The Toronto al-Quds Day virtual rally was held on May 17, 2020. The list of speakers at the event included:
Farman Ali – virtual rally host, UFCW Canada Local 175 Organizer.
Ken Stone – Executive Member, Syria Solidarity Movement; Treasurer, Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War; founding member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV Canada).
Tim Anderson – Australian academic and activist; former senior lecturer at the University of Sydney.
Rabbi Dovid Feldman – spokesman for Neturei Karta International and organizer of anti-Zionist events.
Devanshu Narang – A ‘truth’ activist, writer, poet, real estate broker.
Dimitri Lascaris – lawyer, journalist and activist; legal counsel for the al-Quds Organizing Committee.
Suzanne Weiss – pro Palestinian Jewish activist and a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada.
Sheikh Shafiq Hudda – director of the Islamic Humanitarian Service (IHS) in Kitchener, Ontario:
Bahman Azad – Iranian-American activist.
Sid Ryan – Canadian labour union leader and politician. Ryan is the former president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
Paul Larudee – Iranian-born American political activist who is a major figure in the pro-Palestinian movement.
Here is the poem read by Gul-E-Zahra:
The spoken word. This piece is called “Can you Feel?” by Amna.
Can you feel?
The darkness of the night covered a Palestinian town
From the sky came a thundering sound
Yellow and red streaks colored the sky
Frightening sounds heard from up high
Mothers console as their young ones crying
The older children whimper as their father is dying
No one speaks but their minds all ask
Is it today will bring our last
The sun peeks in and all rise to check
Opening the front door, the site, the wreck.
Destroyed buildings and glass cuts skin
Causing blood to gosh from within
Several other areas and homes are destroyed
The refugee camps have more people joined
Now across the globe spreads a disease
Taking away lives with the cough and a sneeze
Washing hands, sanitized and staying clean is the new motto
As the world quarantines.
It was in China where the virus was initiated
Within days the disease escalated spreading from one country to the next
China Russia and Spain all felt its affects
The disease has disrupted people’s being
Restricting freedom of movement and the right to meeting
Going out unnecessarily is a crying children stay indoors to kill the time
People everywhere live in fear of their lives and the lives of those dear
Many are suffering while still alive while others wonder if they even survive.
They say you never know what you bear until it is no longer there
They say the you will never truly understand hardship until you have felt your heart sink
Can COVID-19 pandemic finally make us feel the pain and the suffering of the Palestinians all that much more real?
Many households eat less with the closing down of business
Can we empathize with those Palestinians that are homeless?
We live in fear of the virus entering our homes
Remember the times the military broke down Palestinian groups with their drones
We are living under uncertain times
Can this remind us of the heart breaking Israeli war crimes?
Coronavirus can take mere hours to spread from the east coast to the west
So don’t undermine the power of helping a country from afar
People can take effective measures to help the oppressed from wherever they are
Research, data, experimentation and all the world can do
They do it to find a vaccine
Economic sanctions, boycott and raising our voices we too can put an end to the Israeli regime
They say: You never really know what you bear until it is no longer there
And that you haven’t understood hardship until you felt your heart sink
And it’s when we feel pain our hearts begin to change
And so just as we are so thankful to those on the front line during this distress
We should be in the front line for the Palestinians and stand for everyone who is oppressed