SPHR Concordia is keeping Palestinian culture alive and atmospheric
During an evening of food, music and conversation on the 7th floor of the Hall building on Jan. 25, the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Association (SPHR) at Concordia aimed to raise money to donate to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Palestinian refugees. Tickets were sold for $15 each and the group managed to raise over $1,000.
The event, called Eat Like A Palestinian, began with a buffet of traditional Palestinian dishes like fatouch salad, frekeh soup, and msakhan. The food was prepared by Om Ossama, a Palestinian woman dedicated to supporting Palestinian community events through her cooking skills. Many of the event’s attendees were learning about Palestinian dishes for the first time.
Syrian-Canadian student Marya Akkad, who attended the event, said “it’s very atmospheric and cultural. Everyone is very welcoming, and the music reminds me of home.” She added that she was pleased with the strong cultural identity at the event.
After dinner, a live band played traditional Arabic songs with a combination of instruments; an oud, a saxophone and drums. Guests clapped to the music and sang along. A few got up to dance. After the band was done, people continued to dance to Palestinian songs played over projected images of Palestine and symbols of its culture.
Later, one of the team organizers started a Palestinian trivia game. The prizes were traditional Palestinian accessories, which were also sold at the event. The trivia game also provided an opportunity for people to contextualize Palestinian hardships through historical facts. The dinner party reflected Palestinian culture through the hospitality of the organizing team, and tales of endurance of the Palestinian people.
Many of the organizers believe this type of event keeps the Palestinian culture alive, instead of focusing on the political disputes surrounding the country.
President of the SPHR Concordia, Houda Kerkadi, spoke about the motivation behind hosting the event. “We were thinking of ways we can help, [rather than] simply [asking] people for money,” Kerkadi said. She also hoped to provide an interactive experience that combined raising money with a cultural experience.
“We asked ourselves, ‘What would combine people of all ethnicities and backgrounds together like food?’ Arabs don’t always agree on political leanings when it comes to Palestine, but we can all agree that we love the food,” Kerkadi said.
SPHR Concordia is planning a few more events this semester, including Israeli Apartheid week and an end of year celebration.
Feature photo by Mishkat Hafiz.