Around 100 people gathered Thursday evening on the Allen County Courthouse Green to show their support to end the violence in Gaza.
Their goal was raise awareness about the crisis situation facing the 1.8 million people who are living there. One protester's sign pointed out, Gaza's people are Muslim and Christian, and all are human. According to a recent Washington Post article “nearly one-third of Gaza's 1.8 million people have been forced to flee their houses, and many are now homeless. Tens of thousands of children are believed to be suffering from psychological trauma according to the United Nations.” UNICEF reported July 13 that at least 33 children killed in Gaza in recent days, and hundreds more injured.
Ahmed Abdelmageed, one of the speakers at Thursday's protest said they wanted to speak out in support of an end the bloodshed in Gaza. In the past 30 days the United Nations has reported 1,900 civilians killed.
Abdelmageed, whose family lived in Qatar after losing their homelands in 1948, came to Canada in 1996 for university and then to the United States in 2000. Abdelmageed said it will take a real commitment on the part of the United States government, and the Israelis to stop what is going on. The United States government's annual $3 billion commitment to the Israelis makes it difficult for the Palestinians. There is no balance of power in the situation.
“The unabashed killing needs to end,” Abdelmageed said.
Jar Jour, one of the organizers of the protest, said they have not decided if they will make the demonstrations a weekly event. They were planning to see how Thursday evening went before committing to that. Jour said a cease-fire would not be enough; the blockade that was put into place seven years ago by the Israelis must end.
Amar Masri, who moved from the West Bank to the United States in 1980, said there will need to be wise justice on both sides to bring peace to the situation. Masri said he left Palestine because there were no opportunities for him there. His brothers and sisters are spread out across the world; they too left to look for a better life.
The demonstrators chanted slogans like “Free, free Palestine" and "Gaza, Gaza, don't you cry; we will never let you die.” Cars drove by during the rush-hour traffic on Clinton Street beside the protesters, alternately honking and ignoring the crowd.