Back in Gaza with Max Igan & the Samouni Family

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When I came to Gaza in November 2011 I planned to stay for 2 months maximum, at least that was the deal I made with my pregnant wife.  But as happens Palestine has a way of seducing you, and in my case the Egyptian authorities have a way of imprisoning you, so my stay lasted 6 months rather than 2.  In turn I ended up missing the birth of our second child.

Although I planned to film 30 separate family profiles here in Gaza, to have these families tell their story directly to a western audience, I did not plan to meet the Samouni family as their story had been told many times before.  Fate had other plans however and this meeting was arranged without my knowledge.

Back in Gaza with the Samouni kids

It is ironic how unplanned events often impact your life far more than those that are planned.  Before you know it you are taken down a path of which the universe, God, some unknowable force is clearly in charge, we become but a passenger.  Meeting the Samouni family has been like that, it has caused a chain reaction of events that has dominated my life for the last 18 months.  In that time I have known the greatest of joy, the joy of receiving a child’s smile upon your return for instance.  I cannot guess at the amount of smiles reciprocated with the Samouni kids and yet the joy it produces never diminishes.

What is a child’s smile worth?

In the last 18 months I have also known rage, primarily from the betrayal of those I trusted.  To trust is to love, it is expose one’s underbelly in the interest of union.  It is the cornerstone of partnership, it is essential for any significant progress in effecting a better world.  Those that are afraid to trust, to love, will never know the joy of love, and my willingness to trust has been one of the greatest sources of the immense blessings I have known.  I have no regrets, even with the betrayals.

Max Igan meets the Samouni kids

So the price one inevitably pays for misplaced trust is to be praised one day, and then slandered with the most filthy lies the next.  This is the tactic of infiltration, get inside, develop trust, establish an apparently credible basis to defame the target, then attack.  For me this extends not just about me, but of my wife, my mother and even my children who have been called “illegitimate”.  I have even seen Palestinians create a Facebook page designed purely for the purpose of defaming me (a blatant violation of Facebook’s duplicitous, Israel slanted policies).  I have been unlawfully arrested by the UK police, my family home has been violated and my property stolen by thieves in uniform.  And yet I am grateful for it all because it is in these greatest of challenges, the injustices, that one finds the greatest opportunities to grow, to become wiser and stronger.

I am grateful because through the joy and through the hardship I have never lost sight of how blessed I am.  When I look back at my life there is such richness in the stories I have accumulated and the friendships I have developed.  I have thought with my heart more than with my head and in a world of collective insanity I realised long ago that popularity and approval is not what a content and honourable life generally provides, in fact it almost never does.  The path of popularity is not for me, it is self-respect, service to life, commitment to truth and justice that I am committed to. The hardship, ridicule and slander is all part of the path and ultimately can only be overcome by steadfastness and love, love of truth, love of justice, and ultimately love of peace.

Indeed I have taken the path less travelled by and without doubt this has made all the difference.  This path has lead me back to Gaza, and as potentially dangerous as this path is it doesn’t really matter, if my mortal life ends today I will leave behind an example of what blessings await those that “think” with their heart and more importantly, act in accord with their heart.

So I am back in Gaza, and I am back with the Samouni family.  What we have shared is what we shared before, love.  If the full truth be known about all that has been employed to tear or relationship apart it could be made into a movie.  Even a prominent human rights organisation has  been advising the Samouni family to divorce themselves of me because I was all that I was accused of being by the slanderers.  What makes this shocking is that this “human rights” organisation indicted me based on one source and one source alone, Facebook!

This organisation went even further to pressure the Samouni family to press charges against me.  When the family asked for one simple thing, evidence, this organisation refused.  Indeed this has been the judge of me for many, Facebook.  What does this say about some of the so-called “friends” of Palestine, that they are so incredibly stupid as to validate a known CIA/Zionist tool as a source to crucify one of Palestine’s most easily verified allies?

What I find myself saying more and more about the plight of the Palestinians is, “with friends like these, who needs enemies.”

Between the human rights organisation and the corrupt UK police and court system and Zionist agents online and importantly, the idiots who give credence to all of the above, it is safe to say that the only thing that has truly protected me is integrity.  And the only thing that will save the Samouni Project and the educational program it entails is steadfastness.  And even if these poor, poor human beings who wish otherwise were to succeed, I will die with my integrity as it is not subject to the whims of a human society that is, literally, collectively insane to the point that we remain on the brink of the human caused end of the world as we know it.

But make no mistake at all, those who have instigated baseless slander against me, those that have stolen resources for the Samouni Project, Aloha Palestine, Trade Not Aid, those that have been stupid enough to propagate lies without any critical thought, have not attacked me primarily, they have attacked Palestine and in particular, the Samouni family.  A massive amount of effort has been invested in destroying the trust between myself and the Samouni family, it has not worked.  I remain a loved member of this family and I love this family as if they were my blood.

In the next few days prepare to feel the joy I am feeling with me, as something beautiful is about to happen here in Gaza.


  • Fatma
    September 25, 2012, 8:53 am  

    Right On KOK! You speak the truth brother, through hardship of all kinds. I understand where you are coming from, but your words bring hope to us all. We love you and your family!!!!

  • Charlie Malik
    September 25, 2012, 9:13 am  

    I’m glad you Home brother !!
    Your in my prayers Ken


  • Roshenke
    September 25, 2012, 11:20 am  

    It has ever been thus that the greater you are and the more dangerous to oppressive organisations the more they will do to try to bring you have been my inspiration for years and it was obvious to anyone with half a functioning brain cell what was happening . Be assured anyone who follows your actions loves and respects you

  • Faten Tunisienne
    September 25, 2012, 11:34 pm  

    Hey Ken , please don’t apologize just keep doing what you do…and remember that we love you we support you ….I pray for you for your family and for palestine and I’hope with all my heart that someday I’visit palestine and maybe someday i’ will meet you…I’ know that’s gonna be a great honor for me ..

  • Pingback: Ken O’keefe Back in Gaza with Max Igan & the Samouni Family « Akashma Online News
  • Tyler Vincent
    October 3, 2012, 11:13 am  

    Absolutely beautiful brother. You are a true inspiration for every man woman and child in the manner of which you have dealt with these treasonous liars and whores, and yet still maintaining your compassion and understanding of human nature and its weaknesses. Seeing yourself in others and not losing your humanity is one of the greatest gifts one could offer. Its really a lesson for everyone and, really the only way to end these karmic loops, hopefully eventually most of these people will come to realize the errors in their ways in which they have slandered and treated you… I’m sure some of them in the quiet of their hearts realize what cowards and fools they have been and just cant bear to say it because their ego’s are too invested in their own self importance. I wish I was with you and Max in Gaza right now, I can only imagine the smiles, laughter, beauty, the tears and the joy of just being surround in such a wonderful and strong people who inspire with no end. My heart is with you. God bless you brother and I wish you and Max a wonderful and fortunate journey.

  • Genie
    October 3, 2012, 10:30 pm  

    I was on Gilad’s webstite and I saw this video – sure does take me back, Ken…
    When I was being stalked and slandered about on facebook, you dropped me as a friend.

    Gilad was loyal to me and stood up for me, and went so far as to have Uprooted Palestinians change a post that had slander about me in it, why?… because he knew the truth about me and knows the hasbara bullshit the zionist entity dishes out to those who are making an impact.

    At the time, I was very hurt by the “shunning” that spybook (facebook) is known for when someone who is supposedly “pro-Palestinian” slanders someone and stalks them there – which is a complete violation of terms, but as you say in your video, that’s facebook, and then – people start dropping you as a friend and gossiping up a bunch of hasbara that they unknowingly swallowed because the people who are slinging had some creditability at the time with others there. So seeing you go through what I went through, different slander but it all adds up to the same bullshit, I forgive you, Ken.

    They even said that I don’t write my own poetry?! “She is Mossad”, you name it they slung it, and you bought into that crap.

    Mordechai Vanunu has also been very loyal to me, and we keep in touch by phone and by e-mail.
    He was also given the bullshit about me at the time – but he, like Gilad, knew better than to believe hasbara tactics and unsubstantiated slander.

    Glad that you are back in Gaza, Ken.

    Salaam Alaikum

    • 1worldcitizen
      October 6, 2012, 8:48 am

      I do not know who you are as your name does not read in the comment, but I have never joined a slander campaign by dropping someone on Ziobook, so there must be another reason. Nothing to forgive me about sister, not that I am aware of, but even if I knew your name I am sure that I did not un-friend you for reasons of slander. TJP

      • Genie
        October 6, 2012, 3:01 pm

        I will refresh your memory, then – Marry Rizzo had “maik pronounced mike” write a bunch of tabloid trash about me and put it on Ziobook and palestine think tank, also, a campaign was started to “tell all her friends on facebook about her”, well, within one day about 120 people dropped me as a friend after that, you being one of them. The irony of it all is that soon after that – Mary Rizzo came after you with tabloid trash slander.

        I am: Fourth Reich… Israel. Does Geneviève ring a bell?
        You know the one, Mary Rizzo said, “She lures innocent young men who are Muslims to leave Islam.”?!, etc…
        Another thing: Mary Rizzo posted on the Ziobook page about me they had created and on palestine think tank in that article by “maik pronounced mike”, that she had someone call me on the phone – no such thing happened: all fabrication/hasbara.

        Why did Mary Rizzo do this? …because I exposed her then buddy, Steve Amsel [desert peace], for being what he is: An Illegal Israeli Settler.

        Also, I left a comment on one of her tabloid trash posts about George Galloway, which she claimed took down her readership, as you know, palestine think tank is no longer there but the illegal israeli settler is still stupid enough to have the tabloid trash post about George Galloway, from palestine think tank posted, the link goes to my comment:

  • Genie
    October 18, 2012, 10:30 pm  

    The Illegal Israeli Settler, Steve Amsel [desert peace], has deleted my comment – why am I not surprised?

    Well, Uprooted Palestinians thought it was such a good comment it was made into a post:

    fourthreichisrael on January 9th, 2010 at 22:42:

    Pontificating “shoulds” – while the subtle message is one of criticism of George Galloway and the Viva Palestina convoy, as well as the Gaza Freedom March.

    As for Egypt’s complicity with Israel: don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

    Egypt, must be exposed for its wall of shame it is building with American funds – that will be yet another war crime extension of the Apartheid wall – chocking off Gaza even more, by starvation, lack of water, medical supplies, baby formula, blankets, clothing, books and other educational supplies, etc…

    As well, Egypt is pouring sea water into the bread tunnels that are the only means of access to flour since the population is so overcrowded, it’s next to impossible to grow food for 1 and a half million people who are in a walled in open air prison. The sea water is not only killing people who risk their lives to attempt too gain access for basic survival needs, it’s killing Palestinians living in Gaza by starvation by flooding the bread lines (tunnels) with sea water – until, its wall of shame is completed, after which, starvation will be the main ‘menu’ in Gaza…

    Coinciding, with building the the wall of shame, is the refusal on the part of Egypt to allow the convoy into Gaza to deliver desperately needed basics of life.

    Israel, has most countries in its back-pocket as little lap-dogs who are trained, or rather, bought off by the United States of Israel and Israel and wealthy Zionists/and/or/Zionist-Corporations to do the bidding of Zionist agendas; the most horrid one is its delusional, imperialistic ambitions of a “Greater Israel”.

    Israel, is not contained in its undeclared borders, the only “country” in the world with undeclared borders – all for the long-term goal and strategy of the “Greater Israel’; it also extends around the world – not only into the USA, into South America, Arab Nations, etc…

    I see you proposing that only Israel take any blame for the continuation of its homicidal ethnic cleaning policy toward the Palestinians. I believe this to be an error in judgment: every country, political party, lobby, etc… must also be exposed for its collusion and corruption by shacking up with the devil.

    That devil is Israel and Egypt must have consequences for its collusion and oppression of Palestinians; let the chips fall where they may, the world needs to see the vast, undue influence that Israel has over other countries and their polices toward Palestinians, and in this case, we are speaking of Gaza.

    Of course British PM George Galloway is in not in a position to say he does like Hamas, he is in a double bind: if, he wants the Viva Palestina to succeed, in the real world, idealism of free speech doesn’t get a convoy to Gaza. I’m sure that Hamas is aware of the political games required to even make it past the green light.

    Even Norman Finkelstein has said he does not support Hamas, however, that may well not be how he really feels, it’s just the nature of being in the spotlight and wanting to have your voice not be silenced. Example: the terror storm that former President Jimmy Carter, was put through – with meat-grinder bullying over his book “Peace not Apartheid”, shows to all who desperately want to do their part to help the Palestinians, and Israelis as well, that saying the truth is often the end of any future endeavors to promote peace and Justice for Palestinians.

    As for the alleged pilfering of funds, it is completely unprofessional to do so without a reference and proof; without evidence, it’s just gossip and speculation. That may all have been created by the Israeli lobby!
    This is a time to say a big thank you to all the good people who gave so much to not only reach suffering Gaza, they also brought awareness to the complex nature of Zionist manipulation and collusion, surprising to everyone, since no one expected Egypt to act as it did – with utter moral bankruptcy.

    I for one, had idealistic notions about Egypt… the pyramids, the Nile, its rich heritage – filled with images and metaphors of the country that gave us ISIS and other mythologies that are enchanting.

    It’s time to wake up from idealism and see things as they are: Israel is controlling countries by proxy by their lobbies, and perhaps – threats and intimidation; after all, what country wants to become the next Iraq?

    If I remember correctly, and I think I do: Egypt, like Iraq, is part of what Israel (in its delusional thinking and grandiosity) considers the “Greater Israel”, so, in that sense we are exposing Israel by exposing Egypt since Israel by proxy is calling the shots.

    We have all pointed fingers and put blame on the USA for its collusion with Israel, what’s wrong with pointing out other collaborators who are also complicit in Israel’s war crimes?

    There is nothing politically or morally incorrect about exposing the tentacles of the spider (Israel) and its complex web that most people had not heard of until recently.

    Awareness, is always beneficial and I disagree that all the focus went onto Egypt, the focus is on Egypt’s collusion and complicity in Israel’s genocide of Gazans, thus, putting the focus right back on Israel!
    This will be and unpopular thing to say and most likely rude, however, it is how I perceive your editorial: this piece of pontificating – laced with underlying messages of blaming the good folks – would not have been published had Gilad Atzmon still been at Palestine Think Tank.

    If Gilad is still friends with all of you, pass him your editorial and ask for his opinion, my bet is that he would say: start from scratch and throw this ‘editorial’ in the garbage, armchair critics…

  • est
    November 11, 2012, 11:50 am  

    you’d think israel was the center of the universe
    i can assure you it is not and never will be

    since a certain people called ‘dibs’ on this place and
    changed the name and occupied the original inhabitants

    and continues to do injury to them and all of us
    while we sit back and wait for what ? to happen

    there needs to be a reverse emancipation
    every single palestinian should leave that place

    the whole world will receive you with open arms
    and then we will see what those ‘settlers’ got [get]

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