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Kinvara Harbour Marks UN International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People

29th November 2023
Kinvara Harbour in South Galway is marking UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people
Kinvara Harbour in South Galway is marking UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people

The south Galway harbour of Kinvara is marking United Nations (UN) international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people with a candlelit vigil on Wednesday evening (Nov 29).

The UN day, which has been observed annually on November 29th since the late 1970s, will also involve a procession to the pier and waterfront.

Spokesperson Vicky Donnelly said that “we are a small community making a peaceful show of friendship and solidarity with people who are struggling”.

During the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014, the people of Kinvara and local businesses, numbering about 1500 people in all, took a collective stand by pledging to support the growing boycott movement (known as BDS - Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against the state of Israel.

The Kinvara community removed Israeli goods from their shops and restaurants and made international headlines by becoming the first and only Irish town to take this type of collective action, prompting the Palestinian ambassador to Ireland at the time, Ahmed Abdelrazek, to visit the south Galway village to thank the community.

A few years later, a group of children from Gaza were invited to play a football match in Kinvara.

“That day in 2017 was a special day for us all in the village,”John Griffin, who helped organise the event, recalls.

“And now once again, it is imperative for us all to remember the importance of solidarity, especially with the 40th anniversary of the Dunnes Stores strikes approaching,” he said.

“Those strikes by a small number of Irish people were credited by Nelson Mandela as delivering a significant blow to the apartheid regime in South Africa. Here in Kinvara is a small community with a strong voice. Together, we can send a strong message that a bombing campaign that contravenes international law and kills so many innocent civilians must stop,” he said.

In 1977, the General Assembly called for the annual observance of November 29th as the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” as per UN resolution 32/40 B.

On that day, in 1947, the Assembly adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II))

The Kinvara harbour vigil will commence at two points in the village – the Kinvara primary school and Dunguaire Castle - and the two groups will walk to the Quay area to converge at the pier.

Members of the Palestinian community will be special guests at the vigil, which will culminate with music and a celebration of Palestinian food and culture at the end of the event in the Pier Head restaurant on the Quay.

People are encouraged to bring candles on the procession, and there will also be a light installation at the castle with the message “WE SEE YOU”.

The renowned singer-songwriter, Declan O’Rourke, will be attending the candle-lit vigil.

“On this special day, we want to say to our brothers and sisters who are suffering that ‘we see you’, and we will not turn our eyes away from this catastrophic time in the Middle East,” O’Rourke said.

Published in Coastal Notes Team

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