The Palestinian Return Centre held its second event of its nationwide Ireland tour in Tyrone on Sunday 27th March 2022, at Cornmill, Coalisland, in Tyrone.
Dympna Heron, a representative of the local Tyrone Palestine Solidarity group chaired the event and opened the event by introducing the event’s first speaker, Janna Jihad. Janna Jihad is a young Palestinian activist known for being the world’s youngest journalist. A resident of the Nabi Saleh Village in occupied Palestine, Janna regularly participates in demonstrations against the Israeli Occupation. She began making video reports of what was happening in her village, from the Israeli occupation to illegal settlement building, starting when she was only 7. When she was seven years old, the murder of her uncle at the hands of the Israeli military drove her to speak out about the brutal military occupation. Janna filmed her uncle’s killing on her mother’s phone and shared it with the world. By the time she was 13, Janna was recognized as one of the youngest journalists in the world, documenting the Israeli army’s oppressive and often deadly treatment of Palestinians. Janna Jihad faces death threats and intimidation because of her work.
Janna spoke on the importance of land to the livelihoods of Palestinians - and how Palestinians are intrinsically rooted into the land of Palestine. She shared her personal stories of being a child living under brutal Israeli military occupation and how she wishes she will be the last generation of Palestinian children forced to endure such brutality.
The event then heard from Farrah Koutteineh - Speaking on behalf of the Palestinian Return Centre. Koutteineh spoke on the current dire situation Palestinian refugees face in Lebanon, Syria and within Palestine. Koutteineh closed her speech with emphasising the importance of supporting the right of return, and that the right of return is one of the only sources of justice that is left for Palestinians that can still be ascertained.
The final speaker of the event was local Irish activist, trade unionist, and former Irish hunger striker and political prisoner, Tommy McKearney. McKearney spoke on the long history of Irish-Palestinian solidarity, and the shared empathy bound in being the victims of colonialism, imperialism and classism. In his speech he voiced his unequivocal support for the right of return, and demanded it be met immediately.
The Palestinian Return Centre is hosting ‘The Shared Struggle: Ireland & Palestine’ to commemorate both the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the upcoming anniversary of Land Day and to honour the long standing solidarity between the Irish and Palestinian people.