Meriam Bouchtout contributed to this article
All photos by Meriam Bouchtout
The ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict has affected people worldwide, leaving them to wonder how they could help or show they care.
A group from Malden hosted the 5K Run for Palestine, and approximately 200 people from Greater Boston showed up sporting their immense support, even though the weather was not pleasant, the event was held on the morning of November 18th. Participants were passionate about showing their support and respect for the Palestinian people who have been killed or affected by the current conflict in Gaza.
“Seeing injustice anywhere is something that, as Muslims, we have to stand up [against],” said Fatima Benmimoun, an attendee at the event.
As the conflict continues, it is estimated that somewhere between 14,000 and 15,000 Palestinians have been killed, 10,000 of which are women and children, according to The New York Times and Al Jazeera as of the end of November.
“Even though I'm not influential, nor am I the richest person in the world, I want to do what I can, and ‘Alhamdulillah’ [‘praise be to God’), this is something I can do so I try my best to show up when I can show up,” said Fatima Benmimoun.
Attendees agreed they wanted to use the event as a way to advocate for Palestinians from afar.. "For me, I wanted to be involved because the kids that I taught reached out to me and I was like, ‘you know what? I have to do my part. I have to be involved and that’s why I’m here today,'” said Jabir Ducasse.
Throughout the event, runners and supporters from ages differentiating between five to 50 were waving Palestinian flags, speaking up for Palestine, and helping each other out while facing the messy weather conditions. The runners ran through the bike path and around Malden, a loop that is 3.1 miles. The volunteers received snacks and water, free for everyone throughout the day, as well as pizza.
Ducasse also believes that Palestinians need more action from people around the world to support and bring awareness to them. “I think worldwide, people should definitely recognize the conflict in the West Bank, and they should do a little more because I feel like there’s a lot of silence throughout social media,” Ducasse said.
As people express their feelings and ideology on the matter, Susan Hassan, a Palestinian, thought to share a few words about what she feels about Palestine's current situation. “It's just heartbreaking what's been happening in Gaza over the past few weeks, and I think it's important to just support as much as possible, call for ceasefire, and be the voice for the voiceless and that's truly why I came because I really sympathize with this cause and my brothers and sisters that could have easily been me,” she said.
“While everyone has been focusing on Gaza, the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) soldiers have gone into the West Bank, have kidnapped people, have killed people, and there's illegal settlements there and that's been going on for years and years,” said Hassan.
She also added, “There's only one true side to this conflict, that it's an occupation and not a conflict between two equal sides. And that there are people who are being targeted, that there’s a genocide occurring, and that those people need support and need a voice to stop the apartheid that’s happening right now, and has been happening in the past 75+ years.”
"For me, I wanted to be involved because the kids that I taught reached out to me and I was like, ‘you know what? I have to do my part. I have to be involved and that’s why I’m here today.'” - Jabir Ducasse
As the event continued, a few people wanted to share their thoughts on the event as well. Nour Chouiki, a former MHS student, stated, "I really liked it, it brought awareness… There are innocent people dying, including kids, and I want to do something to help." Chouiki expressed that she “decided to support Palestine” after she learned about what's happening in the West Bank. “I think that people should pay attention more to the conflict,” she said. But as she solely expressed, her purpose for joining the event was “to support humanity.”
To add a few more words about the people’s thoughts, Hassan said, “You can’t say that Hamas are terrorists without saying the IDF isn’t a terrorist organization… and there's illegal settlements [in the West Bank] and that's been going on for years.”
“We see that people are dying, and a high percentage of those dying people are kids… How can you justify killing kids and think that’s ok? There should be an uproar,” Ducasse expressed.