Whenever Land Day is mentioned in Brazil, it is synonymous with one person: the Chairman of the Santa Catarina Committee for Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Khader Othman. The 84-year-old Palestinian refugee was born in Beit Ur Al-Tahta, Palestine, in 1939 and was then expelled from his home and forced to seek asylum in Brazil after the 1967 War. A month after his death, a community feels of Palestine in Brazil still the void he left behind.
But his support for Palestine has not come to an end, his daughter Shahla has promised to continue her work. Shahla was born in Brazil and has visited Palestine many times and believes that the struggle for the Palestinian people belongs to all Palestinians no matter where they are.
“My father was a great symbol of the Palestinian cause and he left us a great legacy. One of the greats is gone but he left many teachings. We are going to continue his legacy, fighting – with our all strength – for the construction of a free Palestine,” says Shahla MEMORANDUM.
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It is a great honor to be able to speak for such a just and noble cause. They want to destroy our past and destroy our future. We will not allow it.
This year, Shahla and her colleagues and friends held various events in several cities in Brazil to keep the Palestinian issue alive and to raise awareness in the general public. Representatives of political parties and supporters of the Palestinian cause came to celebrate Land Day. For the Othman family, Land Day provides an opportunity not only to commemorate a departure from the past, but also to think about the future and other ways to oppose Israel’s occupation, colonization and land theft.
“March 30 was a special day for my father, it was important for him to celebrate Land Day. He always tried to organize events, lectures, interviews for the Palestinians on all the special dates. This year, we joined forces with the Palestine Solidarity Committee People will continue its mission.”
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There is a relatively small Palestinian community in the City of Florianopolis, where Shahla and her family live, but they work to make the locals aware of Palestine and the ongoing suffering of their people. Shahla hopes to be the voice of the Palestinians there. “I want to be the daughter who will give visibility to the Palestinian story, history, people and their cause. I am not the daughter of a Palestinian refugee, but I am the one who shows resistance, struggle, courage and fight.”
Contrary to the views of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, that “the old will die and the young will forget”, Shahla believes that “the old will die, but the young will not forget and they will be stronger and they will be stronger. continue the struggle.”
“Even as a proud Brazilian where I was born and lived all my childhood,” Shahla insisted, “I will always defend Palestine, not only because I am of Palestinian origin, but also because that we should shine a light on our Palestinian community and our presence here.”
“The love of my father’s homeland is stuck in my heart like glue that won’t come off.
It was only in 1997 that Othman was able to visit his homeland. Then he started visiting every year, meeting people, talking and helping each other and he built a technical school in Palestine and named it after his father, Mahmoud Ahmad Othman. “Since we have always had a strong connection with the family in Brazil when we founded the Catarinense Committee for Solidarity with the Palestinian People in 2010, we built a technical school in Palestine and named it after my grandfather, Mahmoud Ahmad Othman ,” explains Shahla.
With the hope of freedom, the daughter of a Palestinian refugee builds bridges between the Brazilians and the Palestinians to keep the memory of her late father alive and to help achieve his goal. “This is the moment and this is what we are going to fight for. We will continue to deny the reality of the Palestinian people and expose the crimes of the Israeli occupation to the people of Brazil,” concludes Shahla.
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