On the afternoon of Saturday, 27 May, in Bethlehem Square in Brussels, Belgium, Samidoun Brussels organized its first Resistance Festival, part of the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the ongoing Nakba. This cultural, social and political event celebrated Palestinian resistance in all forms, reaffirming the anti-colonialist, anti-racist nature of the struggle for Palestinian return and liberation from the river to the sea. Welcoming festival-goers, the square was redecorated with many Palestinian flags as an assortment of groups and associations set up stands and tables. The event also included a screen printing workshop, children’s games and food and cold drinks. Banners surrounded the square carrying many messages of solidarity, particularly demanding the release of prisoners Walid Daqqah and Georges Abdallah, in support of the Palestinian resistance, for the boycott of Israel, and in support of the struggle of Delhaize supermarket workers. The initiative was a smashing success bringing together over 700 participants throughout the afternoon in a warm and enthusiastic popular atmosphere.
Nermin, the co-founder of the Palestinian Refugee Movement in Brussels, opened the festival with a speech declaring that despite 75 years of Nakba, the Palestinian people continue to resist for their inalienable rights.
Jaldia Abubakra, a member of the executive committee of the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement; the Palestinian women’s movement Alkarama; and Samidoun Madrid, spoke next, emphasizing that the Palestinian people are not only confronting the Zionist movement but also the imperialist powers which have played a leading role in the colonization of Palestine. She reaffirmed that “the word resistance has today become synonymous with Palestine, and our people have never given up and they will resist until the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.” She concluded her intervention by affirming that the Palestinian resistance is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, stressing that “the fedayeen love life and are ready to sacrifice everything for our freedom” to a round of applause.
Mohammed Khatib, the Europe coordinator of Samidoun, intervened to recall that the Palestinian cause was an integral part of a global anti-imperialist struggle, affirming that the fights carried out in Belgium for justice and equality are also the struggles of the Palestinian people, such as the campaign to boycott Delhaize stores and the mobilizations against racist crimes. Furthermore, he strongly denounced the criminalization of Palestinian community organizing and the solidarity movement in Europe, in particular the dissolution (eventually suspended) of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra in France and the bans on demonstrations and the repression against Samidoun and other Palestinian organizing in Berlin, Germany.
A member of Samidoun Paris Banlieue presented a joint statement with the Collectif Palestine Vaincra calling for the immediate release of Georges Abdallah. A Lebanese communist imprisoned in France since 1984 and eligible for release since 1999, he has now become the longest held political prisoner in Europe. “Supporting his release is not only supporting a committed and dignified man who is faithful to his revolutionary principles and ideals. To support Georges Abdallah is to support the Palestinian resistance and its legitimacy against imperialism, Zionism and for the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea,” he said. Showing their solidarity with the cause of the prisoner, the crowd chanted “Palestine will win, free Georges Abdallah!” enthusiastically at the end of the speech.
Next, the festival presented artists, Achille, Raj’een Dabkeh Troupe, Lowkey, and Osloob & Issa Mourad. In a family-friendly, enthusiastic atmosphere, young and old celebrated Palestinian resistance during these various performances. On the railings surrounding the square was a photo exhibition by photographer and former journalist Johan Depoortere, presenting photos of the Palestinian villages destroyed and/or depopulated during the Nakba.
This launch of the festival was supported by the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, Zin-TV, EuroPalestine, Revolutionaire Eenheid, Masar Badil, Classe Contre Classe, DK, Bruxelles Pantheres, Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine, La Fronde, De-Colonizer, Secours Rouge, Revolutionary Action Front and ILPS. In addition, various groups were represented, making the trip, including Free Palestine Maastricht, Palästinakomitee Stuttgart, Anti-Imperialist Front and Samidoun chapters from the Netherlands, Spain and France.
Samidoun Brussels would like to thank all the participants, the dozens of volunteers and various partner organizations for having made the launch of this festival a political and cultural success! In particular, we would like to thank the DK, Classe Contre Classe, the residents of the neighbourhood and Palästinakomitee Stuttgart for their precious logistical help, without which this Resistance Festival would not have been possible.
The mobilization did not stop there! On Monday, 29 May, in the streets of Brussels, members and sympathizers of Samidoun marched with the colours of Palestine on the occasion of the demonstration against the far-right Vlaams Belang party, emphasizing the indissoluble link between the anti-fascist and anti-Zionist struggles.
For several months, Samidoun Brussels has been building up to develop and intensify solidarity with the Palestinian people and their resistance until the return and liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea. To join us and/or participate in our activities, contact us on Instagram or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.