Palestine, Cross-border
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Half a World Away, a 300km Ride Will Aid Gazans With Nowhere to Turn

Theirs were the deaths that embodied the tragedy of this Gaza war for viewers worldwide: four boys playing beach football one minute, the next killed by missiles. Behind the headlines, however, is the struggle of survivors like 13-year-old Muntaser Baker to recover from the July 16 strike that took the lives of his brother and two cousins, and the lifeline of support dedicated to aiding their efforts—even across great distances and against greater odds.

For Baker and others injured, this aid is follow-up care from Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, an NGO that offers Palestinians urgent humanitarian and medical aid, including complex, high-tech surgeries otherwise unavailable inside Gaza. Others tended this week include Mosab al-Mozain, a six-year-old with epilepsy and cerebral palsy whose family was made homeless in a bombing on July 10, and Ahmed and Abdulrahman Arafat, disabled 28 and 26-year-olds whose mother, their sole provider, could not leave their house to get them food due to the attack.

With three offices and 10 staff members inside Gaza, the PCRF gets aid quickly to those who need it most. But it also bridges the distance from which the world watches Gazans dying by offering effective channels of support, including Cycling4Gaza, a four-day fundraiser that will see participants bike over 300 km, from Philadelphia to DC, and pledges going to treating survivors of the ongoing attack. “Helping people to survive this onslaught of violence is a responsibility that we strongly believe in,” says PCRF founder Steve Sosbee; for those searching for a way to do just that, the deadline to register for C4G is August 4.

For more information: C4G website

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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