For Palestinians, Land Day presents an opportunity not only to mark a past event, but also to think about the future, and more ways to resist Israel's occupation, theft and colonisation of their land. Palestinians and their supporters around the world commemorate Land Day on 30 March every year, and have done since 1976. The day has come to symbolise the struggle of the Palestinian people for their legitimate rights to their own land, homes and property; indeed, their legitimate right to their homeland.
Across Latin America, activists have prepared to commemorate "Palestinian Land Day" with talks, meetings, cultural activities, media interviews and social media campaigns. The Palestinian flag has been raised and people have chanted their support on the streets. Support for Palestine from Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador and Chile in particular has been strong.
"For our Palestinian communities in Latin America, it is a very important day for us to strengthen and connect Palestine with its children in the diaspora," explained the Secretary-General of the Palestinian Federation in Latin America, Dr Jehad Yousef. "This day is the most important day to us, because we reaffirm our national sense of belonging to our land. The Israeli occupation must know that we are not going to hand it over and give up; it is our pride, dignity and honour."
El Salvador has one of the largest Palestinian diaspora communities outside the Middle East, with almost 100,000 people. They launched events in various Salvadoran cities to keep the Palestinian issue alive and raise awareness in the wider community. Such events also help to build stronger links between different communities. A free Zoom meeting, for example, was held in partnership with the Palestinian Arab-Brazilian Youth, SANAUD. The objective is to increase awareness about Palestine over the next few years.
With many houses, offices and companies flying the Palestinian flag in solidarity, members of the Palestinian community held meetings with the wider Salvadoran community to speak about Palestine and Land Day. "On this special and significant day, let us raise our voices and our flag against the Israeli apartheid regime," said Yousef. "Let us denounce the theft and confiscation of our land, and plant an olive tree in every street, town and city. Let us remember our martyrs with respect and love and stand in solidarity with our prisoners and those who have been wounded."
In Brazil, where solidarity with the Palestinians is a regular feature of daily life, Palestinian-Brazilian organisations commemorate Land Day every year. The Brazil-Palestine Institute is just one of the groups which will do so again this year with a day of solidarity activities. The schedule will begin with planting trees at the Palestinian Embassy in Brasília. Other events include film shows highlighting the Palestinian cause; book launches; and meetings with Palestinian communities and officials in various cities around Brazil. There will also be a peaceful march towards the Israeli Consulate in São Paulo.
"This year," the president of the Institute told me, "the Land Day activities will be held together with many other Palestinian organisations in Brazil. We concentrate on activities in a week of action to mark Land Day, including marches and solidarity stalls." The main focus, added Dr Ahmed Shehada, will be on the media as Palestinians and Brazilians remind the world of the importance of this day and the importance of standing with the people of Palestine in Jerusalem, Gaza and the rest of the occupied land. "A series of graphics and videos will circulate on social media. We have experience in this regard with excellent results."
Meanwhile, Land Day activities in Argentina started earlier this year in the capital, Buenos Aires. Palestinians and dozens of solidarity activists participated in peaceful marches to commemorate Land Day. Chants of "Free, free Palestine" reverberated off the city walls. The Palestinian Embassy in Argentina will today launch a public exhibition of photographs and posters called "Palestine Free". The documentary Writers of the Borders will also be shown in the same hall at the embassy. The film talks about many Palestinians writers and poets, such as the well-known Mahmoud Darwish.
The events in occupied Palestine on 30 March, 1976, when Israeli occupation forces killed six Palestinian citizens as they protested against the government's expropriation of Palestinian land, form the backdrop to Land Day. Today, people around the world are expressing their solidarity with Palestine and their rejection of Israel's ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people; indeed, its crimes against humanity.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.