (the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign) for a first International Day of Action in 2003 (For more information: http://stopthewall.org/news/thecampaign.shtml)
December 10: International Human Rights Day (For the UN International Declaration of Human Rights and more information about December 10: http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/)
April 9, 1948: Commemoration of Deir Yassin (For more information: www.deiryassin.org)
May 15, 1948: Commemoration of Al-Nakba—the term means "the disaster" in Arabic, and is used by the Palestinians to describe their dispossession and expulsion. (For more information: Read Ilan Pappe's, "The '48 Nakba & The Zionist Quest for its Completion" http://www.between-lines.org/archives/2002/oct/Ilan_Pappe.htm)
June 6, 1967: The date of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (For more information: Read Phyllis Bennis's Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer at http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=52)
• Be public. On a regular basis set up a table for your group in/outside your student union building, library or another highly frequented spot. At your table include literature, campaign information, petitions, a group banner and flyers for upcoming events and your group's next meeting. This is an opportunity to advertise for events/campaigns, to maintain visibility on campus, to empower members of your group to talk to strangers about the issues and to obtain signatures on petitions. A larger group may want to set up a tabling rotation to ensure not only that tabling happens frequently, but also that members don't get too burned out.
• Group members should know up to date information about the Wall and the region. Internal teach-ins for members of your group are a good idea. Some groups designate a portion of each meeting to update about current events in Israel/Palestine with the presenter rotating each meeting. This provides each group member with an opportunity to be educated and educate others. Be prepared to answer questions - it might be helpful to keep talking points, maps and photos on hand. Don't table alone and ensure that group members are paired with individuals with whom they feel comfortable.
• Be prepared to deal with antagonizers and decide ahead of time how you will deal with them if the problem arises. A good policy is to just say: "I'm glad that you have a deep concern about this and I would be happy to talk with you when I am not working on a public event. If you are interested, I can give you our campaign information or some literature?" If you feel comfortable, give them your e-mail address or a business card. Hold de-escalation and facilitation trainings for your group to help everyone become better at engaging productively with hostile folks at events or while tabling. Campus dialogue centers or counseling centers are often happy to provide de-escalation trainings or mediation.
Letter Writing/Postcard Campaign/Call Ins
• National organizations frequently send out "Calls to Action." These "calls" correspond to increases of violence, national and international holidays, or consciousness raising—they "call" on activists to write letters, or make calls to representatives. These are good opportunities to table in support of national organizations as well as a way to link into organizing on a national level.
• Start your own postcard/letter writing campaign. These campaigns usually focus around a single issue and require concentrated tabling for a week or more to get the message out. Print out a number of postcards with a set text at a local printer. While tabling collect signatures on the postcards and send them to representatives or whichever local politician or business person you are targeting. Often it is easier to get people involved and to affect change on a local level- so try targeting local institutions and politicians who are uncritically supporting or investing in Israel's policies. When participating in a letter writing campaign it is a good idea to have a version of the letter handy and ask students to copy it over on paper you provide - keep the text brief and direct. Always encourage interested students to add their own words to the text; this will make the letter a more effective means of communication. Send each letter or postcard separately. You can find postal addresses, fax numbers and phone numbers at the following sites:
US Senator at http://www.senate.gov US Representative at http://www.house.gov/writerep President George W. Bush at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ Secretary of State Colin Powell at: http://contact-us.state.gov/
• "Call- Ins" are meant to reach representatives, City Council members, media outlets, presidents of universities immediately. Phone calls put pressure on these decision makers to change their position and make it clear that there are concerned citizens/community members/students paying attention to what is going on. So, be sure to make the calls in a designated amount of time around a specific issue. When calling representatives' offices it is important to have talking points or a script with you while you are on the phone. When calling Congress, Senate and the White House you will not speak directly to a specific decision maker. Be prepared to speak to Congressional or White House staffers or you simply to a recording. Speak clearly, concisely and politely when you have the opportunity to speak to a staffer or leave a message. In the age of cell phones a creative action is to ask members of your group or interested students to donate a fraction of their daytime minutes to call representatives (or whoever you are targeting) while tableing. Or, at a rally or speaking event ask everyone to take out their cell phones and make a call right there and then. (See Appendix for Sample Letter and Postcard Text)
Letters to the Editor
• Letters to the Editor are a good way to reach the entire campus and address specific campus and global issues. They inform students that there are groups on campus working on an issue or event. This is also an opportunity to state your group's position in an uncensored manner. If you have a professor involved in your group, have them write letters too- they often have an easier time getting printed because of their status. (See Appendix for Sample Letter to the Editor)
Always be direct. Be clear and concise and write in short paragraphs. Keep your letter short; the paper will be less likely to cut what you have written if what you have written in short. Use strong language but do not attack others or be belligerent. Provide group contact information and group meeting time at the end of the letter. Letters to the editor are more likely to be printed then op-ed pieces.
Guerilla Theater is a theatrical depiction of a social or political event and is defined by its radical content. There are many ways to perform Guerilla Theater against the Wall. Internationally groups are constructing mock Walls in public places to draw attention to human rights violations. There are a number of ways to construct these "Walls;" here are a few ideas that are relatively easy to actualize.
• Construct a Movable Wall. Stand in a highly frequented area (pedestrian or vehicle) with a roll of fabric. On the fabric write large slogans in spray paint against the Wall. Once the Wall is constructed, chant in a highly visible spot. This is relatively inexpensive (all you need is the fabric and a bottle of spray paint), and doesn't require too many bodies. Also, once you have the fabric painted you'll have it on hand and will be able to repeat this action whenever you like. Some people have gotten into soldiers uniforms and acted out how Palestinians are treated while trying to get through the few gates in the Wall. When doing street theater like this, it is always important to have several people be passing out flyers to passers-by explaining why you're there and providing your contact information.
• Construct a Wall of Bodies. Gather groups of like-minded students and on each person attach a letter of a slogan against the Wall. Link arms and walk down a busy street, or chant in a highly frequented area. This is easy to actualize but you will need a lot of bodies to make it visible.
• Construct a Freestanding Wall. Many campuses give students the ability to have outside art installations. You will probably be required to reserve a space ahead of time and fill out necessary paper work. Using a long rolls of fabric attach wooden rods to the fabric every few feet. Secures the rods in the ground. Construct the Wall to go in a circle, a line, a spiral or whatever your group thinks is appropriate—but make sure that it is visible. This installation can be interactive by allowing students to write emotions, stories, poetry etc. about human rights, the Wall, Palestine, or the Intifada. Or, before the construction of the installation have your group write facts, stories or pin pictures to the Wall. Either way, encourage and invite students to engage with the information.
Always have group members passing out contact info, flyers and campaign information. Campaign information will empower students and individuals to connect with your group. These flyers can also connect passers-bys to local and national groups working against the Apartheid Wall.
Civil disobedience is non-violent direct action that could end in arrest.
• Common forms of civil disobedience are sit-ins or administrative "take overs." Before you plan any civil disobedience be sure that you have chosen a date, event and action that are noteworthy. Each person participating in the action should have a "support person" who will be responsible for taking care of school, work, family, and media issues for them. Have a media team that will not be participating in the "arrestable" part of the action send out a press release right before it happens and then run video tapes and press statements to news channels afterwards. Contact the media. Establish channels to get the word out about civil disobedience and possible arrest ahead of time (i.e. e-mail lists or phone trees) and provide phone/fax numbers of City Council and the police department for concerned individuals to call and demand you be treated fairly and released. Be sure to select members of your group that are not participating in the action to advocate for you among the student body and be in charge of media.
• Get trained. Before participating in civil disobedience it will be important to be properly trained. There are a number of organizations that provide free or inexpensive non-violent resistance training. It is also essential that everyone participating in the action has agreed on what you are going to do- play out different scenarios and decide what your collective response will be in the different situations. When one person acts out in the moment, everyone's safety is compromised. Role-playing and practice is important. So is keeping things confidential so that the police won't find out ahead of time and show up before you do.
These are a few groups that give trainings. They will also be able to point you to more training opportunities or groups in you area . . .
• Be smart. Before participating or planning civil disobedience get in contact with a lawyer at the National Layers Guild or the American Civil Liberties Union to know your rights and what you or members of your group are getting into. Check Out: www.aclu.org, www.nlg.org, and www.midnightspecial.net. Before your action, decide together what you will or will not say to the police if you get arrested- the police are legally allowed to lie in order to manipulate people so get your stories straight with each other.