Palestine Afternoon in Toulouse celebrates Palestinian culture and resistance

On Sunday 25 June at La Chapelle in Toulouse, France, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra organized an Aprem Palestine (Palestine Afternoon) to celebrate the Palestinian resistance and support the artistic village of Qana in Gaza. Over 100 people joined the event throughout the day in a warm, family-friendly atmosphere of international solidarity, in a place offering a cool interior space and a pleasant shaded garden in the heart of the city.

Many banners and Palestinian flags decorated the space as well as several exhibitions on the situation of the 5000 Palestinian prisoners and highlighting the movement against the blockade of Gaza. At the entrance, a stand offered a large selection of flyers, stickers, but also books, DVDs, keffiyehs, scarves, t-shirts and tote bags (available online). The Collectif Palestine Vaincra is a member organization of the Samidoun Network.

The event began with Palestinian food, including falafel, hummus, tabbouleh and different salads and cakes.

These items are not simply food — they are part of Palestinian and Arab culture and identity, and are subjected to theft and cultural appropriation of the Israeli occupation and therefore become a political issue.

Then, the afternoon was formally opened with an intervention by an activist from the Collectif Palestine Vaincra, who emphasized that “it is important to organize this event to celebrate the Palestinian people and to show that despite 75 years of settler colonialism, the Palestinian people continue to resist, including by setting up this type of artistic project despite all difficulties.”

Nawras Shalhoub, Palestinian artist and coordinator of the Artistic Village of Qana in Gaza, spoke next, discussing this artistic project in Gaza and emphasizing that it is part of the Palestinian resistance which fights for a society free of colonialism and occupation. This Village honors the richness of Palestinian society and its history of struggle and resistance through promotion of culture in all forms, as during the screening of “Fedayin, the fight of Georges Abdallah” organized there last April.

The day continued with various workshops for the participants. For example, artist Said Benjelloun offered an introduction to Arabic calligraphy while Meriem made magnificent henna tattoos. Another team led an introduction to graffiti while many games and activities were offered for children, including painting and sports activities. At the same time, several people danced dabke in the garden to an assortment of Palestinian music.

At the end of the graffiti workshop, participants produced a temporary mural in support of Palestinian student and former political prisoner Layan Kayed who has been under interrogation for several weeks and denied access to see her lawyer throughout this time.

Around 40 people wrote letters of support addressed to several Palestinian prisoners and their families, in particular the freedom fighter and sick prisoner Walid Daqqah and the leaders of the resistance, Ahmad Sa’adat and Marwan Barghouti.

Several Palestinian and Arab participants read Arabic poetry highlighting the history of Palestine, its resistance and the fight against normalization. For example, a reading of an excerpt from “The Trinity of Principles” by Wissam Al Rafidi described the brutality of the arrest of a Palestinian fighter who had been living in hiding for 10 years. Other pieces include  “I am an Arab” by Mahmoud Darwish and  “No reconciliation” by Amal Dunqul.

After each reading, an explanation in French was made on the meaning of the text and its political significance for today. Finally, an activist rapped an excerpt from the song “Bordure destructice” ending with“Who sows the Hagra, reaps the Intifada” to applause!

The afternoon ended with a presentation by an activist from the Collectif emphasizing the importance of building solidarity with the Palestinian people and the need to join the actions of boycotting Israel and the campaign for the release of the militant of the Palestinian cause Georges Abdallah, the Lebanese struggler for Palestine imprisoned in France since 1984. Thank you again to all of you for having made this afternoon a beautiful moment of mutual aid and collective solidarity which made it possible to support the Qana Art Village in Gaza. To continue this mobilization, do not hesitate to join the Collectif during our next activities that we regularly organize in Toulouse and to follow CPV on its various social networks (Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , TikTok and Telegram).