Message from Saeed Amireh
Saeed Amireh, a young man and leader of non-violent resistance in his town of Ni'lin in the West Bank, was due to speak as part of our public conversation on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but his visa application was rejected on spurious grounds.
Here is a message from Saeed.
'To all in High Wycombe and the UK
I really don't know what to say, because I am out of words right now. Today I got a call from the embassy to go pick up my passport, so I did and then when I opened it, I found no visas on my passport and a paper that says that they refused to grant me a visa to the UK.
The reason is: they say I didn't give them enough supporting documents, which is lies, and they also wrote to me that they want papers and proof of my economic situation, even though my travel and costs are sponsored by the organization who invited me.
At the end they wrote "I am not satisfied that your personal and economic circumstances are as you have stated. I am not satisfied that you are a genuine business visitor or that you intend to leave the United kingdom at the end of the period of the visit as stated by you, and therefore, I refused your application because I am not satisfied!"
What they said is false, and they even wrote my date of birth as 1981 not 1991!
I am so sad today and so angry and shocked at how these people could be like that. No embassy has been ever like this with me and all my previous travel all over the world to so many different countries is proof that I am not intending to leave my beloved country.
Please please apologize to all groups and organizations that have arranged and invited me. As much as I was so exited to come to the UK, not only because of the tour, but for many other reasons as well, my heart is in shock, and sad, and feeling depressed and insulted, because this justification and permission to travel and speak and to leave our country is not required from anyone in the world except for us Palestinians who are not recognized and can not travel freely .
I have many times wished to get another nationality to be able to travel freely because of the suffering and difficulties we face. But at the end I come back to say still, how proud I am for being a Palestinian, the system will never stop this love. You can not imagine what kind of insulting manners and words I accepted while I was applying to the UK embassy just because of the fight for Palestine! But I will never stop and I hope you will hear this and understand why this fight for justice is so important to me and so many others.
I am so sorry I could not be there to meet you or to even have the skype call. One day soon I hope we can find a way for me to be there with you, or even better, to meet you all here, in a free Palestine!
Many thanks for all your support and encouragement, best wishes from Ni'lin Village, Occupied Palestine.'
Nevertheless, we showed a recent interview with Saeed and had a talk by Colin South of Living Stones, who ran a school in Ramallah for four years and who has retained a close connection with the region.
It was a salutary event, but one focused on Hope, which begins with understanding and gaining a reliable account of what is happening on the ground - this is not about taking sides.
For more details on the Human Rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories visit https://www.amnesty.org.uk/content.asp?CategoryID=973