More than 140 surfers and residents gathered at King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth, North East England this weekend for a viewing of critically acclaimed film ‘Gaza Surf Club’. Exploring the draw of the sea to Gaza’s youth, the film depicts hope in a war-torn country, and a search for meaning and perspective through surfing.
Tynemouth is a strong coastal community and is also the backyard of MP Alan Campbell, Chief Whip to the Labour Party.
“We wanted to come together as constituents of Tynemouth to tell Mr Campbell that we care and we are strongly in support of a lasting ceasefire.” Said organiser, Sally McGee. “Where he has failed us, we are giving ourselves a voice.”
Organiser Sandy Kerr stressed the importance of focusing on what connects us all; “We all want to find something that brings us joy and solace and for us surfers, that’s the sea. There has been so much dehumanising language in the news recently, so it felt important to focus on what connects us all.”
Over 140 people of all ages attended the event in solidarity with Palestine, with a very clear message to Alan Campbell.
Local surfer and resident, Sarah Bosnyak, said; “The peaceful and sombre event gave everyone attending the chance to see that they’re not alone, and to breath so they can keep on speaking out.”
Organiser Tom Bing added; “We wanted a way for residents of North Tyneside and the wider North East to show solidarity with the people of Gaza. We wanted to find a way to show that people care deeply and are interested to learn more about the situation in Israel and Palestine. Over 140 people from all walks of life showed up to prove that we all care.
The North East feels a human connection with the people of Gaza who are deeply suffering and as a coastal community it resonates when Ibraham Arafat, featured in the film says that “Gaza is nothing without the beach, it’s the only escape for the people, despite the siege and blockade, it’s our only escape” – Ibraham Arafat, Gaza Surf Club.
Surfing is an international language and a metaphor for freedom, it transcends borders, nations and politics. As surfers we share something magical. This weekend, the surfing community stood in solidarity with the surfers of Gaza and their families.