An estimated 15,000 people marched demanding that Israel end its brutal military attacks against Palestinians, blasting the mainstream news media for its one-sided, pro-Israel coverage and downplaying the Israeli killing of Palestinians while emphasizing Palestinian killings of Israelis
By Ray Hanania
Nearly 15,000 people protesting Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians and the failure of the news media to fairly cover the conflict marched through the heart of America’s second largest city in America, sending a loud and clear message that Palestine must be free.
Attendees came from all over the Chicagoland area and waved placards denouncing Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians. During the past several weeks, the media has emphasized that seven Israelis have been killed in attacks but downplayed that more than 45 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis. Additionally, Israel has beaten and injured nearly 1,000 Palestinian civilians in Occupied Jerusalem, in the Occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip where Israeli snipers have targeted protestors on the Gaza Side of the Israeli military obstructions.
Protestors also waved the green, red, white and black Palestinian flag including one that was huge and carried by two dozen people. The protest route started at Congress and Michigan Avenue all the way north to at Wacker Drive near the Israeli consulate, then down State Street back to Balboa Street then returning to Michigan again Congress.
“Today, Chicago voiced it’s solidarity with Palestine. All ages including educators, professionals, doctors, lawyers and busyness people, including the normal hard-working at Chicago area responded to the outcry of the Palestinians under the worst occupation that Humanity has ever known,” described Dr. Atiyeh Salem, a Palestinian originally from Bethlehem, Palestine and one of the protestors attending the march on Sunday afternoon.
“This demonstration in Chicago was led by all types of students and many nationalities including pro-Palestinians, Jewish educators, students from universities and high school graduates, with housewives and religious leaders. This demonstration expressed the feeling inside every Arab and every Palestinian Christian or Muslims.”
Atiyeh said the the demonstration was “a natural reaction” to the atrocities committed by Israel nearly every day, killing mainly children. He said people protested against injustice by Israel and against the Apartheid Wall, calling it “The Wall of Shame.”
“We protested against the illegal administrative detentions, the closures, the occupation of 62% of the West Bank, the closure of the Gaza Strip, the continued building of illegal establishments with the support of the Israeli army with soldiers acting like gangsters, and protesting the burning of entire families and children,” Salem said.
“All of these factors have caused natural response from the victims, when no Arab country or anyone will give a hand or pass any resolutions in the United Nations to defend the Palestinian people and support the Palestinian cause. This more than 15,000 demonstrators were asking for one thing, end the occupation.”
Salem’s views reflected the views of many of the protestors who attended and posted photographs on their Facebook Pages. Salem provided photos taken at the protest to The Arab Daily News, which are included in this report.
Oftentimes, the mainstream American news media ignores protests against Israel, or if they do mention the protests, they give it a short an quick mention. But, when an Israeli is killed, the news media makes the death the headline of the news on television, radio and in the newspapers and in their online media websites.
“It’s shameful the way the media acts. It’s so unprofessional,” another protestor wrote on his Facebook Page. “The Israelis kill dozens of Palestinians and the news media doesn’t even mention the names of the Palestinians who are killed by the Israelis. Yet, when an Israeli is killed by a Palestinian who is resisting the occupation, who has been brutalized and had his land and life stolen by Israel, the news media makes it look like the Palestinians are the cause of the violence.”
Protests were held across the United States including in Dearborn, Michigan and also around the world to show solidarity with the Palestinians and to demand an end to the Israeli occupation which is the cause of the violence. But Chicago’s demonstration was one of the largest held.
Palestinian protest leaders and attendees said the turnout ranged from 4,000 to 15,000 attendees. Part of the difficulty of the count is that the Chicago Police did not provide any numbers. The biased mainstream Chicago news media mostly ignored the massive protest, but at least one TV station did include a quick report of about 10 seconds noting pro-Palestinian protestors marched at Grant Park, but they offered no coverage or substance. The WLS TV anchor said that “several hundred” people protested the “ongoing violence” in the Middle East. The US Palestinian Network which has chapters in California, Chicago, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, St. Louis, Washington DC, and Wisconsin said they are using the number 4,000 to describe the protest, adding, “It’s still a number to be proud of.”
The estimate was based on the previous week when 46,000 runners participated in the Bank of American Chicago Marathon where a contingent of about 60 Palestinians running under the banner “Team Palestine” completed the popular Chicago run. Nearly 500,000 people lined the marathon route.
Chicago Police declined to give an official estimated of the number of protestors, something they do often in other protests. But then again, hey, Chicago is “Prime Minister Rahm Emanuel’s” occupied territory.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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