May 09, 2013

A Tale of Two Twinnings

Good news from up north, the north of England that is.  See this report from the Lancashire Telegraph:
PLANS to twin Pendle with a town in the West Bank in Palestine have now been made official.
Pendle’s mayor, Coun Asjad Mahmood, accepted the invitation to become president of the Pendle Palestine Twinning Group (PPTG) and signed the letter of confirmation to approve the link between Pendle and Beit Leed.
This reminded me of something I read on the Socialist Unity site a few days ago.  It's actually a book review by Tony Collins of From Beirut to Jerusalem by Dr. Swee Chai Ang.  This is the bit that the above twinning reminded me of:
Before I left London, the representative of a Miners’ Support Group in Yorkshire had called on me and given me twenty-four greeting cards, from twenty-four mining families in her village, to take to the people of the camps. The coal-miners of Britain had been out on strike for a year, stretching from 1984 into 1985. Conditions were very difficult throughout the strike, and many mining families had to sell their furniture and possessions to survive.

During the strike, the British miners had their equivalent of the General Union of Palestinian Women. The miners’ wives, mothers, sisters and grandmothers organised themselves into Miners’ Support Groups, and these women ran soup kitchens to feed the community, travelled all over Britain on fundraising tours, and kept everyone’s morale up during the darkest moments. Like the Palestinian women, they formed the backbone of the community.

The British press scorned the ending of the strike as a “defeat”, but my Palestinian friends in Chatila camp called it a victory. Their reasong was simple: any group who could hold out for a whole year under those conditions won a great victory.

 Everyday tales of people in struggle.

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