Strong Palestinian presence at Watani Fest
This past weekend, Aug. 22—24, the Watani Chicago Festival brought the Arab culture to Bridgeview, the south west suburb just outside of Chicago. It also brought well deserved awareness to the crisis throughout Palestine, primarily in Gaza.
In just the first hour that I was at the festival I spoke to Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian-American community leader, a Palestinian-American business owner and a few activists.
Odeh was charged with lying on her immigration papers in October 2013 for failing to disclose being arrested by Israel in 1969. She is pleading not-guilty and arguing that the confession she made in Israeli custody was achieved unjustly.
Odeh was at the festival asking people to sign the petition to get the charges against her dropped. She told me vans from the Chicagoland area are expected to bring Rasmea’s supporters to her trial in Detroit Sept. 8.
After speaking with Rasmea for a few minutes I walked over to the Run for Peace tent. A few Palestinian-Americans were there signing people up for the run and selling shirts to help raise money for the Palestinian Children Relief Fund [PCRF]. Palestinian-American, Abby Zayed said 100 percent of the funds raised by the 3.1 mile run are donated to PCRF.
The third annual Run for Peace will be at Moraine Valley High School in Palos Hills, Ill. on Sept. 14.
Those who do not want to run but want to participate in Run for Peace can walk one mile instead of running. Palestine in America will cover the event.
Later that day I met Palestinian-American business owner Dahoud and his brother Mohammed Hamed. Dahoud owns the clothing company FIVE45.com and is based in Dearborn, MI. Palestine in America will catch up with the Hamed brothers in Michigan later this year to do a profile.
The brothers were at the Watani Festival on Sunday and were one of the most popular booths at the event.