Elderly refugee to join
December 14, 2009
Bethelehm - - Palestinian refugee Yusif Barakat will return to Palestine with 1,000 international delegates of the Gaza Freedom March set for 31 December, the event's organizers said on Monday.
Yusif Barakat, 74, was born in Haifa,
In August 1947, as a 12-year-old shepherd boy, he landed at Ellis Island in the
"He has been taking care of the needy ever since," the statement said. Now a retired psychotherapist, Barakat has devoted himself to working with the juvenile justice system, helping the youth develop trust and relationships through his treatment and rehabilitation program.
He also has deep emotional ties to his native
"I am appalled at the billions of
Following Hamas' takeover in 2007,
The statement added that other participants include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, leading Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham, South African anti-apartheid leader Ronnie Kasrils, French Senator Alima Boumediene–Thiery, author and Filipino Parliament member Walden Bello, former European Parliamentarian Luisa Morgantini from Italy, President of the US Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Michael Ratner, Japanese former Ambassador to Lebanon Naoto Amaki, French hip-hop artists Ministere des Affaires Populaires, among many others.
Families of three generations, doctors, lawyers, diplomats, 70 students, an interfaith group that includes rabbis, priests and imams, a women's delegation, a Jewish contingent, a veterans group and Palestinians born overseas who have never seen their families in Gaza will also join the march.
It is expected that 50,000 Palestinians will also participate in the event, spanning all segments of society and work, including NGOs, professors and students, and women's rights groups.
The march, set to take place in
In addition to the march, many events will take place, including performances by Palestinian rappers, hip-hop bands and Dabkeh dancers.
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