Newsflash

  • Craft products from South Africa and Jamaica are produced by people living with HIV/AIDS

    The craft products from South Africa and Jamaica are produced by people living with HIV/AIDS, purchasing these products from the Merian Derwent shop, supports individuals and families by providing them with much needed income.

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  • Our Shop Stocks over 100 Craft Products!

    The Merian Derwent shop stocks over 100 craft products from Palestinian artisans and other international craft suppliers!

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  • Your purchases help to support Palestinian families

    By making a purchase from the Merian Derwent shop, you are supporting Palestinian families, providing them with much needed income.

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About Merian Derwent

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Hello, I’m John Logan and I run Merian Derwent.  While I was working for Christian Aid, the UK relief and development agency, I visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2001. My initial contacts with a few groups and individuals were made on that first visit and I began to sell a limited range of Palestinian crafts when speaking about the situation to church groups and others on my return.  The range of crafts available and the number of suppliers has grown over the years, and this web site is a development of that.

Some items for sale on this site are from producers known to be acting by ‘Fairtrade’ guidelines (as Christian Aid partners for example), but none, to my knowledge, have been ratified by the UK’s Fairtrade Foundation. Merian Derwent’s attitude is that the situation is currently so dire, that anything we can do to support local Palestinians in the severe economic restrictions imposed upon them is well worth doing, even if it is not technically ‘Fairtrade’. The supplier of Gazan decorated glass has had 6,000 items waiting in a warehouse there for shipment for the last eighteen months, while Israel and the international community insist nothing goes in or out. The factory is closed and the staff are some of the 80% of Gazans who are unemployed.

The Palestinian Fair Trade Association, who supply Zaytoun (www.zaytoun.org) with olive oil products and some foods, are guaranteed as Fairtrade producers through the Swiss equivalent of the UK’s Fairtrade Foundation. Merian Derwent is not going to supply their goods, but encourages you to find a local supplier in your own area, by contacting Zaytoun via their web site. Merian Derwent is happy to supply those in the northwest, within 20 miles of Wigan, who make contact about this range of goods
 
As Merian Derwent tries in a small way to put some power back into the Palestinian economy by bringing samples of their crafts to sell to people in the UK, I hope you find this work of value and interest.
 
The name "Merian Derwent'
Some people ask about the name ‘Merian Derwent’. Derwent was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name, and my father’s middle name. Merian was the name of the house in Sidmouth, Devon, where we had a fortnight’s holiday every summer as children – a place of very happy memories!  I include some personal items in the shop - publications of my grandfather's and my poetry.
 
 
Merian Derwent’s stance on the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land.

Merian Derwent endorses the United Nations internationally agreed position on the situation between Israel and the Palestinian people. While understanding Palestinian frustration at Israel’s continued occupation, and the inadequacy of the international community to enforce its own legal position, Merian Derwent believes that only peaceful methods should be used to bring peace through justice to this troubled area.

Israel has a right to exist in security within its 1967 ‘Green Line’, internationally agreed, borders. The Palestinians have a right to their own national jurisdiction on the full area of the West Bank and Gaza, which would include their rights to land (including underground water sources), air and sea jurisdiction.  This has recently been tested by the boats of campaigners sailing from Cyprus to Gaza.

Israel has no right to continue to be in the Palestinian land first occupied in 1967, or to attack Palestinians on their own land. Palestinians have every right to resist occupation, by force if they so wish, including the presence of the illegal settlements on their land, but no right to attack within Israel proper. Merian Derwent believes such resistance should be peaceful, thus shaming Israel into reciprocating. The Palestinians can never ‘win’ militarily, but nor can the Israelis.

[See maps]

Israel must dismantle the ‘Wall’, and restore all Palestinian lands to their rightful owners with compensation for land, trees and buildings
destroyed. (The USA could show it is an ‘honest broker’ by spending as much on this, as they have on supporting the State of Israel in the last 20 years – estimated as approximately £7M / day!) The populations of the settlements must be withdrawn to Israel, including those of East Jerusalem ‘annexed’ by Israel after the 1967 war (an annexation not recognised in international law), and the future use of the settlement buildings negotiated between the two parties, whether they are dismantled or used by Palestinians.

All Jews have the right to come to live in Israel, as enshrined in Israeli law, even though many decline to do so. All Palestinians refugees also have the right to return to their home villages and areas in Israel, even though many will not wish to do so. The rights of second, third and fourth generation refugees, who never lived in the area taken by the state of Israel, should however be negotiated between the two governments.

West Jerusalem may be the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem may be the capital of Palestine. The Old City of Jerusalem (in East Jerusalem) should be held as an ‘international’ city for all those of the three Abrahamic faiths Judaism, Christianity and Islam. There must be no destruction of any of the present religious buildings of Jerusalem.

All countries must recognise the state of Israel on its return to its legally recognised international borders.  This will guarantee Israel’s future peace and security.

In the long term, Merian Derwent believes that almost certainly the only viable solution to the present troubles is one secular state, with all three faiths Judaism, Christianity and Islam recognised as valid and equal; full democratic rights for all, Jews and Palestinians (including those now in both the diasporas), so all can live in peace with their neighbours, both within the country and beyond the borders of the state.

John Logan