Athletes Against Apartheid

Para-cycling team Gaza Sunbirds dream of competing at the Paralympics has been put on hold. They're calling on the sporting world to lend their voices to the plight of Palestinians.

Para-cycling team Gaza Sunbirds calls on the entire sporting community to blow the whistle on genocide by joining Athletes Against Apartheid. The campaign is spearheaded by Gaza Sunbirds, and creative house archtype. . It calls for a stop to the ongoing and unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza caused by the IDF’s siege and targeted attack on civilians. Hand in hand with this demand comes an end to 55 years of Israeli Apartheid and the occupation of Palestinian territories. With increasing public awareness about the emergency in Gaza, the Athletes Against Apartheid call on Israel and the international community to deliver:

  • An Immediate ceasefire in Gaza, with a cessation of military action on both sides on any territories in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 
  • An end to the siege on the Palestinian people, opening humanitarian corridors to allow food, water and electricity to Gaza, powering essential infrastructure to guarantee the preservation of life.
  • An end to the Israeli apartheid conditions across Palestine and Israel and with it an end to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories

Gaza Sunbirds team captain, Alaa al-Dali founded the project two years ago with the mission of helping his people find joy through sport after traumatic events. The team of amputee athletes dream of representing Palestine on the sporting world stage, but have met many obstacles due to the impact of the 16 year siege. Now, facing the current genocide on Gaza, the Sunbirds have turned to directly supporting their communities. Instead of training for the 2024 Paralympic Games, they are providing food and essential resources to thousands. At the time of writing, over 7,200 - including over 3,000 children - have lost their lives during the Israeli assault on Gaza following the October 7th Hamas strike. This includes loved ones of the Sunbirds’ own team. Alongside the indiscriminate bombardment and targetted civilian attacks, the illegal blockade on food, water, electricity and medicine amounts to genocide. As well as this, the Israeli state’s list of crimes against humanity include the brutal apartheid regime carried out under its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. For Alaa, his desire for freedom drives his action. He explains, “I want everybody to see us cycling on one leg and feel the power we have: we are not a burden to our society, we will make Palestine proud. We ride for freedom.” The Sunbirds therefore call for an end to the mass human suffering in Gaza and urgently demand the right of all Palestinians to dignified existence. The Athletes Against Apartheid call out to the sporting community and their supporters to join the campaign for Palestinian freedom. The Sunbirds aim is to rally sporting professionals, coaching staff, media platforms, sporting clubs, leagues, trade bodies and sports fans willing to stand for justice. From grassroots to elite-level, the aim of Athletes Against Apartheid is for the public to commit to five pledges:

  • Share - the Athletes Against Apartheid message and awareness of the struggle of the Palestinian people
  • Sign - petitions, open letters and contact with your local representatives
  • Speak - to your friends, family, work colleagues, bosses, community members and check in with loved ones from all backgrounds who are affected
  • Stand - in real life, at protests, rallies and marches…for justice, for peace, for truth and for an end to the genocide, apartheid and occupation of Palestinian people
  • Support - Palestine by donating time and resources to Gaza Sunbirds as they provide assistance to people facing unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe

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