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1445 ذو الحجة 10 | 17 يونيو 2024

Palestinian Maqluba Served at London University Encampment

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Suhaib Jaber 18 May 2024

On May 12, 2024, the Palestinian Forum in Britain took a unique approach to express solidarity with Gaza by organizing a Maqluba event at London’s university encampments.

Maqluba, a traditional Palestinian dish known for its distinctive upside-down serving, became more than just a meal; it symbolized resistance and cultural pride amid a backdrop of student-led protests.

Maqluba in Solidarity

The event, held at SOAS University, saw several women, including members of the Palestinian Forum and mothers of the encamped students, preparing Maqluba. Haya, an Egyptian student and one of the participants, shared her feelings with Arab UK (AUK), saying, “It breaks our heart to sleep in our homes when our brothers and sisters in Gaza are left homeless.”

The encampment at SOAS, part of a larger movement across global campuses, aims to push British universities to divest from Israeli arms companies and cease collaborations with institutions like the University of Haifa.

The choice of Maqluba by Nasreen Khawaled, an activist with the Palestinian Forum, was poignant. Despite university management denying them entry to deliver the dish directly to the students, the group set up outside the gates. Khawaled noted, “This gesture will boost the morale of students who are exhausted from spending days outdoors,” highlighting the significance of the meal in strengthening community and resolve among the protesters.

The SOAS encampment had been marked by challenges. Pro-Israeli occupation students attempted to disrupt the peaceful gathering, but the protesters remained undeterred. Haya underscored their resolve, stating, “We ignored them and will persist with our encampment until we meet our objectives. We can’t comfortably sleep in our homes while the people of Gaza have no shelter.”

Steadfast for Palestine

This Maqluba event at SOAS not only provided nourishment and comfort to the students but also sent a powerful message of unity and resistance.

It stood as a vivid example of how cultural traditions can amplify political messages and bring communities together in support of a common cause.

The impact of the encampments and the Maqluba event has resonated well beyond the university gates, drawing attention from international media and leaders, and prompting institutions like Trinity College Cambridge to respond with actions such as divestment from Israeli arms companies.

The students’ steadfastness, coupled with cultural expressions like the preparation of Maqluba, continues to inspire and mobilize support for Gaza around the world.

 


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