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Palestinian Culture and Catastrophe Recognized by Santa Clara County
Santa Clara County and many of its cities recognized Palestinian Culture Day and remembered the Palestinian Day of the Catastrophe (Yom al-Nakbah) on May 15, 2007 with talks, songs, folk dancing, and community recognition awards.
On May 15th, 2007, the culture and struggle of the Palestinian people was recognized by Santa Clara County in a day of remembrance. The ceremony and reception, held at the Santa Clara County Government Center in San José marked the Day of the Catastrophe (Yom al-Nakbah or يوم النكبة). Yom al-Nakbah marks the tragic events of ethnic cleansing between 1947 and 1949 in which an estimated 700,000 Palestinian civilians were systematically driven from their homes and 419 Palestinian villages were razed in order to make way for the State of Israel.
In San José, the remembrance ceremony was inaugurated by County Supervisor Pete McHugh in a flag-raising ceremony for the American and Palestinian flags over the County Government Center. Samir Laymoun, representing the Arab American Cultural Center of Silicon Valley, introduced Richard Hobbs, Director of the Office of Human Relations of Santa Clara County and Johnny Khamis, Chairman of the Human Relations Commission, who spoke about the contributions and human rights of the Palestinian people.
Girls sang Palestinian folk songs, women read Palestinian poetry, and men and boys danced the debka, Palestinian folk dance. Numerous recognition awards were presented by and on behalf of the State of California, Santa Clara County, the city of Santa Clara, and other cities to Samir Laymoun and the Arab American Cultural Center.
The event followed Santa Clara County's remembrance of the Holocaust with a ceremony held on April 24 to mark Yom Hashoah. The message of both events was that no genocide can be denied. Recognizing and remembering the genocides, including the Holocaust and the Catastrophe, is the starting point for preventing future genocides.
Santa Clara County has held Palestinian Culture Day annually for the past six years.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Pete McHugh observes Palestinian flag raising at the County Government Center.
County Supervisor Pete McHugh presents a community recognition award from the California State Senate to Samir Laymoun.
Palestinian woman reading poetry.
Boys dancing the debka, Palestinian folk dance.
Audience enjoying Palestinian cultural presentations.