Quaker midwife on five-day peace fast

'‘I am fasting in solidarity with those going hungry in Gaza, where Oxfam reports only two per cent of normal food supplies have been allowed to arrive since October 9.'

Sharyn Lock on her fasting vigil

A Quaker healthcare professional held a five-day fasting vigil outside the Scottish Parliament last month, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel/Gaza.

Starting on Monday 30 October, Sharyn Lock wore a Palestine Red Crescent vest to represent all emergency workers and health professionals. With UNWRA, Israeli Physicians for Human Rights, and the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, Sharyn said she called on all parties to protect civilians, medical personnel, and health facilities and those sheltering in them. ‘I am fasting in solidarity with those going hungry in Gaza, where Oxfam reports only two per cent of normal food supplies have been allowed to arrive since October 9, and says starvation is being used as a weapon of war against Gaza civilians. I was in Gaza during 2008-2009, accompanying fishermen and farmers who regularly come under live fire from the Israeli army as part of everyday life under occupation. During the 22 days of Israel’s Cast Lead attacks, I volunteered as an observer and first aider with the Red Crescent, accompanying paramedics and volunteer rescuers who were targeted by Israeli fire; sixteen were killed and many more injured.’

Sharyn has suggested that people could adapt her statement into a flier, and has received donations that could pay for printing. Thanking Friends for their support, she said the fasting ‘felt like a constructive five days. Together with your help, we gave out not only approx 850 copies of my statement, but also Boycott/Sanctions/Divestment ones, and Israeli Campaign against Housing Demolition ones too.’

The vigil was covered by The Scotsman, The National, The Edinburgh Reporter, The Independent, The Evening Standard, The Standard, Irish News, BNN, MSN, other regional papers and Scottish TV. ‘I had such good conversations with so many people,’ she said, including a Palestinian woman who threw her arms around her and burst into tears, and a young Palestinian man encouraging her to keep her hopes up. ‘In the whole five days I heard from only four folks who thought they were disagreeing with me.’

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