Friday 1 August 2014

Update: Gazan film maker refused New York passage by British Airways


On Thursday evening the audience for a showing of 'Where should the Birds Fly' by Gazan film maker Fida Qishta overflowed on to the pavement outside Rumi's cafe in Kilburn. The venue was so crowded that Brent and Harrow PSC have arranged another showing for Monday 11th August.

On the sound track Fida described her camera as her only weapon in fighting for her people. Her deeply moving  film describes the occupation and war from the inside. In the Q&A the audience urged her to get the film shown in the US as that is such a bastion of support for Israel.

In fact Fida was due to fly to New York yesterday but was stopped from boarding her flight by Britsih Airways at its London stop over because she had been denied a visa to board at its origin in Germany.

BA's decision has angered campaigners anxious to get the Gazan people's views out to the world and supporters are urged to write to BA to protest.  E-mail addresses: and

Sample letter below:,

Dear Mr. Walsh and Mr. Williams,

As Israel holds Gazans prisoner under siege -- and now massacres those whom it refuses to let leave -- it's outrageous that British Airways would compound restrictions on Palestinians' movement with arbitrary rules.

Fida Qishta is a Gaza filmmaker and refugee living in New York City. She's been in Europe showing her film about the last Israeli assault on Gaza. Today, British Airways barred her from getting on her NYC flight at its London stopover, because she had been denied the visa needed to board at its origin in Germany.

There is no legal or safety requirement served by this inhumane denial of travel. It only serves to deepen the pain and frustration of a Palestinian family already subject to arbitrary restrictions.
It's notable that British Airways has been celebrated by Israelis for continuing flights to Tel Aviv in defiance of the EASA no-fly advisory. BA must show minimally the same compassion for Palestinians. I call on you to:

- Pledge to honor the tickets of Palestinians and other displaced people if their plans are complicated by visa denials

- Apologize to Fida Qishta, and

- Refund Fida's ticket.

Please let me know how you plan to resolve this matter.


Sign Your Name
 And You City

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