Blog About Palestine Day : Palestinians in Chile
Today is Blog About Palestine Day, because today is also the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, marking the beginning of the modern age Palestinian plight and suffering. This date is remembered annually on local, regional, and global levels. Tonight in the Southern Cone nation there is even an event: Transformar El Dolor en Amor: Mass Demonstration 6:30pm, Plaza De La Constitucion, in the capital of Santiago.
In Chile, there is a large population of Palestinians, that has been growing in recent months. Chile has the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world, making up about 5% of the overall population. This is the fourth largest Palestinian pressence in the world after those in Israel, Lebanon and Jordan.
Many Palestinians in Chile have been there for over a hundred years. There is even a futbol club named Palestinos.
Last month about 40 Palestinian families, refugees from Iraq, were welcomed into Chile.
"We hope that suffering will be a thing of the past, and Chile the source of your new happiness," Deputy Interior Minister Felipe Harboe said as he welcomed the 16 adults and 23 children who had spent months stranded at a desert camp on the Iraqi-Syrian border.The rest of about 117 refugees from this specific camp arrived in the Santiago neighborhoods of La Calera y San Felipe this week. They were welcomed with flags, dancing, and music.
While these homes in Chile, which come with the support of the Chilean government and all of it's resources (including a monthly stipend and counseling services), do not replace or erase the need of Palestinians to have a home in their homeland, the right to return, historically it makes sense. So many people left Chile after the 1973 U.S. backed military coup. So many lives lost and disappeared through state sanctioned violence. The links are there. The connection is there.
As a women from a colonized country, as a woman who has experienced the post-Pinochet Chile, with all it's problems and successes, stories like this make me actually cry.
Interestingly enough, on Nov. 29, 1947when draft Resolution 181, the Partition Plan for Palestine, was put to a vote, Chile did not vote nay or aye, rather it abstained.