A young Swedish activist who has been walking from Sweden to Palestine to raise awareness of human rights violations said it is a "moral responsibility" to speak up for the Palestinians.
Benjamin 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.
"The knowledge I have about Palestine gives me a moral responsibility to do something about it," Ladraa said, speaking to Anadolu Agency exclusively.
Ladraa said that this responsibility led to his decision to walk to Palestine, as it would attract the attention of people around the world.
Speaking about his experience visiting the West Bank last year, Ladraa said, "It was impossible to not notice the human rights violations of Israel against the Palestinians," which encouraged his decision to start his journey.
He said that his interest in the issue started when he met Palestinians who shared their experiences and stories, which led him to research the Palestinian issue.
Message to Palestinians
The Swedish activist stressed the importance of inter-Palestinian solidarity, saying: "Palestinians have to put their differences aside in order to make change happen".
"In the end it’s the people of the countries that are occupied that are freeing their countries, and we in the solidarity movement will help them as much as possible, but a solidarity movement [alone] can’t free Palestine, Palestinians can," he said.
The Swedish activist said that peaceful marches in Gaza as non-violent resistance are also important for Palestinians to stand up for their rights, their freedom, and their dignity.
He added that violations of international law in the form of shooting and killing unarmed civilians and children with internationally outlawed bullets should "outrage the international community,” which should denounce these abuses.
The international community “needs to grow courage and they need to speak out for human rights and for dignity and justice. We have international law for a reason, we just need to enforce it," he said.
'Change will come with action'
Ladraa said that he employs social media to spread the word by posting pictures and stories of his journey.
He said that he is paying his own way using money he saved before setting off, adding that he had no large expenses as “walking is free” and he sleeps in his tent if necessary.
"Change won’t come without hard work, we can’t just sit back and be angry at our television or smartphones. We need to also be out in the streets to raise our voices, as actions speak louder than words," he said.
"The more people take action, the sooner change will come," he added.
“After I reach Palestine, I will just continue the journey because the journey doesn’t end with just setting foot in Palestine, the journey ends when Palestine is free,” he said.