From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!

On Saturday, members of our Breathing Space Counselling team attended a child-led March in Vancouver, held in support of a free Palestine.

Hundreds of people stood together: waving flags, holding signs, and cuddling their children who came to march with them. People held hands, listened deeply to the speakers, cried tears of heartbreak mixed with hope, and chanted loud calls for peace into the crisp afternoon air.

As we stood alongside everyone there, we heard a number of powerful speakers…

…a Jewish mother who spoke in solidarity with Palestinians – calling for an end to this genocide by the state of Israel and saying emphatically, “not in my name!”

…a Palestinian mother who spoke about her complicated grief and gratitude as she moves throughout each day. She talked about how each time she places dinner on the table for her children – knowing that thousands of children just like hers are dying from bombings, dehydration and starvation in Gaza right now – she feels a sharp pang of grief. How when she holds her children close, she feels deep gratitude for her children’s safety mixed with sadness for those thousands of parents who have lost their children, and don’t even have the chance to bury them.

…an Indigenous trauma counsellor (wu’Was’ulwat from the Snuneymuxw and Saanich nations) who spoke about the impacts of colonialism here on Turtle Island* and in Palestine, and how to stand in solidarity with all Indigenous people around the world.

… a Palestinian Imam (the leader of a Muslim Mosque) talk about how families in Gaza are writing their names on all of their limbs, so if they are bombed (and only an arm or leg is found) families will be able to identify their loved ones body parts 💔

We listened to beautiful children, some as young as five, lead chants like “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” with hope for the future in their voices.

We watched as an endlessly long banner was unfurled and carried down the street, showing the names of the Palestinians (most of them children) who have been killed so far by the state of Israel. The banner was so long we could barely see where it ended. 💔💔💔

It felt incredibly powerful to take our grief and channel it collectively in this call for freedom for Palestine. Throughout the afternoon, we shed many many tears, held hands, moved our bodies and marched together through the streets of Downtown. As a collective, we raised our voices to call for an end to this horrific genocide.

As an organization of counsellors whose work it is to help people heal from trauma, it is vital that we are critical of the systems that create that trauma — including colonialism, racism, and imperialism. Our work is incomplete if we only help people recover from trauma, without doing the work to stop that trauma from occurring in the first place.

This is not about taking sides. This is about upholding and standing for the right to safety, dignity and freedom for all people, everywhere. None of us are free until all of us are free. 🇵🇸🙏🏼❤️

#ceasefirenow #freepalestine


*Turtle Island is the name some Indigenous people use to refer to the lands now known as North and Central America.

To the Women of Iran: A Love Letter


By Elmira Fakhr

There are thousands of people grieving their friends and family members who have been tragically killed in the fight for freedom from the oppression of the Islamic Regime in Iran. These brave souls have continued fighting a brutal government, putting their lives on the line. Despite the endless losses, they have not lost hope or the will to fight for a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones.

This is a love letter from one of our Associate Counsellors, Elmira Fakhr, who left Iran and has settled in Canada. She has chosen to make a life here and she continues to use her voice to fight for her people at home by keeping their stories alive.

Dearest Women of Iran,

It is difficult to express what I feel in simple words.

The world is watching as you fight to gain your most basic rights from the Islamic Regime in Iran. I have seen videos of your courageous protests within the last seven months. You have been tortured, raped, imprisoned, and killed.

Dear Sisters — please know, the world has heard your voice.

The strength and bravery you have shown to stand up for what you believe is admirable. You are an inspiration to so many women – and all people – around the world.

I feel your pain and sorrow deeply. Mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends have been lost in this battle and we miss them so much. I feel appreciation for our fathers, sons, brothers, and friends who have chosen to stand by our side and fight for us in this revolution.

You have inspired us all to move and make change happen. We will continue to share your stories and be your voice. We will be stronger as we stand together.

This is the revolution started by strong women of Iran – and you will not be forgotten.

Elmira is offering a limited number of reduced cost sessions to Iranian community members who are affected by this struggle.

  • A maximum of 8 online sessions at $65 each are available.
  • They are available to those who could not otherwise afford private counselling (have financial need for reduced cost sessions & do not have insurance benefits).
  • Sessions are available in English or Farsi.
  • Please email Elmira at [email protected] for more information.