Local activists to commemorate Palestine’s Land Day on Saturday

  • Greenfield resident Suzanne Carlson holds a sign on the Greenfield Common during a Traprock Center for Peace and Justice standout on March 18. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • From left, Greenfield residents Patricia Greene and Sandra Boston stand on the Greenfield Common during a Traprock Center for Peace and Justice demonstration on March 18. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Local activists hold signs on the Greenfield Common during a Traprock Center for Peace and Justice standout on March 18. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/23/2023 1:37:45 PM

GREENFIELD — In commemoration of Palestine’s Land Day, local activists will stage a demonstration on the Greenfield Common on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon.

According to Sherrill Hogen, a member of the local Palestine solidarity group Kairos/Franklin County Justice for Palestine, the demonstration serves to shine light on “the ongoing loss of land to settlers, supported by the Israeli army, and now by the entire Israeli government.”

Land Day remembers the March 30, 1976 Israeli confiscation of 1,500 acres of Palestinian agricultural lands and the killing of six unarmed Palestinian protestors, Hogen explained in a statement.

“The theft of Palestinian land is a long story, starting even before the state of Israel was created in 1948,” the statement reads. “Palestinians remind us on Land Day that their land is still being taken by Israel, a settler-colonial regime.’”

“It’s been a long, awful story and it is made worse by having an ultra right-wing, quite vicious government,” said Anna Gyorgy, communications coordinator for the Greenfield-based Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, which has partnered with other activist groups to host the standout. “It’s terrible because it reflects on the state of Israel and … we oppose antisemitism in all cases, but to have the government of Israel be so vicious and the occupation continue with such violence is really just very sad for all peace-loving people.”

The standout will also be supported by activist organization Western Mass CODEPINK. Member Paki Wieland said amassing a large group of demonstrators on the common primarily functions “to arouse people’s consciousness,” as well as show solidarity from across the planet.

“It lets them know that people all around the world care,” Wieland said.

The three groups call on the United States government to stop funding Israel’s government at the rate of $3.8 billion per year, the largest aid package given to any foreign country, according to the New York Times. Hogen’s statement also noted that more than 80 Palestinians and 14 Israelis have been killed in 2023.

“Now is another opportunity for people all over the world, where people can say, ‘Wait, we can demand justice. We can demand accountability,’” Wieland said.

March 18 standout

The Traprock Center for Peace and Justice also held a standout last weekend, where 20 activists demonstrated “with signs and messages for peace in Ukraine and beyond,” according to Gyorgy. The date marked the 20th anniversary of the start of the United States invasion of Iraq.

In addition to those demonstrating on the common, some western Massachusetts residents traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a rally at the White House, according to Gyorgy. They agreed to report back during an informal webinar that will be announced later this month.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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