Palestinian-American women, with roots in Ramallah, Palestine, at the forty-ninth annual American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine Convention in Houston. The women in the top and bottom photos wear traditional dress with the distinct Ramallah styled embroidery. http://afrp.org/album.aspx
From the acceptance speech of Yacoub Zayed, President of the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine, at its forty-ninth annual convention in Houston:
As Arab Americans we have an obligation to America. It has given us many opportunities, one example being to raise our young ones into educated, dynamic people that we can all be proud of. We repay this debt by being loyal and model citizens. We also have an obligation to our homeland which does not come into conflict with our obligation to the United States.
Our beloved Palestine is under an occupation that is both terrifying and damaging by a force that is so aggressive and cruel that it barely deserves to be called human. I doubt that any occupation in all the pages of world history is as horrifying as the one that began in 1948.
America's greatest power lies in the democratic structures which allow its citizens to voice their opinions and concerns freely, and its gentle heart that liberates those from the struggle.
To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. " Having the advantage of living here, it is our duty to resist the occupation in many diplomatic ways. One is to keep a close tie to politicians and others in power that will support our cause.
In the upcoming presidential election I regret to inform you that many of the candidates are fighting over who will get the lucrative Pro-Israeli donations. They speak in front of AIPAC, the Pro-Israeli lobby, and they reap the rewards while they turn a blind eye to the illegal occupation. They say there is no reason to support the Palestinians! We must speak to them, for if we tell our story, they will listen. We need only to look as far as Jimmy Carter, a former U.S. president, to see someone who has listened. Let them hear us through the AFRP.
Also, we need to keep a close kinship with our people and our land in Palestine. And to continue to frequent our country to assert that we have not left, and that we will not leave! We cannot be intimidated; and we must reconnect with our roots.
And from the Federation's Outgoing President, Jamal Jubran, on the occupiers intimidation techniques:
This year I took a delegation to our beloved city of Ramallah for Easter. This was a great trip, and our presence there was a source of suport for our fellow Palestinians living there under the most brutal form of occupation in modern history. We experienced first hand the check points and the suffering and the terrible conditions that affect their lives day to day. We were held up at the bridge by the Israeli authorities crossing from Jordan to the Occupied Territories for more than 6 hours for no apparent reason other than to harass Palestinian Americans so we get discouraged from going back to our homeland. I want to encourage every one who has plans to travel to the homeland to go with the Federation.
From Hathihe Ramallah (This is Ramallah), July, August, 2007, Volume 56, No. 4.