Thursday, May 24, 2012

Palestinian heritage event draws thousands

Kristin Szremski is a member of the US Campaign Steering Committee, an independent journalist and the director of media and communications at American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). The Chicago chapter of AMP recently held their second annual Palestine Parade to commemorate the Nakba. Kristen put together the following piece for CNN iReport about the entire day's events. 

"The main message was that the Nakba, which began the process of ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homeland, continues today because of Israel's occupation," she told the CNN iReport producer. "The message was that Palestinians will not forget 1948, and that Palestinian Americans will continue to work to educate the American public about the occupation so that one day the public will encourage their elected officials to craft a more balanced and equitable foreign policy for everyone in the Middle East."

Throughout the day, at least 3,500 people from several states including Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and New York, attended an outdoor Palestinian heritage celebration, hosted by the Chicago chapter of the American Muslims for Palestine on May 20 in Bridgeview, IL.

From the lively Palestine Parade, replete with horses, floats, folk music, and an overwhelming presence of Palestinian flags billowing in the wind, to dabka (folk dancing) performances, freshly baked bread from replica ‘taboons’ (clay ovens), and educational tents highlighting the villages of Deir Yasin, Asqalan and Jaffa, the sixth annual event focused on passing passing along Palestine’s rich cultural and historical heritage to succeeding generations of Palestinian Americans. The event also remembered those who were forced from their homes and villages in events leading up to the creation of the state of Israel, known to Palestinians and their supporters as the "Nakba" or Catastrophe.

AMP-Chicago’s second annual Palestine Parade hit the streets with more floats and a beautiful matched pair of horses pulling an antique-style carriage. In addition to floats carrying AMP dabka troupes, Girl Scout troop # 70528 from Lockport/Homer Glen, also joined the parade. Lively nasheed, and numerous Palestinian flags livened up a Bridgeview-area neighborhood as it wound its way along the parade route, gathering participants as it went.

No Palestinian cultural celebration would be complete without dabka performances, and AMP-Chicago’s 6th annual Nakba event was no exception. Four dabka groups, including two AMP-Chicago children’s groups, Bier Nabala group and Sanabal al-Quds of Milwaukee, entertained throughout the day. 

Continue reading on CNN
. Also find more pictures of the event on AMP's website

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