VIDEO: Chile’s Palestinians celebrate heritage with Taqalid cultural festival

SANTIAGO – Chile’s Palestinian community will celebrate its heritage with a cultural and sports festival organized in the South American country beginning Friday.

Under the name Taqalid, or traditions, the Central Bureau of Chilean Palestinian organizations will host a weekend event filled with food, exhibitions and musical performances from Palestinian artists, as well as, sports competitions including soccer, tennis and tawle, a traditional Middle Eastern board game.

“This is a chance to celebrate the Palestinian traditions in family and to get a little closer to our land in spite of difficulties and distance,” said Nadia Garib, president of the Palestinian Federation of Chile and Taqalid’s spokesperson.

“In Latin America, there is approximately 30 percent of the Palestinian diaspora, and Chile has a strong leadership in the region, which is why we decided to call everyone to this great festival for Palestine where we can enjoy our rich gastronomy, music concerts, theater, among others,” Garib said.

Chile hosts the largest population of Palestinians outside of Palestine.

Taqalid was the brainchild of delegates from 15 countries which emerged after a wintry January workshop in Chile. Promotions in Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia has drawn a lot of interest to the cultural activities and organizers are hoping to make it an annual event.

The four-day festival will also include a number of talks from a panel of special guests Omar Barghouti, co-founder of “Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions” (BDS), and a parade of traditional Palestinian fashions made possible by Maha Saka, director of the Palestinian Heritage Center in Belen.

Among the groups behind the cultural event are Belen Foundation 2000, Palestine Federation of Chile, Palestinian Club, Palestinian Sports Club, Ladies Charity Corporation Palestine, General Union of Palestinian Women, General Union of Palestinian Students, Solidarity Organization with Palestine, Arab Union of Beneficence, among others.