History will be made next weekend when children from South Africa link up live with children overseas as they walk and talk with one voice calling for the freedom of Palestine, writes an Al Qalam reporter
Excitement is mounting across South Africa as local organisers prepare for “The Global Walk United For Freedom” next Sunday when thousands of young people will participate simultaneously with their counterparts in several countries to create awareness of the rights of children, especially in Palestine.
The 5km event on Sunday, November 26, starts at 8.am at all venues, and is being coordinated from Durban by Palestinian children support group, Shamsaan. The event will be held in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Ladysmith and Pietermaritzburg. It will also be held simultaneously in Italy (2 cities), Jordan, Lebanon, Spain, and Turkey. Other countries are expected to join.
This is the first time a project of this magnitude is being planned that links children across several countries. The children will be calling with one voice for their rights to be restored, said Nadia Meer of Shamsaan who conceptualized the project.
Local Islamic television station ITV will be linking children live in Palestine (Gaza), South Africa and Jordan while the other participating countries would be broadcasting live feeds through the Shamsaan Facebook page.
A range of guest speakers will be on hand at all events, including nasheed reciters. There will also be entertainment and stalls for the children. The event is free and there will be merchandise available for sale. Proceeds will go directly towards acquiring hearing aids for children who have suffered the horrors of violence.
The Durban event will be start at the lawn at Sunkist Beach and families are welcome to join their children in the 5km long walk along the beach promenade.
Coordinator of the project, Hassan Noor Mahomed, told Al Qalam the Shamsaan project is a collaborative platform for Palestinian children so they can voice their needs – including a call for the basic rights of children worldwide that have been stripped due to illegal occupations, political conflicts and regional turmoils.
“Shamsaan (meaning 2 Suns in Arabic) is a South African initiated collaborative program with Palestine that promotes arts and culture as a platform for dialogue and social change based on our shared bond with the Palestinians; and the need to show solidarity with the Children of Palestine in their pursuit of justice and equality.
“2017 is significant as it marks 50 years of illegal occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and 69 years in Palestine, it is also the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration which saw Britain promise land to Zionist Jews, an event that started much of the instability in the region. It is also 10 years that Gaza has been under siege and declared the world’s largest open-air prison and lastly on the 20th of November, it is also UN International Children’s Day.
“With all this in account, it was necessary that an event to create awareness takes place and so was borne the idea for a month of projects that culminate in a Global walk for freedom by the very children that are affected by this changing world,” he added.
The idea to hold such a global event also struck a chord with the organizers when Palestine’s youngest reporter, Janna Jihad, caught the public eye when she started broadcasting on social media platforms about the difficulty of everyday life in the region..
Janna and members of her activist family were recently brought to South Africa for a countrywide tour to create awareness about the injustices Palestinians faced each day.
Janna has since become the Shamsaan Pals4peace ambassador and continues to galvanize children to speak up for their rights.
For further information – and to follow the live feeds on Facebook and Instagram – go to @2sunsShamsaan.