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21,915 Black Balloons Darken Israeli Skies

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Balloons Being Released
As Israelis celebrated the 60th anniversary of their state, a Palestinian activist group came up with a unique way of reminding the world of the dark side of the occupation: by releasing 21,915 balloons into Israeli skies.

The project was organized by a group called Palestinian Strategic Initiative. The 21,915 balloons represented the number of days that the occupation has persisted (60 years x 365 days/year). On May 15, as Israelis went about celebrating the 60th anniversary of the occupation, the balloons were released from Qalandia refugee camp in Ramallah, the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, and from various locations inside Jerusalem, including the Old City and Hebrew University. Each balloon carried a letter from a Palestinian child or youth about his/her hopes and dreams for the future.

Surprisingly, the event was not covered by any mainstream media outlets. The organizers stated in a press release, however, that they found it to be a success.

"We wish that we could stop the count at 21,915," the statement read, "but the current situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is bleak. To us, this only means that we must intensify our efforts at fighting the occupation."

Our valuable member Arsalan Rizvi has been with us since Monday, 07 January 2008.

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