Nakba commemoration: Istanbul hosts International Photo exhibition on Palestine

Istanbul: On the 70th commemoration of the Nakba or the catastrophe, an international exhibition of photos and art work was inaugurated in Istanbul which will run till Friday.

‘Palestine Remembered’, the pictorial exhibit has about 150 pictures at display showing various themes of life under occupation in the occupied territories of Palestine. The themes included life, culture, and occupation of Palestine, refugee life and ‘hope’. Besides, 13 documentaries are being shown to the visitors which talk about the struggle and other aspects of the Palestinians.

The exhibition is hosted by Centre for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) and supported by three pro-Palestinian institutions.

The organizers said that the exhibition is held to commemorate the Nakba day – May 15 – when some 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly uprooted from their native towns and villages prior, during and after Israel’s “so-called” declaration of independence.

“Palestinians, supporters, and countless Muslims living across the world, commemorate this day to remind conscious people and defenders of freedom and human rights to support the cause of Palestinians,” one visitor at the exhibition said.

The event was inaugurated by IZU rector, Dr Mehmet Bulut, and CIGA director, Dr Sami A Al-Arian, who emphasized upon the Muslim community to work for the freedom of the Palestine and Jerusalem which houses holy Al-Aqsa mosque.

There are at least 12 million Palestinians worldwide of which 5.4 million are refugees.

One of the support groups of the event, Palestine International Forum (PIF), said that the group is involved in the garnering support from various media across the world for the “Palestinian cause”.

“We hold media conferences and workshops where in journalists and reporters are trained as how to report, which terminology to use, while writing about the Palestinian struggle,” said Habib Imran, PR Coordinator of Beirut based PIF.

“We are building connections across continents so that real voices reach to the people and the sentiments of occupied people of Palestine are heard,” he said. The PIF is running an English website in collaboration with Al Quds Press London which, on daily basis, covers the Palestinian conflict.

“Recently, the PIF held a conference exclusively for Arabic language journalists wherein they were told about the dangers of reporting about Palestine and how to deal with Israel’s propagandists,” he explained.

Imran said that PIF has a few more projects in the near future including those in the social media and other languages.

“We have zeroed-in on ten major topics related to Palestine and we are making small videos for social media in at least 12 languages,” he said. “Besides, we have partnered with many major media outlets in South Asia and South East Asia who give prominence to news from Palestine. Making friends has helped us intensify our campaign.”

Istanbul based Ummet Vakfi (UK), a welfare organization, is taking donations and investing it in real estate and tourism and sending profits to Al Quds.

“We are working with hard-core business mentality with charitable causes,” explained Mojahed Rasheed, the Marketing Specialist of UK which is the co-sponsor of the event.

He informed that the four-year-old UK has investments of almost 19 million dollars. “Our annual rate of return, as profits, on donations from across the world is at least 9% on the total investment,” he said. “Our model is inter-connected: those come to visit us are hosted by our partners in tourism which share profit with us. Besides we are investing in real estate and we take returns through rental income or complete purchase.”

Rasheed said, the UK was the ‘first organization that manages the affairs of Al Quds”. “The profit we generate is spent on various affairs of Al Quds; we pay salaries to Imams and other staff, we serve Iftaar during Ramzan and other logistics are supported by UK.”

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