Bristol vigil collects 5,000 names of dead Gazans

  • Post last modified:February 21, 2024
  • Reading time:7 mins read

People in Bristol have been not only remembering the victims of Israel‘s ongoing genocide in Gaza, but taking a poignant stand as well – as they gathered while ‘naming the dead’.

Naming the dead in Gaza

On Sunday 18 February, a crowd of people gathered outside Bristol cathedral to sing and write on banners the names of thousands of children killed in Gaza. In a bracing wind, people of all ages knelt down, writing in coloured pen on long banners stretched out on the paving stones. A choir sang Greek and Georgian laments and led the crowd in singing We Shall Overcome:

After two hours of writing, nearly 100 metres of roofing membrane had been covered with over 5,000 names:

People were cold and tearful but continued to ask for more sheets of names to copy onto the banners laid out on the ground:

Some people took on the task of sitting on the ends as we ran out of weights to stop the wind from lifting the sheets. 5,000 names is less than half of those whose names have so far been released, and a fraction of the total believed to have been killed:

Carrying the names to those responsible

There will be a second session on Saturday 24 February, where members of the public will again be encouraged to add to the names already written. A small group of walkers will then carry the names to Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms company, responsible for many of the weapons currently being used to massacre Palestinians.

The events have been organised by Bristol Palestine Alliance, Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and the Hands Up Project.

Katie, one of the members of Naming the Dead, said:

We want to continue writing the names onto these banners as a mark of respect to the tens of thousands killed. When the numbers are so large, it’s easy to be shocked by the magnitude, but harder to connect with the individual tragedy behind each one. The act of writing the names of those killed in the massacre appeared to help make that connection, and affected people deeply.

This genocide is supported by our politicians, our arms factories, and much of our media. We intend to carry these names to those responsible. They need to feel the connection between their terrible actions and the human beings they have helped to kill. We will start with Elbit Systems, as they provide the weapons for Israel’s war machine.

Featured image and additional images via Naming the Dead

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