Radio Free Palestine broadcasts global Nakba Day marathon

Sawt Al-Shaab studios in Beirut. (Supplied)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Radio Free Palestine broadcasts global Nakba Day marathon

  • Al-Biss, the producer of the “Talet Sobh” morning show on Amman’s Radio Al-Bald, asked her team to report from various Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan
  • The radio marathon is taking place over a 24-hour period on May 15

AMMAN: Radio producer Hadeel Al-Biss wanted to make her work make a difference. “We were asked to participate in a radio marathon for Nakba Day, and I figured that the best way to do that was to carry as many voices of Palestinian refugees as possible,” she told Arab News. 

Al-Biss, the producer of the “Talet Sobh” morning show on Amman’s Radio Al-Bald, asked her team to report from various Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. “People spoke freely and honestly about their desire to return, and the fact that hardships will not deter them from pursing their rights.”

In Washington DC, Katea Stitt told Arab News that the WPFW and WBAI stations were carrying the marathon on Nakba Day across DC and New York. “We got involved, two years ago on the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, carrying three hours of programming about Palestinian refugees and the right of return. The next year we carried the entire 12-hour multilingual broadcast. Washington is an international city with people from different backgrounds, so we made sure that people heard in Arabic, English, Spanish and French,” she said.

Stitt, the interim program director of WPFW, part of the Pacifica Network, said that she was involved in the broadcast in order to support justice in Palestine.  “Lewis Hill, the founder of Pacifica Radio, was a conscientious objector, and founded the network because he believed that he could create media that spoke truth and justice through the media arts. WPFW carries that mission.”

The radio marathon is taking place over a 24-hour period on May 15, and is being broadcast over 28 stations in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunis, Morocco, the US, Canada and over Pacifica Network stations.

Laith Marouf, Radio Free Palestine’s international coordinator, who began the idea of a radio marathon back in 2006, says that the project has grown a lot in recent years. “This year we were able to transmit Palestinian voices from Lebanon and Jordan, and bridge them with Palestinians in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Gaza.”

Marouf says that he hopes that next year, the 24-hour broadcast will be available in four languages. “If Palestine is not free by next May 15, we will be able to broadcast the marathon live in Arabic, English, Spanish and French,” he told Arab News from Beirut.

George Rishmawi, head of the Rapprochement Center in Bethlehem, told Arab News that they have been involved in this project for 10 years, and it has been gradually gaining importance. “It is important that we can get Arab and international voices all on the same day because it shows the solidarity with the Palestinian people,” he said.

Rawan Jayyousi, anchor on “Talet Soboh,” told Arab News that the reaction of the program was huge. “I felt from the reaction I got on social media and personal contacts that despite the difficulties facing Palestinians, there is a hidden strength that came out and a feeling that Palestinians are not surrendering but are strong and resilient.”


UAE says joint probe into tanker attack ensures impartiality

Updated 44 min 41 sec ago
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UAE says joint probe into tanker attack ensures impartiality

  • UAE says international participation in an investigation into ‘sabotage attacks’ on oil tankers will lead to ‘impartial conclusions’
  • It also indicated the results may take time

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that the participation of several countries in an investigation into last week’s attack on oil tankers off its coast would support the “impartiality and transparency” of the findings.
The Gulf Arab state has not yet blamed anyone for the acts of sabotage on four vessels including two Saudi oil tankers, but a senior UAE official has said Abu Dhabi was concerned about Iranian behavior in the region.
“The keenness of our international partners to participate in the investigation and the concerted efforts support the impartiality and transparency in arriving at results,” the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.
US government sources told Reuters they believe Iran encouraged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia or Iraq-based militias to carry out the operation.
Tehran has distanced itself from the attack, which comes as Iran and the United States spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the Gulf region.
The UAE foreign ministry statement welcomed the participation of several “friendly and brotherly” countries in the investigation, but did not name them. It did not give a timeframe, saying the probe would take “the time required.”
UAE officials have said that the United States and France, which has a naval base in Abu Dhabi, were participating in the investigation as well as Saudi Arabia and Norway.
A Norwegian-registered oil products tanker and a UAE fuel bunker barge were among the vessels hit near Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs located just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said Abu Dhabi would show restraint after the attack and that it was committed to de-escalation during what he described as a “difficult situation” caused by Iranian behavior in the region.
Saudi Arabia has called for emergency Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30 to discuss the implications of the tanker attack and an armed drone strike two days later on Saudi oil installations in the Kingdom, for which the Houthis have claimed responsibility.