Last Friday was the ending of Haq Youth movement season. To show the appreciation HRA organized a short fieldtrip to the Saffuriyya village with a picnic, singing and handing out diplomas. All the facilitators, their group members and mentors were invited, bringing together about 100 enthusiastic and active young people.
Day started with a trip to the Saffuriyya village. Until the 1948 Saffuriya was a Palestinian village with about 4000 people, who lived their quiet and peaceful life. This all changed in the 1948 when Israeli forces attacked and bombed the village, forcing everybody to go. All the residents of the Saffuriyya lost their homes and were forced to leave their lands. It was a sad sight to see. Empty land with some ruins to remind the fostering life that once was there.
Here is a picture of Saffuriyya village, before and after the Israeli attack.
Many Saffuriyyans still want to return to their lands, but they are forbidden to do so. Only Israeli Jews are permitted to live there. Therefore all the beautiful and new houses you can see before entering the village, belongs to them. Now they are trying to do the same with the Arab Bedouins (more about it from this article: http://arabhra.org/HRA/SecondaryArticles/SecondaryArticlePage.aspx?SecondaryArticle=2134). If this kind of behavior is not unhuman and clearly against human rights, then what is?
After listening the guide, it was time for activities. We played different games to get to know each other and drew posters about Palestine and the Haq movement. We also sang national songs about Palestine. I didn’t understand the words, but I saw the mixed emotions they were causing. I saw the overwhelming pride of these youngsters, being high-spirited about being a Palestinian, being proud about their culture and heritage.
Aside from that, I also felt sadness. Sadness about the Palestinians who are forced out from their lands, to make room for the Jews. Sadness about the restrictions they have to face, while being under the Israeli power. This is also how I see Palestinians in general, proud about their heritage, but at the same time feeling sadness about the losses and discrimination.
At the end of the day, all facilitators and their group members were given diplomas to show HRA’s appreciation about their effort and work. Within every organization, it is important to show to your workers, especially to the volunteers that their presence and work is noticed and valued.
Since there were so many people, I didn’t have the chance to get to know everybody, but the ones I did were all very welcoming and kind. I think this kind of attitude also describes the Haq Youth movement as general. Active group of youngsters who want to make a difference, working together to bring hope and raise the awareness about Palestinians rights, at the same time being kind and welcoming to all the people they meet.
Thank you HRA and Haq Youth movement for this fun day!