Baraka Blog

Growing thoughts

Tag Archives: Palestine

Inspirational Stories of Palestine

There is no shortage of inspiration in Palestine. There is a shortage of platforms and media venues featuring inspiring people in and outside Palestine on a local, regional and global scale. When you mention Palestine and Media, visions of a people torn apart by conflict comes to mind. Refugees, school children standing across from tanks and demolished homes. Google the words Palestine and Media, 5 million photos depicting conflict come up. TEDxRamallah is the beginning of a movement to change that.

In recent years, the non-profit, TED.com devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading has featured riveting talks by remarkable people from around the globe. The power of the talks, coupled with the viral nature of the Web, and the open licensing of the Creative Commons, spread to influence millions of people around the world in a positive manner.

So powerful were the talks, the TED conference organizers spun off TEDx, independently organized TED events that gather the world’s leading thinkers and doers, to build connections, share insights and foster inspiration.

When we met the TEDxRamallah licensee, we had just taken part of TEDxDubai as attendees, sponsors and organizers of the event. Fueled by the excitement of attending TED India, and the recent success of TEDxDubai, he approached us to help bring the platform to Palestine. And so the journey began, in spring of 2010.

Over the past few months, a group of young, old, Palestinian and global citizens, have come together from across the world, online, and in the real world to plan the event; everyone has a Palestinian inspirational story to share; everyone knows candidates to nominate to speak at the event, and many are simply there to support by all means.

The event will take place April 16th 2011. The aim is showcase inspiring stories of Palestine. TEDxRamallah aims to educate and inspire by providing a space for people to share their ideas in any field, whether science, education, literature, technology, design, etc. to contribute to the positive perception of Palestine. The tagline is READY.AIM.INSPIRE!

Throughout my life, I have known Palestinians from all walks of life. Their lives and stories are colorful, exciting, humbling and inspiring. They exist in every industry, country, and segment of society, from a female Palestinian refugee taxi driver in Lebanon to the scientist at MIT; a founder of a medical charity to support injured children who desperately need medical care, and a founder of a Palestinian Art Festival. The list is endless, and so is in the inspiration to be felt and shared. And hence, my involvement with organizing the event is to share these inspirations.

To date, we have over 20 sponsors lending their name, support and services to see TEDxRamallah happen. We have over 200 supporters on http://www.tedxramallah.com, and over 1000 supporters on Facebook. Volunteers are working in four cities around the Middle East to setup satellite events, spread the word about the event, and encourage community members to get involved.

You can get involved. It’s simple. Join our online community site at http://www.tedxramallah. Share stories of the inspiring Palestinians and stories of Palestine that you know. Blog about them, photograph them, create videos, animations, sketches.. tweet about them, share their stories with your friends on Facebook. Give them a platform on TV, the radio, magazines and newspapers. Share the event with your school, your workplace or to organize a TEDxRamallah satellite event in your hometown and feature inspiring Palestinians in your community on stage. READY.AIM.INSPIRE.

This article was contributed to PalestineChronicle.com on behalf of TEDxRamallah under the CC Attribution Licensing.

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Khalil’s Story – 3rd Update

8:30am, Khalil and I head to the dive center. On the way, I asked Khalil what he imagined he would grow up to do… “Nurse, I always wanted to help others, after my accident, I enrolled in a first aid and CPR course”.

There we were met by Ernst and Ali Bin Thaleth who generously offered to photograph Khalil’s dive. We got into our wetsuits, assembled our gear and headed to the pool.

Before his briefing, Khalil shared details of his accident with the group. He said, “That day, I decided to bathe. Because of the air-strikes, I had gone for nearly a month without bathing. I prayed at the mosque, and headed home, where my brothers and I sat in our living room.  Within minutes, we heard noises, an explosion on our street, people screaming. We ran to our grandmothers’ home. There, we were joined by a neighbor and her children. ”

“Thirteen of us huddled in a room; when the shell hit, my youngest brother was thrown out of his chair, and laid motionless in my mothers’ arms.  My other brother was running around the room, face covered with blood, screaming; the neighbor’s chair was struck from beneath, and folded onto her and minutes later, I felt nothing. I could hear them calling my name, I thought I was answering, but my breath withheld the sound.”

“I could hear them call my name.. but I was covered with rubble; the side wall had collapsed and landed on my legs. I vaguely remember being transported to the hospital in a car. I became conscious at dawn the next morning, looking across I saw the doctor praying. I asked about my brothers, the doctor told me to pray.”

Transitioning back to where we were physically after Khalil’s emotional account was more difficult for us than it was for him. He was ready to dive.

Khalil was in the pool until 12:30, completed Confined Dive 2 & 3.  He practiced swimming with the webbed gloves Mahmoud bought for him to support his movement in water.

To my surprise, Khalil performed the CESA (Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascend) with relative ease, an exercise many dive students had to repeat several times before perfecting it.

Thanks Lisa Katayama, Joichi Ito for documenting Khalil’s lesson. (All photos taken by Joi are licensed under the Creative Commons)

Thank you Rabea Ataya and Ruba Tabari for stopping by to check on Khalil’s progress and cheer him on.

Thank you Ali for taking amazing photos of Khalil, which we will share with the public in the near future.

Thank you Mahmoud for bringing the gloves, and a big thanks to Ernst, your patience and care for Khalil is an example for all of us.

Next step.. Khalil has to complete Chapters 4 & 5, and head to the Open Water… please stay tuned.

Khalil’s Story – 2nd Update

Khalil called last night to report that he had completed 3 out of the 5 chapters and was ready for the written tests. By 9am he was at the dive center, waiting for Jo to complete the tests.  Jo & Abood carried Khalil up to the classroom on the second floor of the Pavilion dive center. There Jo spent four hours showing Khalil PADI videos and translating the content and tests to Arabic. by 2pm, Khalil had completed and passed the tests.

At 4pm, Mahmoud & Jo spent took Khalil into the pool for Confined Water Pool Session #1.  Khalil had some difficulty performing the controlled ascend, which requires a diver to fin upwards to the surface.  With the help of a pair of Webbed gloves, Khalil used one hand to help him ascend.

Saturday, is Khalil’s next pool session. He will complete 2 in the morning, and if weather conditions permit, he would complete  Open Water Session #1.

Thanks to many of you who spread the word, we are receiving an outstanding amount of interest and support from the Media… please continue to share Khalil’s story with others.  His aim is to raise awareness on the growing cases of amputees in Gaza, Iraq and other places in the middle east, rally communities to support them with medical care and physical rehabilitation programs.

Please stay tuned for more..