By Roya Fathalizadeh–
On Nov. 7, friends and families gathered together to celebrate Palestinian culture. University of Louisville’s third annual, Night for Palestine exemplified the country’s art, music, food and dance, showing off its assorted traditions in aims of educating people of their culture along with raising money and awareness for the Olive Tree Campaign. This organization advocates to plant olive trees in places where they have been destroyed or taken away by the Israeli military, as well as provides support for farmers around the world. In just four days, this association has planted 2,500 trees in efforts to restore the country’s beauty.
For the past century, Palestine, also known as the state of Israel, has been undergoing a major conflict between its Jewish and Arabic population.
Getting into Jerusalem is just as hard as living in it. You must have a special passport and reason for visiting. Once you leave its borders, you may never come back. With settlements in Palestine diminishing, many find themselves leaving because of not knowing where else to turn.
“Every morning I woke up, I thanked God that my house wasn’t destroyed,” said 19-year-old Yazan Moqbel in his speech at the event.
Moqbel moved from Hebron, Palestine to Indianapolis, Indiana to study film. He has traveled across the world to share what’s really going on overseas through his films. “Detaining Dreams” is his documentary, which demonstrates the lives of four Palestinian teenagers and their detainment by the Israeli military.
“These kids spend two to eight months in prison,” he said. “When they get out, they don’t know where to turn.”
This film premiered in June of this year. The Louisville Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP) is set to show his film at U of L in the spring.
Linda Omer, president of LSJP, has a lot to say to those who believe that this issue is a lost cause.
“Never stop talking about it, even when it seems hopeless,” she said. “The media is corrupt in the way it portrays things about our country. There is still hope.” She longs those around her to get involved and never give up on the fight to free Palestinians from this “ethnic cleansing.”
Omer encourages students to come out and celebrate Palestinian life in the spring with Israeli Apartheid week. During this program, Palestinian activists and speakers come to educate people of the apartheid and promote peace in Israel. They will show movies and other activities to raise awareness. This will be during the first week of April and is free to the public.
Just a couple months before, LSJP will be presenting a famous play, “My Name is Rachel Corrie.” Rachel Corrie was an American peace activist. She was killed in 2003 by Israeli defense forces in a combat zone. This play aims at celebrating her life and is based on her diary and emails. This is also free for U of L students.