Palestinian Refugees Visit Chattanooga On North America Nakba Tour

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
The North America Nakba Tour visited Chattanooga
The North America Nakba Tour visited Chattanooga

Kicking off International Human Rights Week 2017, Palestinian Refugees on the North America Nakba Tour visited Chattanooga to share their stories and help raise awareness about the current global refugee crisis. "The Exiled Palestinians" featured the personal stories of stateless Palestinians from the refugee camps in Lebanon. 

Khawla Hammad has been a stateless refugee in Lebanon for 69 years. At the age of 16, she was expelled from her village of Kabri, in Palestine. Now she is 84 years old and still a refugee in Lebanon, with no citizenship in any country at all. 

Joining her was 23-year-old Palestinian refugee, journalist and translator Amena Elashkar, the great-granddaughter of other Nakba survivors. She and her parents were born as stateless refugees in Lebanon and have never lived in their own country. 

Ms. Elashkar said, "We are hopeful. It is not simply a dream for us to return to our homeland one day. We know that one day we will return home and once again we will live in peaceful co-existence with the Jews there just like we did before the Nakba or 'Great Catastrophe' in 1948 when we were forced away from our homes." 

Gandhi Global Center For Peace Co-Founder Missy Crutchfield said, "The work for nonviolent revolution in Israel-Palestine, Egypt, and across the Middle East is the final frontier of civil and human rights. And Palestine specifically has become a metaphor for ending global occupation and oppression. Gandhi spoke to it. Mandela spoke to it. And Gandhi reminded us that fear is the enemy, not each other, and ultimately it will be love that conquers all." 

The North America Nakba Tour is administered by a committee of Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Free Palestine Movement and the International Solidarity Movement – Northern California. 

Local Chattanooga partners working with the committee to bring "The Exiled Palestinians" to Chattanooga for International Human Rights Week 2017 included: Gandhi Global Center For Peace, Egyptians Abroad for Democracy Worldwide, and The Well on the Soutside, a member church of the Adventist Peace Fellowship. Bridge Refugee Services also joined in the event to help make the connection locally and share about what is being done to help refugees who are relocated to Chattanooga.

The North America Nakba Tour visited Chattanooga
The North America Nakba Tour visited Chattanooga

Volunteers Needed For Annual Civil War Trust Park Day

The National Park Service looks to partner with the Civil War Trust again this year to have a hands-on preservation event to help Civil War, and now Revolutionary War & War of 1812, battlefields and historic sites take on maintenance projects large and small.  Volunteers across the country will again answer their nation’s call to service.  History enthusiasts, ... (click for more)

Metro Ideas Project Announces Public Assembly Summit In Chattanooga

Metro Ideas Project announced Public Assembly, a gathering of the nation’s voices ranging from authors, elected officials, journalists, and policy minds, will be hosted in Chattanooga May 11-12.   At the inaugural Public Assembly summit, hosted at the new Chattanooga Whiskey Riverfront Headquarters, those gathered will focus on moving the nation forward by addressing ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Says $4 Million Needed To Put SROs In All Hamilton County Schools

Sheriff Jim Hammond on Thursday night told members of the County School Board that $4 million is needed to provide School Resource Officers for all of the 79 schools. He said currently there are 31 SROs in 29 schools, leaving 50 uncovered. School Board member Rhonda Thurman said she believes the community could come together to provide the necessary funding. "It's something ... (click for more)

Judge Philyaw Denies He Did Not Reappoint Magistrate Because She Was Gay

Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw told a federal jury on Thursday that the fact Elizabeth Gentzler is openly gay had no part in his decision not to reappoint her as a magistrate. "Absolutely not. I have a lot of gay friends, family and acquaintances," he said. However, a court officer at Juvenile Court sided with Ms. Gentzler. Jimmie Cannon said, "Ninety-nine percent ... (click for more)

Avoid Underage Drinking And Other Prom Drama

My high school prom took a dramatic turn when two guys got their tuxedo jackets mixed up. One of them belonged to my date, who kindly offered to keep my wallet in his pocket. That’s the jacket another young man mistakenly grabbed off the back of a chair before heading to an underage drinking party that got shut down by police well after midnight—as kids scattered in every direction.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘In God We Trust …And Protecting Our School Children

On a day that the Tennessee Legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that would prominently display the words “In God We Trust” in every school building in the state, the Hamilton County School Board gave my boy Bad Little Johnny cause to get a magic market and scribble underneath, “but ‘Everybody Else Is Gonna’ Need A Pistol!’” Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, who was ... (click for more)