Tag Archive | "Field of Voices"

Field of Voices: Planting Seeds of Resilience

Dr. Laila Al-Marayati (l) and Naomi Shihab Nye with a poster of Gazan children. S. Twair photo

Award-winning poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye told attendees at KinderUSA’s annual fund-raiser on May 13 at the Audubon Center in Los Angeles, “I’m rooting for the children of Gaza and all the children of the world who somehow have to survive in terrible circumstances created for them by adults. We, who have had longer on the planet, should know better. But the people in power do not seem to know better.”

Nye, a Palestinian American who lives in San Antonio, TX, went on to discuss the the Israeli army’s outrageous treatment of citizens in Gaza. She described the blockade as well as the sanctions against human beings who have as much right to live as any Israeli. Somehow Israel always gets a free pass and the government’s abuse goes unchecked, she said—then the U.S. gives it more money!

Nye encouraged her American community to always speak out and support projects like KinderUSA, that “speak to the better instincts of humankind…I urge everyone to contribute to KinderUSA as much as they can. Dr. Laila Al-Marayati is my hero,” she explained.

Saying that she began writing poems at age 6, Nye read a selection from her book Tender Spot, about girls in GazaShe then read one called “The Dishes Will Wait,” from Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat.

Nye concluded by saying: “I’m proud to be present for a project supporting rights of children who deserve as much as the beautiful Californian children and all our children do.”

KinderUSA president Dr. Laila Al-Marayati commented, “The need this year is great!…We provide food every year to the Gaza children, especially in Ramadan.”

Bedouin X played traditional Arab music. Next Aarab Marwan Barghouthi, the youngest son of the long-time prisoner Marwan Barghouthi, was called to the podium to make spontaneous remarks.

“When my father was arrested I was little and didn’t know why the Israeli soldiers arrested him,” Barghouthi recalled. “Later, I went to see him in prison after he was tortured. Then I started to see him once every two years. He was growing older, with gray hair, but he has the same big smile. I haven’t touched my father’s hand in 15 years, but I still feel his warmth.”

In a moving show of solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike, KinderUSA offered attendees a bit of saltwater to drink in unison.

KinderUSA is the leading American Muslim organization focused on the health and well-being of Palestinian children. For more information on this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, visit its website, <www.kinderusa.org>.

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