Jun 12, 2013

Global March to Jerusalem 2013 (GMJ) at Moscow


Disclaimer :

  • my support toward pro-palestine cause is not affiliated toward any societies or bodies that I'm involved. It is purely personal and individual.
  • this post is NOT to encourage the readers to commit any risky decisions that may jeopardize the readers' safety, future and whatnots. At your own risk.
  • the aim of this post is to provide non-russian-speaking muscovites who are into this palestinian struggle with GMJ information 

Few weeks before :

This year, many friends back in Malaysia and in the other parts of the world were talking and promoting this GMJ event. They assured me that this was supposed to be world-wide event, so check your country. Did few googlings, but found only previous GMJs info with one of it - a youtube video of GMJ12 event in front of the Israeli embassy in Moscow. Not much on GMJ13. And, I remembered that a friend of mine had accidentally saw a Palestinian protest when she was walking out of this one metro station. She uploaded few pictures at Facebook. I PM-ed her to confirm which station - Ulitsa 1905. And, I made promise to myself - I would just wait at the station on that GMJ day (with my books because the state exam would be on June 10th and 11th) just in case there would be such event in here - Moscow.

Few days before : 

On the early week of GMJ's event, I did few more googlings and tadaa! The official GMJ page announced that there would be 2 events in Russia :
on 7th afternoon : a gathering in front of Israeli embassy in moscow
on 8th : cultural events, place and time not mentioned

Night of June 6th :

I've found an entry that they change the place and timing. It would be on Saturday, June 8th at Ulitsa 1905 metro. And, the best part is it is approved by the municipality/goverment so I won't be risking anything.


this is how 'Jerusalem' is written in Russian cyrillic

one of the banners

the man in white was the maestro of the chants

palestine - people of russia are with you!

one of the very few women at the protest

my folded flier

another flier

Feedback :

  1. Out of place. My mastery of Russian language is not convincing enough and being an introvert, to come up and initiate conversation with strangers in another foreign language was a huge task. I tried asking a woman when the event would start, but being Russian-ized, she offered me russian hospitality - stoic face, no smile, short answer and simply walk away from me (I wished she invited me along to walk together to join the crowds). Those people there seems to know each other that I almost believed it was a closed event, only for those who are invited. A man asked my help to take his picture. Towards the end, alhamdulillah, a pregnant camerawoman hijabi approached me and asking for my contacts info. Upon leaving, one of the flyer boy thanked me in English. (I understand simple 'spasiba' anyway.. hehe..) For most of the time, I felt like I was invisible, hiding behind my camera to take pictures. 
  2. The size of the crowd. Hopefully, more Russians are aware about palestinian issue and events. From my observation, there are around 25-30 persons who were holding flags and banners. And there was people at the periphery who mostly was the media people or the committee itself. The surrounding Russians who approached the square were few. The flyer boys should have been more proactive in giving away the fliers to those Russians. Despite the small number of participants, there were muslim women in hijab, the non-hijabis, christian, typical russian-looking granddads, arabic-speaking arabs/non-arabs, the slit-eyed asians and many more. 
  3.  The content of the event. There were speeches by many people with the cameraman recording them. No amplifier, and thus the speech could only be heard within few metres radius. Few non-synchronous chanting and yells. Pre-event rehearsals or training of the yell would be nice, since most of the wordings are in Arabic. I am praying hard that one day, GMJ Moscow could have their flash mob, and better, at the Arbat or the Red Square. This Palestinian issue could be sensitive, but if is tackled rightly and presented to the public in a fun way, we can get this humanitarian message through.  

Upon leaving the square, I noticed a Russian man of his mid-20s in maroon tight trouser and yellow polo shirt approaching the square. His face was lit with youth idealism and he keenly asked what we had just now. The flyer boy who just thanked me in English explained to him that it was of Palestine and it just finished. On my way back home in the metro, I noticed the same Russian man - this time his face was wearing the usual Russian grim expression. 2 different expression from one same person. It was heart-warming to witness that even the grim Russians have the spark of goodness and idealism in their hearts to make the world a better place. 

And despite my critics, I must say that the experience is priceless since it was my first time attending protest. I feel very uplifted to exercise my right of speech freedom. 

Allahu'alam. Allah knows best.