Activists for Palestine honored in Turkey

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The mother of a 23-year-old American peace activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer threatening a Palestinian home said on Monday that it is high time to act as citizens of the world and push back against destructive nationalism and racism.

Speaking at the International Mount of Olives Peace Awards in Istanbul, Cindy Corrie, the mother of the late Rachel Corrie, who was awarded posthumously, said: “We are mindful of the fact that the people of Turkey have stood with our family since 2003 when Rachel was killed."

“No time has demanded more than that we act as citizens of the world, rejecting the destructive nationalism and racism that divides us,” she added.

During the ceremony, held for the first time this year, other honorees included Naji al-Ali, a Palestinian cartoonist who explores Palestine’s struggle for independence, activist Noor Fitri Taher, the founder of Indonesian NGO Adara Relief International, which works for Palestinian women and children, and Benjamin Ladraa, who set off from Sweden to Palestine last August to raise awareness of human rights violations against Palestinians.

Rachel Corrie’s father Craig Corrie also said: “As citizens of the world we have an obligation to protect the lives of those everywhere who are at great risk.”

Ladraa said that he believes in peace and equality and asked how can one not be an activist when there is an invasion and children are being jailed.

Ladraa, 25, started his journey from Sweden last August, and trekked across Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria before getting to Turkey, logging 3,000 kilometers along the way. His plan is to continue to Egypt and Jordan to reach his final destination, Palestine itself.

Noor Fitri Taher, for her part, said “We should care more, because probably by then Allah’s help will come, and probably by then Palestine will be free.”

The award ceremony was attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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