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Turkiye Ethnosport culture event dramatises plight of children of Gaza

June 6, 2024 at 9:20 pm

People look at the shoes representing the children killed in Israeli attacks are displayed with the slogan of ‘If the children of Gaza were alive, they would be playing in this festival’ during 6th Ethnosport Culture Festival which takes place at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkiye on June 06, 2024. [Murat Şengül – Anadolu Agency]

While stressing the importance of traditional games and play, Turkiye’s Sixth Ethnosport Culture Festival is also taking time to commemorate children whose lives have been upended and lost in a brutal war, namely the thousands of Gazan children who lost their lives in Israeli attacks since last fall, Anadolu Agency reports.

At the festival, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors, hundreds of shoes representing children from Gaza have been exhibited in the event area.

A special area dramatises the plight of Gazans living in difficult conditions. Participants wearing augmented reality glasses walk on a treadmill with heavy loads on their backs to better understand the burden of those who have been displaced in Gaza, always seeking an elusive safe place.

Speaking to Anadolu, Tulay Gokcimen, the coordinator of the area on Palestine, said that they tried to dramatise the plight of Gaza to the visitors.

Gokcimen said: “At the festival, we placed shoes with the theme of Gaza. Each represents a child from Gaza. If we had placed a shoe representing each of the children massacred in Gaza, Ataturk Airport would be filled with shoes.

She added that this year’s theme is “All children deserve to play” and “All children deserve to live and learn”, saying: “We are trying to explain this to people here. Everything has been thought of for the children who are guests here.”

“We left a note at the entrance saying, ‘If the children from Gaza could live, they would be able to visit this festival like you.’ These shoes represent the children from Gaza,” she added.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport is hosting the festival through this weekend, featuring traditional sports, handicrafts, local flavours, and children’s games with participation from about 30 countries.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on Gaza since a 7 October, 2023 Hamas attack despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire.

Some 36,600 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and over 83,000 others injured, according to local health authorities

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

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