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Taiwanese urged to understand plight of Palestinians at awareness-raising event

11/04/2023 11:05 PM
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An event includes documentary screening and picnic-style discussion is held on Saturday in Taipei to deepen people’s understanding of the background history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CNA photo Nov.4, 2023
An event includes documentary screening and picnic-style discussion is held on Saturday in Taipei to deepen people’s understanding of the background history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. CNA photo Nov.4, 2023

Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) A group of people with different backgrounds but a common anti-war stance held a documentary-screening event on Saturday to show support for the Palestinian people amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas and to shed light on the conflict's complex history, as some participants urged Taiwan to understand the plight of the Palestinians.

The event held on Saturday at the 228 Peace Memorial Park in Taipei was initiated by a group of people with involvement in social movements, including those advocating for labor rights and migrant workers' rights.

Lala Lau (劉璧嘉), a member of the Taiwan International Student Movement and one of the initiators, said the event aimed to showcase the longer historical background of the conflict, as the reportage about Palestine and the Global South in general has been lacking in Taiwan.

Without the understanding of the longer historical context, it is easy to have "an illusion that Hamas made an assault all of a sudden," Lau said. "But this is ignoring Israel's attacks and repression against the Palestinian people that have been ongoing for years."

"We are also against Hamas' indiscriminate attack [against the innocent people], but we are also more willing to place it in a longer timeframe," she added.

Participants in Saturday's event included people from different countries.

Thorsteinn Kristinsson from Iceland, who works in the academia, said he was there to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle, and to call for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as Israeli bombing continued in retaliation against Hamas' attack on Oct. 7.

Farhan Idris and Ben Seet, who are both Singaporeans currently working in Taiwan, said they came to show support for Palestinians at an event that is rarely seen locally.

"Around the world, there have been a lot of protests showing solidarity with the Palestinians, but since I've lived here there's nothing, which is a bit concerning for me," said Idris, also lamenting that demonstrations about the issue are not allowed at all in Singapore.

He said he hopes people could understand that Israeli occupation of Palestinian areas has been going on for more than 70 years.

"I think people should know that the whole thing did not start from October 7," Idris said.

Seet said as Taiwan is also a small country that lives under the threat of a large neighbor, "more Taiwanese should understand the plight of the Palestinians."

Also present at the event were American participants who mentioned that they were in Taiwan for Chinese language learning programs and expressed their desire to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

They declined to offer their names for fear of being blacklisted, a fate that some American students have faced after protesting against the American government's support for Israel on U.S. campuses.

The documentary screened was Gaza Fights for Freedom, produced in 2019. Organizers said the event was held in "picnic style" in order to welcome peaceful discussion and exchange of opinions.

Print & Carve Dept., a group of woodcut printmaking artisans that have a common concern for social and political issues, invites people to make prints from their woodcuts that are of the themes such as anti-war and solidarity with the Palestinian people at an event in Taipei. CNA photo Nov.4, 2023
Print & Carve Dept., a group of woodcut printmaking artisans that have a common concern for social and political issues, invites people to make prints from their woodcuts that are of the themes such as anti-war and solidarity with the Palestinian people at an event in Taipei. CNA photo Nov.4, 2023

(By Alison Hsiao)

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