By Susan Schwartz, TMO
The event titled â€œHealing Handsâ€ drew a capacity audience and featured speakers, music, and awards in addition to the fundraising.
Veteran human rights activist, Ken Oâ€™Keefe was the keynote speaker. Mr. Oâ€™Keefe currently resides in Gaza with his wife and two children. He was on board the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked by Israel in 2010 while it was part of an aid flotilla to Gaza. He helped disarm Israeli sailors and also helped to treat the wounded. He is engaged in numerous projects in Gaza to raise the standard of living of its residents suffering under the boot of the Israeli presence.
Mr. Oâ€™Keef broke a 30 day hunger fast the evening of the event. He had undertaken the fast to protest and show solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners.
Mr. Oâ€™Keefe has undertaken, among other endeavors, the Samouni Project dedicated to helping that family move toward self sufficiency. Of all the families in Gaza the Samouni family suffered the most during Israelâ€™s Operation Cast Lead. One of the girls in the Samouni family has been treated by the PCRF in the past and was also seen by them this September during a medical mission to Gaza.
He described life in Gaza and the turmoil it brings especially to the children. To them losing a beloved family member, a limb, and living with the constant sound of helicopters overhead is an integral part of their lives. It is a nightmare that they do not wake up from.That is something we, who do not live under occupation, cannot comprehend.
After his presentation a member of the audience spontaneously ran up to the podium, embraced Mr. Oâ€™Keefe and thanked him for his work and his inspiration.
Mr. Oâ€™Keefe said that the future of world peace hinges on the Palestine conflict.
Doc Jazz and his Musical Intifada provided a highly entertaining program. His appearance at the gala marked the first time he had crossed the Atlantic to perform. He has written a new song titled â€œHealing Handsâ€ to coincide with the event. The proceeds from its down loads will be given to the PCRF. Also coinciding with his appearance in Anaheim is the release of a CD titled â€œIntifadaâ€ which will be available on Amazon.
His songs ranged from traditional Arab music to contemporary jazz.
Doc Jazz is a Palestinian surgeon.
Steve Sosebee, the founder of he PCRF and its current CEO, gave an overview of the organization. Later in the evening, the Huda Sosebee Healing Spirit Award was awarded to PCRF Chairman of the Board, Dr. Musa Nasir, and to Los Angeles-Orange County PCRF Chapter President, Lily Karam.
Huda Al Masri Sosebee, the late wife of Steve Sosebee, was truly the heart of the PCRF. She was a social worker and totally dedicated to the cause of Palestine. The award is named in her honor.The newly opened Pediatric Oncology Department at Al Husseini Hospital in Beit Jala, the only facility of its kind in Palestine and a PCRF project, is also named in her honor.
The Palestine Childrenâ€™s Relief Fund is the largest childrenâ€™s charity in the world. Since its inception it has expanded its purview. The PCRF sends medical missions, usually but not exclusively, to Palestine to treat children there. If they cannot be treated locally they are flown, at no cost to themselves and their guardian, to a hospital in Dubai or the West. The medical missions also serve to teach the local medical personnel so that more can be done on site.
The PCRF runs a summer camp for disabled children; a Womenâ€™s Empowerment Project; supplies wheel chairs and eye glasses; responds to emergencies both natural and man made, and so much more. For the complete story, please access their web site at: www.pcrf.net.