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As conditions worsen in Gaza, residents ask: ‘Where have all the activists gone?’

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I have always thought that those who resort to violence or those who go as far as exploding themselves are sick and inhuman. But now I know how it feels to have nothing to lose but your worthless life. I know how it feels to be so desperate that you literally cry from disappointment when you actually wake up in the morning, and to spend the night before asking God for a last favor … to take your life because you’re just too cowardly to take it yourself. #‎Gaza‬ is no longer a city or a territory. It is a disease. It is an unbearable pain, an un-treatable wound. Gaza is the opposite of life, but at the same time far beyond death.

This is the Facebook post to which I woke up yesterday, written by Maisam Morr, one of the few Gazans who typically serve as my “rocks” – resilient spirits who never give up, and keep my hope alive that we can beat back the grinding, dehumanizing force that is the Israeli occupation. She is the one who dreamed up the Rubble Bucket Challenge (the Palestinian response to the ALS ice bucket), and who – in the midst of the unremitting “gray” of the destruction that is Gaza – asked for a pink laptop for her birthday. And yet now, she was succumbing.

The breaking point for Maisam was the announcement Sunday that Israel had closed its two crossings into Gaza for all but the most critical humanitarian aid, in response to the firing of a single rocket fired.  No injuries or property damage resulted, and no groups in Gaza claimed responsibility or credit. According to Maisam, “almost all Gazans swear that it is some sort of a trick (a planned trap) to open another front with Israel.” F16s are now flying low over Gaza again, as if on cue.

According to news reports, Israel had not decided how long the crossing would be closed. “It will depend on the security situation.” There’s that code phrase…”security situation” – a cover for just about any action Israel chooses to take, and which no one in the international community (in the West at least) is courageous enough to challenge. (Update: the crossings re-opened today, and Palestinian officials said 330 truckloads of goods, as well as one of cement, would be allowed in. Seriously? ONE truckload of cement? In a way, I think that’s how Israel uses closures – as a device to make Gazans happy for crumbs when they come.)

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Oct. 24 attack on an army checkpoint in the northern Sinai that killed 31 soldiers, Egypt has emulated Israel. It declared a three-month lockdown in the area, including a dawn-to-dusk curfew, and indefinitely closed the Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only non-Israeli-controlled bridge to the outside world. Meanwhile, Egypt is demolishing an estimated 800 homes housing 10,000 residents to set up its own buffer zone along the border with Gaza (546 yards wide, 8 miles long). As with the Israeli rocket, no group claimed responsibility, yet the Egyptian government has been quick to implicate Hamas and other Gaza-based “terror groups.” In addition to slamming its doors shut to thousands of Palestinians seeking medical treatment or opportunities to study abroad, the Egyptian government canceled indefinitely the indirect talks between Israelis and Hamas on a long-term truce.

“My dearest Egypt,” wrote Maisam on her blog. “You treat me like an infectious disease. You see me as a threat to your national security while all I ever wanted is to protect my life, my dignity and my very being. Forgive me for being so selfish and so blind for I simply cannot understand how come my call for freedom collides with your mighty security. Only few years ago, I thought we fought a shared enemy but it looks like that I AM the enemy.”

Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau and a member of the Palestinian reconciliation delegation, describes the closures as collective punishment, in contradiction of all understandings, agreements and international law, and adds that it will be impossible to sit idly by. And can you blame him? Since the ceasefire was announced on Aug. 26, two Palestinian rockets were shot by unknown parties. Israel, however, has violated it 19 times by shooting at fishermen and farmers, and opened the crossings on an extremely limited basis – far less than implied by the spirit of the ceasefire terms. (It doesn’t help that Israel wants the “civilian nature” of every project to be verified by Israeli and U.N. officials.) See my blog post for a complete listing of ceasefire violations and an overall status report.

Yet, Nicole Ganz, spokeswoman for the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, says the Palestinian Authority has yet to file a complaint. And the international activist community? It sometimes seems it takes a war to mobilize us in mass numbers as well – which explains why we’re all focused on Syria and Iraq, with barely a mention or attempt to push back on the daily deteriorations in Gaza and the West Bank.

“During the war, I was getting messages all the time from foreigners who wanted to help, who promised to help me get out for a bit after it was over,” recalls Maisam. “But now..nothing. Even during the war, I never felt like I wanted to die. This is new to me. I guess we’ll just keep breathing until we stop.”

Pam Bailey

Pam Bailey is founder of and international secretary for the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. She is based in Washington, DC, and travels to the Middle East frequently.

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30 Responses

  1. just on November 4, 2014, 11:56 am

    i am so ashamed of the US.

    i am so, so, so sorry for the misery/death/destruction that the US and its majority of willing/wilfully ignorant citizens have contributed to, and created for, the wondrous and suffering Palestinians.

    • Kay24 on November 4, 2014, 12:46 pm

      I feel the same way too. It is disgusting that we keep taking the side of the criminals, who massacre, steal, and keep defying us, and can make our politicians, media, and anyone who matters, jump through hoops. This sight of children being horribly killed while playing soccer did not seem to make them realize, nor the fact that many UN shelters were blasted, and many helpless refugees killed and injured, perhaps by OUR weapons.
      We have lost our moral authority, credibility, and are looked upon as Israel’s partner in all their crimes, because we keep choosing and protecting the side that inflicts the most casualties, rather than take the side of the victims.
      The last fiasco in Gaza is over, and so is the attention, until the next time the criminals decide to mow the lawn.

      • just on November 4, 2014, 1:00 pm

        Pam– to answer your question, lots of us are still here, there and everywhere.

        I am not giving up– @ least not until Palestinians are free to live in peace and security in their own land with their hopes, dreams, and laughter intact.

  2. eljay on November 4, 2014, 12:06 pm

    Shame on supremacist “Jewish State” and on every person who and country that empowers it to continue with 60+ years campaign of theft, occupation and colonization of Palestinian land and oppression, torture and murder of Palestinians.

  3. JLewisDickerson on November 4, 2014, 12:18 pm

    RE: “I know how it feels to be so desperate that you literally cry from disappointment when you actually wake up in the morning, and to spend the night before asking God for a last favor … to take your life because you’re just too cowardly to take it yourself.” ~ Maisam Morr

    MY COMMENT: I’m so ashamed of the U.S.! ! !
    It’s not much, but I did make a contribution to the Rebuilding Alliance to help them ship some emergency relief clothing to Gaza.

    From: Rebuilding Alliance
    Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2014 12:14 PM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Thank You All who gave to Clothe Gaza’s Children

    Dear Friend,

    Thank you to all who gave. Your generosity help us raise $3435 in matching funds for a total of $22,251 to ‘Clothe Gaza’s Children’. – We came in 3rd place with 121 ‘unique donors’. Clothe Gaza’s Children reached 2nd place in ‘total donations’.

    Thank you for your patience, time, and compassion during our fundraiser. We are heartened by the results and could not have done it without you!

    We’ll get our first container moving in the week ahead and keep you posted on our progress. We look forward to working with youth groups nationwide to help them organize their ‘Clothe Gaza’s Children’ drives and open the blockade with compassion.

    Thank you again for your support!


    Donna, Thai, Monica, Brenna, Sandhya, and Deepa
    Rebuilding Alliance’s Team

    P.S. To see the final results on the GlobalGiving Leaderboard, click here. –


    From: Rebuilding Alliance
    Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 11:46 AM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Hi John, Clothe Gaza’s Children – Give Now

    Dear Friend,

    If you can, please give now to ‘Clothe Gaza’s Children’. – Our project is currently in 6th place in the GlobalGiving Bonus Day competition with $37,000 in matching funds still available. We just need another 210 donors to win. We need you.

    What will it mean to win? Gaza’s families lost everything – over 104,000 are homeless and there’s no way reconstruction will be finished before winter. With your help, we’ll send 6 more shipping containers to Palestinian children in need, inviting universities and youth groups nationwide to gather the clothes and backpacks into containers and getting them in too.

    Our goal is simple: Open the Blockade with Compassion — please Give Now –

    Please ask your friends to give too. Questions? Suggestions? Please call me at 650 325-4663. Thank you for all that you do.


    Founder & Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance

    P.S. To see ‘Clothe Gaza’s Children’ progress on the GlobalGiving Leaderboard, click here. -

  4. Walid on November 4, 2014, 1:28 pm

    Israel opened 2 of the crossings this afternoon, which of course doesn’t mean much. They must need the business in Israel for having done so. Still no construction materials being allowed-in and still, fishermen being shot at if they stray offshore.

    The cease-fire brokered by Egypt was bogus.

  5. Walid on November 4, 2014, 1:38 pm

    From al-Akhbar yesterday:

    “… First rains soak victims of war-torn Gaza Strip

    Israel also agreed to allow construction material into Gaza.

    But two months after the war ended, no building material has entered Gaza due to Israel’s ongoing blockade.

    With the first winter rains, fears of Gaza citizens whose homes were destroyed by Israel came true Friday and Saturday, especially in Khuzaa neighborhood in the southeast, where displaced citizens live in movable houses supplied by donor countries.

    “Rainwater leaked into the caravan from the roof and from the sides just as winter has begun,” says Osama al-Najjar who lives with his wife and daughter in a 30-square-meter caravan after his house was completely destroyed.

    He said that some of the caravans in the area moved from their places by floods of rain water which sweep away sewage water and earth.

    Disappointed with her new living conditions, al-Najjar’s wife said that her family used to live in a 250-square-meter house before the war.

    “After we have been living in a big house not paying the least attention to rainwater, we are now spending our time and effort trying to repair the caravan we live in so it can stand in the face of storms and floods.”

    The summer aggression led to widespread destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure, reaching levels of devastation that UN chief Ban Ki Moon called “beyond description” in a visit to the Strip on October 14.

    According to estimates based on preliminary information, as many as 80,000 Palestinians homes were damaged or destroyed during the days of hostilities, a higher figure than was previously thought. UNRWA estimates that at least 20,000 of these are uninhabitable.

    Over 106,000 of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents have been displaced to UN shelters and host families, the UN says.

    The majority of Gaza’s homeless people are children.

    According to Palestinian Authority, rebuilding Gaza will cost $7.8 billion.

    Commenting on the situation after the first rains, the mayor of Khuzaa warned of a possible disaster which could be more difficult than the one caused by the war itself.

    The municipality, he told Ma’an, has very little equipment for relief work.

    “As winter approaches, there will be a humanitarian disaster in Khuzaa because we can’t control the route of floods after the war has changed the structure of the landscape and destroyed all constituents of life in the town including water, electricity and telecommunication networks and infrastructure.”

    Israel routinely bars the entry of building materials into the embattled coastal enclave on grounds that Palestinian resistance faction Hamas could use them to build underground tunnels or fortifications.

    For years, the Gaza Strip has depended on construction materials smuggled into the territory through a network of tunnels linking it to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

    However, the recent crackdown on the tunnels by the Egyptian army has effectively neutralized hundreds of tunnels, severely affecting Gaza’s construction sector.”

    (Anadolu, Al-Akhbar, Ma’an)

    • Keith on November 4, 2014, 4:25 pm

      WALID- “Israel also agreed to allow construction material into Gaza….But two months after the war ended, no building material has entered Gaza due to Israel’s ongoing blockade.”

      This is par for the course. Israel has consistently violated each and every cease fire that it agreed to after pulverizing Gaza. Of course, Hamas will be held strictly accountable.

  6. NormanF on November 4, 2014, 1:55 pm

    I’m amused.

    Blame the Jews meme is invoked every time something or doesn’t happen – in Gaza.

    The peacenik Left is NOT interested in Arab suffering when they’re oppressed by fellow Arabs.

    No one talks about the “brutal and dehumanizing” Egyptian occupation.

    What Egypt is doing now to the Gazans is now far worse than anything Israel has ever done.

    But the anti-Israel crowd is silent because of course that can’t be blamed on the Jews.

    • just on November 4, 2014, 3:46 pm

      “What Egypt is doing now to the Gazans is now far worse than anything Israel has ever done.”

      Egypt did not ‘do’ Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, nor Protective Edge… (such cutesy names for genocidal massacres, btw) Egypt did not ‘do’ the Nakba past or present. Egypt is currently augmenting Israel’s cruelty.

      Israel’s crimes belong to Israel and its ‘supporters’. Israel and the US are responsible for much of the misery and upheaval and death in the region.

      thanks for sharing. may your sick amusement end soon.

      • Horizontal on November 4, 2014, 4:29 pm

        So you counter one supposed meme with another: the pickin’ on the Jews meme. A golden oldie, for sure.

        I’m disgusted that the US supports Egypt in amounts second only to Israel, and no doubt pressures the Egyptian government/military to support US/Israeli objectives in the region. For years we supported the ruthless Mubarak; I don’t recall Israel complaining about him very much, Norm.

        Your post represents the most irresponsible blather, defending an illegal, brutal, colonialist & racist rogue nation. I’ll continue to call out Israel as long as they continue down their dark path, picking my pocket along the way.

        Try and keep more than one thought in your head at the same time. It may help.

      • miriam6 on November 8, 2014, 11:12 am

        No one talks about the “brutal and dehumanizing” Egyptian occupation.

        NormanF is raising a perfectly legitimate point here about double standards .

        WHY doesn’t the Egyptian blockade of Gaza raise the fury and engagement of the anti Israel crowd in the same way the Israel’s blockade of Gaza does?

        Rather than answer NormanF ‘s salient and intelligent question you people respond with hysterical accusations of ‘Jewish tribalism’ and desperate evasions of Norman F ‘s question

        Why can’t you people come up with an explanation as to WHY you people do not get as angry about the Egyptian blockade of Gaza as you do Israel’s blockade?

        NormanF is merely pointing out the hypocritical double standards code that the anti Israel crowd live by.

        Hence your childish annoyance

        Israel’s crimes belong to Israel and its ‘supporters’. Israel and the US are responsible for much of the misery and upheaval and death in the region.

        If you ignore the centuries long Sunni /Shia sectarian split and the current misery that Turkey and Saudi Arabia’s attempts to create a Sunni Muslim hegemony in the Middle East and Iran’s simultaneous fostering of Shia power in the region – a conflict currently tearing the region to pieces – you might be half right at least

        Of course, your failure to mention the Sunni / Shia split as a major source of conflict in the region is just another example of your hypocrisy

      • just on November 8, 2014, 9:34 pm

        miriam6– plenty of people here are angry @ el- Sisi and his junta. el- Sisi and his junta have entered into an unholy alliance with genocidal Israel.

        Egypt did not slaughter 2100+ Palestinians, including more than 500 children and babies this past summer. Israel did. Israel ‘did’ the Nakba and keeps it going, with help from hellish dictators and other world “leaders”.

        Further, I would suggest you drop the bs about the “Sunni/Shia split”, and understand that any split was contrived by the West and the Apartheid statelet. That’s right out of hasbara 101.

    • Keith on November 4, 2014, 4:36 pm

      NORMANF- “What Egypt is doing now to the Gazans is now far worse than anything Israel has ever done.”

      Egypt is an American vassal state and a de facto ally of Israel. Egyptian policy towards Gaza is set by the Egyptian elites not the Egyptian people and is entirely consistent with US/Israel policy. Your continual reliance upon unfounded claims of anti-Semitism is indicative of tribal myopia. You might occasionally try to display at least a minimal amount of intellectual integrity.

      • just on November 5, 2014, 9:29 am

        “Your continual reliance upon unfounded claims of anti-Semitism is indicative of tribal myopia. You might occasionally try to display at least a minimal amount of intellectual integrity.”

        it seems that he cannot be bothered with the truth.

    • eljay on November 4, 2014, 6:51 pm

      >> NormanFeee: I’m amused.

      You’re a Zio-supremacist.

      >> Blame the Jews meme is invoked every time something or doesn’t happen – in Gaza.

      “Blame Israel” is invoked when something happens to Palestinians trapped under the Israeli jackboot. “Blame the Jews” is invoked by Zio-supremacists to deflect attention away from Israeli crimes by turning valid criticism into anti-Semitism.

      >> The peacenik Left is NOT interested in Arab suffering when they’re oppressed by fellow Arabs.

      The peacenik Left knows that Arab oppression of Arabs does not absolve Israel of its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes or its obligations under international law.

    • Bornajoo on November 5, 2014, 2:30 am


      “I’m amused”

      Yes I’m sure the Nazis were also amused when they were criticised for their treatment of the Jews

      The truth is that you feel no empathy at all for these human beings you refer to as “Gazans”. When you feel no empathy you can make comments like yours and completely justify the slow motion genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

    • talknic on November 5, 2014, 9:18 am

      @ NormanF “I’m amused”

      By your own stupidity … amazing!

      “Blame the Jews meme is invoked every time something or doesn’t happen – in Gaza”

      Strange, the word “Jews” first appeared in the thread when you typed it, you stupid stupid person

      “No one talks about the “brutal and dehumanizing” Egyptian occupation”

      Egypt is not the Occupying Power. Israel is.
      Egyptian warships do not control ANY Palestinian territorial waters, Israeli warships do. Egyptian military aircraft do not control Palestinian airspace, Israeli military aircraft do.
      Egypt does not have final say over who and when people may use the Rafah crossing. Israel, the Occupying Power does.
      Goods entering Gaza from Egypt do not pass through Rafah. They pass through an Israeli crossing.

      Israel has, as the Occupying Power, the final say what who and when and why anything or anyone officially enters or exits Gaza through ANY crossing.

      “What Egypt is doing now to the Gazans is now far worse than anything Israel has ever done”

      Nonsense. Egypt has never illegally taken any territory belonging to the Palestinians. Israel has and is still taking.
      Egypt has never illegally settled any of its citizens in any Palestinian territory. Israel has and is still doing it.
      Egypt has never attacked Palestine. Israel has and is still doing it.
      Egypt has never prevented Israel from delivering aid or goods or prevented Israel from allowing people to enter Gaza. Israel has prevented Egypt from delivering aid and goods and prevented Egypt from allowing people to enter and exit Gaza.

      “But the anti-Israel crowd is silent because of course that can’t be blamed on the Jews”

      Not once but twice you make a complete &*^%ing idiot of yourself with your self perpetuating “Jews” meme.

      • just on November 5, 2014, 9:28 am

        now, that’s a grand and perfectly cited response to the ‘amused’ NormanF.

        many thanks, talknic.

      • Bornajoo on November 5, 2014, 12:42 pm


        An excellent and concise response to NormanF’s pathetic comment. Thank you

        But let’s not assume NormanF will actually learn anything because they don’t work with actual facts, just lies, myths and propaganda

    • Jan on November 10, 2014, 2:24 pm

      What Egypt is doing is horrible. The destruction of 800 homes in Rafah, the killing of hundreds, the imprisoning of thousands who face death for their political beliefs, the imprisoning of journalists.

      “What Egypt is now doing to the Gazans is far worse that anything Israel has ever done”, you say? Are you kidding or are you suffering from memory loss? Have you forgotten the repeated bombings? Have you forgotten the destruction of some 2000 homes near Rafah. Rachel Corrie was deliberately killed trying to protect one of those homes. Have you forgotten the targeted assassinations that often took the lives of young children? Have you forgotten the Israeli missile that went into an apartment house killing 16 people other than Israel’s intended target? Have you forgotten the deliberate assassination of Ahmad Jabari on Nov. 14, 2012, the head of the Hamas military wing, who was prepared to enforce a long term truce and cease fire with Israel as long as Israel refrained from attacking Gaza?

      As bad as what Egypt is doing to Gaza it pales in comparison with what Israel has done not only to Gaza but to the Palestinians in the West Bank.

      But this is not an article about Egypt. Egypt, ever since it got on the US payroll as an award for its treaty with Israel, has been a lackey of Israel and the US. The people of Gaza have been imprisoned almost as much by Egypt as they have by Israel, especially after Hamas won the election.

      I am not amused by people such as yourself you point the finger at other countries so as to excuse what Israel is doing.

      • annie on November 10, 2014, 2:52 pm

        jan, i also read somewhere today israel just killed 3 more fisherman off the coast of gaza this morning too.

  7. Maximus Decimus Meridius on November 4, 2014, 2:35 pm

    ”I think that’s how Israel uses closures – as a device to make Gazans happy for crumbs when they come”

    I would go further than that. I would say that one of the of the advantages of the Gaza siege, for Israel, is that it serves as a warning to Palestinians in the West Bank. As in, ”You think you’ve got it bad? You’re tempted to revolt? Well, just look how bad things are in Gaza. Be grateful for what you’ve got and stfu!”

    But I have to say recent developments in Gaza have depressed me. During the dark days of the war this summer, I hoped – I think we all did – that Israel had gone too far this time. That, if the horror of the war somehow led to shaming Israel, and Egypt, into relaxing or even lifting, the siege, then maybe the sacrifice wouldn’t have been entirely in vain. So many Gazans themselves said ”We don’t want to waste this blood. Death is better than living under these conditions”.

    And yet, not only have things not got better, they’ve got worse. Egypt is planning to completely cut off the tunnels. Israel still regularly closes the crossings, shoots at fishermen and generally makes life hell for Gazans. The world’s attention is elsewhere — ebola, IS, celeb nude photos. The flotilla movement is dead.

    It all seems hopeless. And thoroughly depressing.

    • Horizontal on November 4, 2014, 4:39 pm

      Remember when the Arab Spring first hit Egypt, and the first rumblings out of the US after their puppet Mubarak stepped down wasn’t “Congratulations,” or, “Ain’t democracy grand?” but, “You’re still going to stand by your treaty with Israel, aren’t you?” That was the US’s main concern.

      I had hoped that Egypt would have relaxed their border with Gaza and joined with them in fighting off Israeli oppression. I can only imagine what frantic, behind the scenes maneuvering must have taken place to maintain control over events there. I’m thinking that mucho pressure was applied, along with cash, of course, to the military to tow the line.

      Anyway, it seems like a good chance wasted, and it may be years before we actually find out what happened, because so much of what goes on is unknowable to the person on the street.

      For example, this one rocket that was fired into Israel that no one is claiming responsibility for. This could easily been done by Israel, the CIA, or a third party and no one would know the difference. Clandestine agencies do things like this all the time, as history teaches us. And it gives Israel all the excuse they need to twist the thumbscrews tighter.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on November 4, 2014, 6:04 pm

        On the Egyptian front, things have gone from bad to much worse. Even Mubarak allowed humanitarian aid to get through to Gaza during the war. Morsi wasn’t as helpful to Gaza as might have been expected, but with time, it’s likely that an MB government would have worked to ease the restrictions. With the Saudi/American/Israeli puppet Sisi in charge, things are hopeless. He clearly considers Hamas an enemy, and Israel an ally. It’s horrible.

    • Walid on November 5, 2014, 3:56 am

      “The world’s attention is elsewhere ”

      Maximus, Turkey, Sudan and Qatar are busy backing one Islamist political/militia faction “Dawn” in Libya while Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE are also busy backing an anti-Islamist political/militia faction “Dignity” there that’s recognized by the US. Maybe after they ‘ll finish setting up a system of government in Libya, they will turn their attention to what’s happening in Gaza and help fix things there. It’s all about priorities.

  8. girlwithafacee on November 7, 2014, 2:17 pm

    I have been looking for an organization that will take hand made afghans, blankets, and scarves to Palestinian refugees or Gaza. If anyone has this information, please contact me.

    • adele on November 7, 2014, 3:51 pm

      you may want to connect with the folks at Rebuilding Alliance, they recently had a fund drive and published an article here on Mondoweiss about it.

      You can help. This Wednesday, Oct. 15th, “Clothe Gaza’s Children” is competing for a matching grant in the GlobalGiving Bonus Day, starting at 9am Eastern time. Please go to and click GiveNow to receive a 30% match for your donation, while funds last. – See more at:

      Those warm items certainly come in helpful during the winter months when it can get quite chilly in homes and temporary shelters with scarce electricity!

      • girlwithafacee on November 10, 2014, 12:02 pm

        Thank you! That is the first lead I’ve been able to find. I really want to help, and it’s the best way for me to do so with limited resources.

      • annie on November 10, 2014, 3:53 pm

        rebuilding alliance is a great org.

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