Fayette County

Palestinian supporters rally in downtown Lexington

Demonstrators gathered at the courthouse plaza for a Nakba Day rally in support of the Palestinian cause. The rally commemorated the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians following Israel's declaration of statehood in 1948.
Demonstrators gathered at the courthouse plaza for a Nakba Day rally in support of the Palestinian cause. The rally commemorated the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians following Israel's declaration of statehood in 1948. ©2012

Most of the people who gathered in protest at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza in downtown Lexington on Tuesday had not even been born 64 years ago, when Israel became an independent state.

Still, they said they long for the return of the land to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were forced to leave or flee in the wake of the declaration.

The rally, attended by more than 50 people, was one of many held throughout the world Tuesday, which has become known as Nakba Day, or "Catastrophe Day," for Palestinian supporters.

"Nobody really knows about it," said Kasem Abdallah, vice president of the University of Kentucky Muslim Student Association, which organized the event. "The Palestinian side is never presented to the people."

Abdallah, of Lexington, said his grandparents are among many who still live in a Palestinian refugee camp.

"They just left their homes and they walked," he said. "To this day, they have the keys to their homes. Their villages were destroyed."

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