Continued Nonviolent Actions in Bil'in, Palestine: The Puerto Rican Connection
On Sunday, September 16, at 7 pm at the Westcott Community Center (826 Euclid Ave., Syracuse), Palestinian photojournalist Emad Bornat and Puerto Rican peace activist Tito Kayak will speak and show documentaries. They were both in Bil'in, Palestine last April for the Second Annual International Conference Advocating the Use of Nonviolence. Their US speaking tour - "Puerto Rico to Palestine: Uniting Struggles in Defense of the Land" - is sponsored locally by the North Central NY Conference United Methodist Task Force on Peace with Justice in Palestine/Israel.
|Puerto Rican peace activist Tito Kayak atop an Israeli surveillance tower where he unfurled a Palestinian flag. Photo: puertoricotopalestine.org|
A 7 pm potluck will accommodate those observing Ramadan and provide an opportunity for fellowship. The program begins at 7:45.
On April 20, 2007, Tito climbed a nine-story surveillance tower which is part of the Apartheid Wall near Bil'in. He unfurled the Palestinian flag and remained perched there for hours, during an international press conference with Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead McGuire and former Palestinian Authority Minister of Information Moustafa Barhgouti. This generated extensive international press coverage.
Emad, who filmed Tito's action, has documented Bil'in's thirty months of nonviolent struggle to reclaim their stolen land and end the Israeli occupation. In 2006, he was arrested and beaten for filming soldiers as they came during the night to arrest a 14-year-old for throwing stones. His first film, One Year of Peaceful Resistance, won second prize at the 2007 Al-Awda Film Festival in San Diego.
Both Tito and Emad continue their nonviolent struggles in defense of their lands. Recently Tito and five other Puerto Rican activists climbed a crane to prevent the illegal construction of luxury condos, which would prevent public access to the public beaches of Old San Juan. He was hospitalized from injuries incurred in the action. Meanwhile, Emad continues to film the weekly demonstrations in Bi'lin. Recently he documented 200 settler families moving illegally into an incomplete condominium settlement, despite a pending Israeli High Court decision to determine the legality of the settlement.
All are invited to attend. For more information contact Linda Bergh at (315) 492-8507.