Nearly 1,000 Christian Arabs will reunite this summer in Ramallah
The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine will bring together nearly 1,000 Christian Arabs Nearly 1,000 Christian Arab Americans Expected to Reunite in Ramallah, Palestine for Annual Family Reunion at its 60th Annual convention which will be held in the city located just 10 miles north of Occupied Palestine. Many of the attendees are descendants of the original five brothers who founded the city in the early 1500s and include children of refugees who fled the many wars that have plagued Palestine beginning in 1948 and again in 1967 when Ramallah was militarily occupied by Israel.
Summertime and family reunions go hand-in-hand, and that’s no exception for the hundreds of Palestinian Americans, who have been living in diaspora for more than 60 years, and who plan to attend their family reunion in their ancestral city of Ramallah, Palestine, July 4-7, 2018.
The 60th Annual American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine (AFRP – www.afrp.org) Convention will take place in Ramallah, located 10 miles north of Jerusalem. Each year, the AFRP hosts the annual convention/family reunion in a U.S. city populated by large numbers of Ramallahites. This is the second reunion held in the family’s ancestral homeland of Palestine. The first was held in 2014.
The attendees include immigrants – now naturalized U.S. citizens, and up to fourth-generation, are the descendants of five brothers whose family settled and founded the Christian city of Ramallah in the early 1500s. During the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948, and following the creation of Israel, many fled to the U.S. hoping to return. However, subsequent wars and conflicts in Palestine prevented families from returning, and most became U.S. citizens who are successful, productive and contributing members of their communities.
Today, there are more than 40,000 descendants of the five brothers living in the U.S., with approximately 10 percent of the original family living in Ramallah.
“Traveling nearly 6,500 miles to attend a family reunion is in itself unique but going back to the place where our ancestors started it all and reconnecting with aunts, uncles, and cousins from throughout the U.S., gives you a sense of connectivity, being united with each other and our land,” said Najwa Baba, a first-generation Arab American from San Francisco, California.
Convention Committees – one in Ramallah and one U.S.–based, have been planning the reunion for more than a year. Events include a welcome dinner, a parade through Ramallah, nightly “haflehs,” or parties celebrating traditional singing and dancing, etc. Following the reunion, sightseeing tours of the Palestinian territories including Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem, will take place.
“We are excited to go back home to Ramallah and celebrate with our families near and far,” said Dr. Hanna G. Hanania, current President of the AFRP. “While we live in diaspora, our hearts and our deep roots are forever in Ramallah. This is an opportunity for our children to see firsthand, their ancestral homeland and participate in our traditions and culture.”
For more information on the convention, click here.
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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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