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Celebration of Palestinian culture comes to Oshkosh

By Alvin Jarvenpaa, Jr.

Celebration of Palestinian culture in Oshkosh, WI.

Oshkosh, WI – After their protest of the U.S. opening of its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem, United Action Oshkosh (UAO) held a celebration of Palestinian culture, May 20, at Rainbow Park. The family-friendly event featured music, food and games, as well as a guest speaker, Samir Moukaddam, who lived in Lebanon among displaced Palestinians forced from their homes by Israelis.

The topic of Moukaddam's speech was the resilience and determination of Palestinians in their struggle to fight not just for their land and homes, but their identity and culture as well. It also highlighted the need for international support of all liberation struggles, including Black and indigenous liberation struggles in the U.S.

“It was wonderful to meet the activists of UAO and learn about their work, which is much needed in these dangerous times,” Moukaddam said. “I welcomed sharing my experience and thoughts on working for Palestinian rights. The struggles of oppressed peoples all over the world, and especially in the U.S., all have much in common. The great courage and steadfastness of the Palestinian people is going to defeat all what their oppressors are throwing at them. But the Palestinians, whether in Palestine or in the diaspora, always linked other people’s struggles to theirs. And maybe that's what keeps them hopeful, as their understanding of their suffering does not exclude the suffering of others.”

After the speaker, attendants enjoyed homemade food dishes common to the region and were treated to traditional folk and dabke music from Palestinian artists.

To end the event, attendees young and old engaged in some games highlighting the improvisational necessity in regards to play of Palestinian children, including hajla, which is similar to hopscotch, and a raucous game where players tried popping balloons tied to each other’s ankle.

“My family and I had a blast learning more about Palestine. From the music, food, games and speakers we truly had a glimpse of what Palestinian culture is like,” said Oshkosh resident Hollie Poupart. “It was truly eye-opening to see differences and even some similarities in ways we all enjoy life.”

Support for Palestine is part of UAO’s commitment to bring to highlight the struggles of all oppressed people, spearheaded by their ongoing campaign to push Oshkosh to declare itself a sanctuary city for immigrants. UAO has its second sanctuary city workshop planned for June 9.

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