The youngest of the 17 “terrorist” suspects arrested last Monday, has been named. He is 19 year old Omar Hamed.
Like all other arrestees, Hamed has been charged with firearm offences and may face “terrorism” charges.
From Socialist Worker’s UnityBlog
Omar is a fighter, a thinker, a writer, a journalist, and someone whom we are proud to call our friend.
Omar is NOT a terrorist. Omar is NOT a threat to anyone’s life and limb.
Omar is 19 years old. He should NOT be spending the next two years of his life in jail, without bail or trial, on secret and therefore suspect evidence, while the police try to fit up a case against him – and terrorise every other activist in the country while they’re at it.
Omar is a volunteer organiser for Solidarity Union. Another Solidarity organiser, Jimmy O’Dea – a 72-year-old man in health difficulties – had his house raided today by EIGHT police cars, on the excuse of suspected involvement with a kidnapping.
Who is Omar Hamed?
Half-Palestinian, born in Greece but raised in New Zealand, he has campaigned for social justice from an early age. In the past he has told reporters that he gained his inspiration from seeing his mother struggling to stop National and NZ First attacks on social welfare.
He told them that once he began to get a better understanding of issues he started writing and educating others. He has written several pieces published on Scoop.co.nz in recent months.
An active member in Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine, Omar is also active in a range of causes in New Zealand, that include the www.Supersizemypay.com campaign aimed at raising the minimum wage, and Radical Youth.
He currently studies History and Sociology at Auckland University.
Maire Leadbeater the head of the New Zealand Indonesian Human Rights Committee and sister of Green MP Keith Locke has worked together a lot with him.
She describes him as someone who is, “very dedicated and committed to human justice.”
Hamed was also instrumental in organizing the recent protests against the US-NZ Partnership forum and also lives and helps run A Space Inside Social Centre, an Anarchist collective on Symonds Street.
Omar Hamed was a founder and leader of the anarchist/socialist organisation, Radical Youth which has organised several demonstrations in Auckland, mainly around youth wage rates.
Omar Hamed has travelled extensively in the Pacific to network with fellow radicals.
In late 2006 he was in New Caledonia attending the conference of the ultra militant Kanaky and Exploited Workers Union (USTKE).
In a report on the Noumea conference Hamed stated;
Pierre Chauvat of the USTKE told me frankly that they want a Kanak Chavez or a Kanak Morales who will be able to take the struggle against colonialism both new and old into the new millennium. The USTKE preparing for a long struggle both industrially and politically even though they are told to keep out of politics by many of the ruling elite.
They are also training their young militants for the new struggle so that they can continue the fight against colonisation. Pierre Chauvat is adamant that rebuilding a network of struggle across the Pacific is a high priority and building links with activists and unions in Australia and Aotearoa is important to cement the bonds of solidarity and struggle needed to free Kanaky from the iron grip of colonisation.
Hamed’s work with Students for Justice in Palestine has brought him close to fellow militant Harmeet Singh Sooden, who gained worldwide fame in late 2005 after being kidnapped for several months by Iraqi militants.
In 2006 Hamed travelled to Australia to protest against the G20 Summit in Melbourne.
Neo-liberalism must be stopped. Subcomandante Marcos of the Mexican Zapatista movement said: “what the Right offers is to turn the world into one big mall where they can buy Indians here, women there…”
Omar Hamed is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s most active and dedicated young militants.
Is he also a “terrorist“?
I sincerely hope not.